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TSA: 2020 firearms detection highest in agency's 19-year history

Last year alone, the Transportation Security Administration caught twice as many firearms during screenings at airports across the country than in 2019.

WASHINGTON D.C., DC — Despite fewer people flying due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says last year set a record for the number of firearms detected during screening at airports across the country.

The number of weapons caught in 2020 was the most ever in the agency's 19-year history and double the number from 2019.

Last year a total of 3,257 firearms were found on passengers or in their carry-on bags at checkpoints despite the total number of passengers screened falling by 500 million from 2019.

At airports in Upstate New York, TSA officers recovered 12 handguns during routine screening at security checkpoints in 2020, one less than in 2019.

“I commend our officers for their commitment to TSA’s security mission by identifying and stopping these weapons at the TSA checkpoints. Firearms are strictly prohibited onboard planes in the passenger cabin,” said Senior Official Performing the Duties of TSA Administrator Darby LaJoye. “Bringing a firearm to a TSA security checkpoint poses a serious risk to TSA officer and passenger safety, and doing so may result in significant fines or arrest.”

Credit: Transportation Security Administration

The TSA reminds passengers that they can fly with firearms in checked baggage if properly packed and declared at check-in. However, firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and airlines may have additional guidelines, so you are advised to make yourself aware of them before you travel.