Tags: guns | airports | medill

TSA Seizes Record Number of Guns in 2013

Image: TSA Seizes Record Number of Guns in 2013 A TSA officer at the security checkpoint at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Tuesday, 07 Jan 2014 07:53 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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For the third consecutive year, the number of guns confiscated from passengers attempting to board planes at U.S. airports increased in 2013, jumping 20 percent to 1,828, according to the Medill National Security Journalism Initiative at Northwestern University.

Most of the guns seized were loaded, with one in three having a bullet in the chamber. The seizures, averaging five per day, occurred at 207 airports across the country, with Atlanta holding the distinction of having the most firearms confiscated at 110, according to data compiled by the Transportation Security Administration and analyzed by a Medill reporting team.

Dallas-Fort Worth was second with 98, followed by 67 at Houston, 65 in Phoenix and 52 in Denver.

The figures have steadily increased since 2010, when the Transportation Security Administration confiscated 1,123 guns. The two types of handguns most frequently intercepted were .380 and 9mm calibers. Together, they made up nearly half the guns confiscated.

In one particular case, a passenger attempting to board a flight in Sacramento, Calif. in 2012 went through airport security wearing a shoulder holster loaded with a 9mm pistol, according to USA Today. The same passenger had three additional loaded pistols, 192 rounds of ammunition, two magazines, and three knives.

Airport security screeners have found loaded guns hidden in creative places, including a cassette deck, the lining of a carry-on bag, and strapped to a prosthetic leg.

The most common excuse passengers gave for carrying a weapon into the airport was they forgot they had with them. That was the case with NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell, who in October attempted to board a flight from Seattle to Boston with a loaded .38-caliber pistol in his luggage. The 79-year-old former pro basketball star was issued a citation for the gun, which he legally possessed.

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