With the busy summer travel season approaching, it's a good idea to consider some very basic realities about airline travel, especially when it comes to firearms and ammunition.
With the enormous increase in the number of people who legally carry firearms for personal protection, it is no surprise that a growing number of American travelers are being found with handguns packed inside their carry-on baggage at airport Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints—mostly due to forgetfulness.
During the first week of May, the TSA reported it discovered a total of 50 firearms at airport check stations, the most ever found in one week. For the first four months of 2013, the number of guns confiscated at airport security checkpoint was up 14 percent over the same period in 2012.
A total of 364 guns were confiscated by TSA agents at security checkpoints in U.S. airports from Jan. 1 to March 31—45 more than the first quarter last year. The trend continued in April, with 159 firearms found, versus 120 in April of last year.
It's probably no surprise to most Weekly Slug readers that the most-discovered firearms at airport checkpoint is the .380 ACP, with 145 found in the first four months of the year. It was also the most-found caliber for the 2012 calendar year. By caliber, the .380 was followed by 9 mm., .22 LR, .40 S&W and .38 Spl.
The first part of 2013 saw the nation's busiest airport, Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson, slip from the number one slot as top airport for found firearms. Dallas-Fort Worth creeped into the top position for forgetful handgun packers, despite being the third most-trafficked in the country. The number three airport is Salt Lake City, followed by Phoenix, Nashville, Denver and Seattle.
"Unfortunately these sorts of occurrences are all too frequent, which is why we talk about these finds," writes Bob Burns of the TSA Blog. "Just because we find a prohibited item on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions, that's for the law enforcement officer to decide. In many cases, people simply forgot they had these items."