Rate of guns seized at airport checkpoints jumped in 2020 despite fewer travelers, Virginia airports show varied totals

National News

Travelers wear face masks while passing through the south security checkpoint in the main terminal of Denver International Airport Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

WASHINGTON (AP/WFXR) — There were fewer air travelers in the United States last year, but a higher percentage of them were carrying guns.

The Transportation Security Administration said Tuesday that screeners found 3,257 firearms on passengers or in their carry-on bags in 2020, or about 10 for every million travelers. About 83% of the guns were loaded.

That was double the rate of guns found in 2019. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport had the most guns seized, 220, followed by 176 guns at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport checkpoints.

Federal law prohibits passengers other than certain law enforcement officers from bringing guns or ammunition into the cabin, although unloaded guns are permitted in checked bags that go into the cargo hold.

In Virginia, firearms caught by TSA officers at airport checkpoints varied between 2016 and 2020.

Airport20162017201820192020
Richmond Int’l Airport1018141422
Norfolk Int’l Airport1410211512
Reagan Washington Nat’l Airport1913161410
Washington Dulles Int’l Airport241917197
C’ville-Albemarle Regional Airport04422
Roanoke–Blacksburg Regional Airport63651
Lynchburg Regional Airport32231
Newport News-Wmsbg Regional Airport32220
TOTALS7971827455

The top airports with guns caught by TSA at checkpoints in 2020 include:

  1. Hartsfield-Jackson Int’l Airport (ATL) – 220 guns caught
  2. Dallas/Fort Worth Int’l Airport (DFW) – 176
  3. George Bush Int’l Airport (IAH) – 126
  4. Sky Harbor Int’l Airport (PHX) – 124
  5. Denver Int’l Airport (DEN) – 104
  6. Nashville Int’l Airport (BNA) – 94
  7. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Int’l Airport (FLL) – 87
  8. Orlando Int’l Airport (MCO) – 79
  9. McCarran Int’l Airport (LAS) – 72
  10. Salt Lake City Int’l Airport (SLC) – 71

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