The Transportation Security Administration says it had a record year in 2018, with a record number of travelers and a record number of firearms discovered in carry-on bags.
A total of 813.8 million passengers and crew members passed through TSA checkpoints last year, with record-breaking screening numbers during the spring, Thanksgiving and summer travel periods. That averages to more than 2 million travelers a day and a 5.5 percent increase from the previous year.
A record 4,239 firearms were found in carry-on bags around the country, more than 86 percent of which were loaded. Nearly 34 percent had a round chambered. The total number is a seven percent increase from 2017.
The most firearms discovered in one month, a record-setting 32, were found in August at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Top 10 airports for firearm discoveries in 2018 (source: TSA)
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL): 298 – an increase of 53 compared to 2017 (253 loaded)
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW): 219 (193 loaded)
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX): 129 (120 loaded)
- Denver International Airport (DEN): 126 (95 loaded)
- Orlando International Airport (MCO): 123 (112 loaded)
- George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH): 117 – a decrease of 25 firearms compared to 2017 (115 loaded)
- Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL): 96 (80 loaded)
- Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS): 93 (76 loaded)
- Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL): 89 (83 loaded)
- Nashville International Airport (BNA): 86 (80 loaded)
Additionally, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, which includes the TSA Modernization Act, was signed, which “empowers TSA to expand field operations and testing of advanced screening technologies, increase use of canine resources and enhance public area security,” according to a news release.