The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) announced in a blog post that it discovered a record number of firearms in carry-on bags and on passengers in 2016—an average of more than nine per day!
According to TSA, more than 2 million passengers a day were screened last year for a total of 738,318,264 passengers, up 43,255,172 from 2015. They also screened 466 million checked bags and 24.2 million airport employees.
The TSA reports that a total of 3,391 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags in airports around the country in 2016 and 2,815 (83 percent) were loaded. That’s a 28 percent increase over 2015’s total of 2,653. Firearms were “intercepted,” according to TSA, “at a total of 238 airports; 2 more airports than last year.”
Here are the ten airports with the most firearms intercepted in 2016:
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL):198
- Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW): 192
- George Bush Intercontinental Airport – Houston (IAH):128
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International (PHX):101
- Denver International (DEN): 98
- Orlando International Airport (MCO):86
- Nashville International (BNA):80
- Tampa International (TPA):79
- Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS):78
- Salt Lake City International (SLC):75
Hartsfield-Jackson and Dallas/Fort Worth make sense because they’re two of the busiest airports in the U.S. by passenger boardings. But missing from the list are several of the country’s most heavily traveled airports, including O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), and McCarran International Airport (LAS).
In addition to firearms, TSA also had to deal with inert items that looked like they could be dangerous. “The problem with these types of items is that we don’t know if they are real, toys or replicas until TSA explosives experts are called upon,” the TSA blog explained. When they discover passengers carrying these items it can result in lengthy delays—and even canceled flights.
Here’s a video of the most unusual items TSA discovered in 2016—can you say Hello Kitty gun?