The U.S. Transportation Security Administration intercepted over 6,500 firearms in 2022 at airport checkpoints across the United States, an all-time high of almost 18 guns per day.
The data come at a time when the debate around gun control has reached a fever pitch in the United States.
Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International was the top hub for firearm discoveries, with 448 guns intercepted. Dallas Fort Worth International came second with 385 guns, and George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston followed with 298 firearms.
Carrying any firearm onto an aircraft is prohibited, although passengers can transport unloaded firearms in checked luggage, according to TSA rules.
Except for 2020, hit by the pandemic, the number of weapons intercepted at airport checkpoints has climbed yearly since 2010.
“When a passenger brings a firearm to the checkpoint, this consumes significant security resources and poses a potential threat to transportation security, in addition to being very costly for the passenger,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said.
The TSA has the right to impose a fine of up to $14,950 to deter fliers from packing a gun.