TSA finds more guns in carry-ons, despite lower passenger volume
Written by kslmadmin on August 10, 2020
The Transportation Security Administration screened more than 831,000 people Sunday, notching its highest count since mid-March when the outbreak of COVID-19 brought air travel to a near-standstill.
However, with air traffic nearing a five-month high, airport security is finding guns in passenger carry-on bags at three times the rate recorded before the pandemic.
What’s more, about 80% of the guns are loaded.
TSA provides a daily number of people screened through security checkpoints at U.S. airports, which includes ticketed travelers, some flight crew and airport workers who are required to be screened prior to their shift.
According to the agency’s latest figures, 831,789 people were screened through security checkpoints on Aug. 9, indicating that flyers are increasingly returning to airports across the nation.
Meanwhile, officers found 15.3 guns for every million people screened in July, compared with 5.1 per million people in July of last year, the Transportation Security Administration said Monday.
There has been a significant increase in loaded guns at checkpoints, said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. He said screeners are already working in conditions of heightened risks and that “no one should be introducing new ones.”
It is legal to transport guns in checked bags if they are unloaded and in a locked case. There are federal civil penalties for improperly placing a gun in a carry-on bag, and violators can lose the use of faster-screening programs such as TSA PreCheck, but criminal charges are usually left to local authorities.
In the United States, air travel was stifled in mid-March because of the virus. By early April the numbers careened sharply lower below 100,000 by early April — a drop of about 95%.
Although air traffic is still down 69% from the comparable Sunday a year ago, figures have steadily increased since late April as airlines feverishly implement safety protocols in order to lure in weary travelers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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