WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — The Transportation Security Administration announced Tuesday that travel returned to pre-pandemic levels, with around 2 million passengers screened a day, but 2022 also set a new record for firearm interceptions.
The agency reported that it confiscated 6,542 firearms in 2022, 88% of which were loaded, at security checkpoints. That’s an increase of more than 500 firearms in 2021, which saw a record of 5,972 firearms.
“I am incredibly proud of our dedicated TSA employees who perform the critical task of securing our nation’s transportation systems each day,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske.
There were 448 firearm confiscations at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in 2022, the most of any airport in the country. It was followed by 385 at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and 298 at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
This news follows reports that TSA agents at the San Antonio International Airport confiscated a portable anti-tank rifle from a male passenger’s checked luggage Monday.
The passenger was traveling from Texas to Las Vegas, where he planned to exhibit the weapon — a de-militarized 84MM Carl-Gustaf M4 recoilless rifle — at a trade show, according to the San Antonio Police Department.
TSA said the passenger didn’t declare the weapon, prompting its confiscation. Once the anti-tank rifle was discovered, TSA officers identified the passenger and escorted him to their office.
Police said the man cooperated with investigators, and no charges are pending at this time.
Passengers are allowed to travel with unloaded firearms, however, they must be packed in checked baggage, even if you have a concealed carry permit.
However, you can travel with one in a checked bag if you declare it, keep it unloaded and store it in a locked, hard-sided container.
Travelers who bring weapons to TSA checkpoints could face a fine of up to $15,000 and possible criminal charges.