TSA stops record number of guns in 2022, but Cleveland numbers are down

Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 8:06 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A record-breaking number of guns were found by TSA agents at airports in 2022.

19 Investigates is looking into how many firearms they discovered at security check points here in Cleveland.

TSA agents discovered about 6,300 firearms at airports nationwide through December 16.

And more than 88% were loaded.

Data from TSA shows a dramatic spike in guns agents stopped since 2010.

That year, they caught about 1,100 guns.

Eleven years later in 2021, they broke a record-- stopping nearly 6,000 firearms at security check points.

The TSA expects full year-end numbers to show an increase of guns found to be about 10 percent higher from 2021 to 2022.

“But it’s entirely too many guns. It’s happening at airports across the country, big airports, small airports. Overwhelmingly, people say ‘I forgot I had that in my bag’ but we always say that’s not an excuse. Responsible firearm owners always know where their guns are,” said Jessica Mayle, a TSA spokesperson.

19 Investigates learned TSA agents stopped 35 firearms at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport checkpoints in 2022.

That’s down more than 18 percent from the 43 guns they found in 2021.

Numbers from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport show passengers were up in 2022 from the year before.

“We’re thrilled to see that you know, I hope it’s just a matter of people making better decisions here. We want to encourage people to do that. I would love to see that number drop every year,” Mayle said.

Mayle encourages everyone flying to take some time packing before you leave.

“If you do need to travel with your firearm there is a way to do it safely. We have these instructions on our website. It’s gonna go with your checked baggage. You needed to clear it to the airline. It’s a lot hard-sided case. We just want to be safe,” Mayle said.

You can learn more about how to properly check a firearm here.

The average fine for carrying a loaded handgun through security is about $4,000.

TSA recently added measures to fight the problem.

They just increased the maximum civil penalty to nearly $15,000 and will also continue to revoke TSA precheck eligibility for at least five years.

TSA may also conduct “enhanced screening” for passengers caught breaking the rule.