Nearly 60 firearms discovered at Sea-Tac TSA checkpoints in 2023

Jul 10, 2023, 5:24 PM

TSA security...

Transportation Security Administration has discovered almost 60 firearms at checkpoints so far this year. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has discovered 58 firearms in travelers’ carry-on luggage so far this year at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac), according to a news release. At this same time last year, TSA officers discovered 54 firearms in carry-on luggage.

TSA stopped 3,251 firearms at airport checkpoints nationwide during the first half of 2023. The total represents an average 18 firearms per day. Of those, 92% of guns TSA found were loaded.

“Anyone traveling with a firearm must follow the rules and pack it properly in checked baggage, in addition to declaring it to the airline,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in the release. “Passengers who bring a firearm to the security checkpoint present a security risk, and there are consequences for doing so.”

More on Washington airports: Yakima County, businesses raise funds to get more flights to Seattle

The most recent TSA firearm discovery at Sea-Tac occurred Monday around 6:45 a.m. during the routine X-ray screening of carry-on luggage at the security checkpoint. The firearm was in the bag of a traveler ticketed for travel to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

This is the fourth firearm TSA discovered so far this month.

The national number of firearm catches during the first half of 2023 represents a 6% increase over the same period in 2022. But as TSA notes in its release, over the same period, passenger volume at checkpoints increased 15%, showing the rate at which passengers brought firearms to airport checkpoints declined in 2023.

During the second quarter of 2023, TSOs stopped 1,744 firearms at airport checkpoints. During the second quarter of 2022, TSOs prevented 1,686 firearms from entering the secure area of airports of which about 86% of those firearms were loaded.

Firearms are prohibited in carry-on bags, in the secure area of airports, and onboard aircraft.

Passengers traveling with a firearm must properly pack it in checked baggage and declare it to the airline.

Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition, so travelers must also contact their airline for carriage policies prior to arriving at the airport. Firearms and ammunition are prohibited at TSA security checkpoints. Even if a traveler has a concealed weapons permit, firearms are not permitted in carry-on luggage.

More from the Seattle-area airport: TSA found more guns at Sea-Tac in 2022 than any other year

TSA will impose a fine of $14,950, eliminate TSA PreCheck eligibility for five years, and may require enhanced screening. Some passengers will be arrested or cited, depending on local firearms laws.

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Nearly 60 firearms discovered at Sea-Tac TSA checkpoints in 2023