Sometimes we forget to remove a water bottle or an electronic device from our carry-on when going through airport security checkpoints, which is forgiven. But when it comes to guns that’s a different story.
A new report published by Forbes states that TSA has racked in $52 million in civil penalties levied against travelers who attempted to bring guns through airports over the past three years.
This year alone, there have been upwards of $20 million worth of fines imposed—with two more months remaining.
Nearly 5,000 guns have been caught at TSA checkpoints around the U.S. in 2022, making it a possibility that the agency will beat last year’s record of 5,972.
It’s a shocking number considering the hefty fines imposed on those carrying guns through the airport. There is a $1,500 civil fine for a loaded gun and $3,000 if it’s loaded, which is usually the case.
It’s not unusual for TSA to find contraband ,but you would think guns wouldn’t be so much of an issue, especially since some states tack on criminal charges when someone is caught with an undeclared firearm through an airport, MSN reported.
“We’ve got a significant rise in the population of new, never-before gun owners. And then we have a significant rise in new air travelers,” a TSA official told Forbes. Notably, most of the firearms penalties are coming from airports based in states with looser gun laws.
“In New York, somebody brings a firearm to a checkpoint, they’re going to get a perp walk out of the airport in handcuffs,” the TSA official said. “In a more permissive gun state, that’s not going to be the case. Local law enforcement may tell the traveler, ‘Hey, go lock that thing up in your vehicle and then come back and go through security again.’”
Guns aren’t strictly prohibited on planes, there are just strict guidelines on how they’re allowed on. According to TSA’s guidelines, unloaded firearms can be transported in a locked hard-sided container that is checked baggage only, and only after it has been declared to the airline at the ticket counter. The container must also completely secure the firearm from being accessed.