The Transportation Security Administration said in a press release on August 20 that, “Officers [at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport] discovered a loaded .40 caliber Glock pistol with 13 rounds of ammunition, in the carry-on bag of a male passenger. On the same day, TSA officers discovered a second loaded gun, a 9 mm SIG Sauer with eight rounds in the bag of male passenger.” So far this year, Phoenix agents have confiscated 62 other weapons from carry-on bags, while nationwide, TSA agents have discovered over 1,700 firearms, 84 percent of which were loaded. The TSA posts daily figures for the number of weapons it seizes.
A USA Today story last week said, despite air traffic numbers still depressed from 2019 levels, “airport security is finding guns in passenger carry-on bags at three times the rate recorded before the pandemic.” Most of these weapons were also loaded. In addition to stiff fines for attempting to carry a loaded weapon aboard an aircraft, violators will have their Trusted Traveler status and TSA Pre Check services revoked for an unspecified period of time according to the USA Today story. Firearms may be transported on a commercial aircraft, but only if they are unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case and placed in checked baggage. Ammunition and firearm parts, including firearm frames, receivers, clips and magazines are also prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be checked.