TSA stopped over 3,200 firearms at security checkpoints for 1st half of 2023

FILE - Airline passengers wait at a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint to clear security before boarding to flights in the airport terminal in Denver, Colorado on April 19, 2022. (PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

The Transportation Security Administration has intercepted approximately 3,251 firearms at airport security checkpoints as of June 30, which marks the first half of 2023, according to an agency news release. 

On average, 18 firearms were seized a day, the TSA said, and of those firearms, more than 92% were loaded. 

The number of guns found at airport checkpoints for the first half of 2023 has increased compared to the first half of last year. Of the 3,053 firearms seized during the first half of 2022, 86% were loaded. 

"I applaud the work of our Transportation Security Officers for their dedication to our transportation security mission, ensuring these firearms do not get into the secure area of the airport and on board aircraft," said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. 

In the first five days of July 2023, TSA agents intercepted 90 additional firearms which brings the 2023 total to 3,341 as of July 5. 

The number of firearms caught during airport checkpoints in the first half of 2023 has increased 6% compared to the first half of 2022, but the TSA also noted that the volume of passengers traveling through airports has increased 15%. 

These percentages actually show a decline in the number of firearms being brought through airport security checkpoints in 2023 thus far, the TSA said. 

Passengers who wish to travel with a firearm must ensure it is properly packed and it must be checked. Additionally, travelers must declare that they have packed a firearm at the ticket counter. 

"Passengers who bring a firearm to the security checkpoint present a security risk, and there are consequences for doing so," Pekoske said. 

Firearm possession laws vary depending on the state and local governments but firearms are prohibited at TSA security checkpoints, in secure areas of an airport and on board the aircraft, even if the traveler has a concealed carry permit, the agency said. 

For more information about how and what travelers can bring with them or must get checked at airports, click here. 

This story was reported from Los Angeles.