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The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) reported intercepting 1,503 firearms at U.S. airports in the first quarter of this year, an average of 16.5 firearms per day. While the TSA does not confiscate firearms, they notify law enforcement, who take possession of the weapons and press charges in accordance with local laws. Additionally, the TSA can impose civil financial penalties of up to $15,000 depending on the circumstances. The number of firearms stopped is a slight decrease from the same time last year, but the security risk remains significant, especially as 93% of the firearms were loaded.

Passengers are allowed to travel with firearms, but they must pack them securely in checked baggage and declare them to the airline at the ticket counter. Despite this, many travelers continue to attempt to cross security checkpoints with guns, resulting in disruptions and delays to the security screening process. The TSA reported a rate of 7.3 firearms per million passengers in the first quarter of this year, a slight decrease from the previous year. TSA Administrator David Pekoske emphasized that even one firearm at the checkpoint is too many, and it poses a serious security risk to all travelers.

Security checkpoints at U.S. airports had a busy start to the year as TSA officers screened over 206 million passengers in the first quarter, a 7.8% increase from the previous year. During spring break travel, over 48 million passengers were screened, a 7% increase from the previous year. The higher volume of travelers combined with the need for additional screening of passengers with firearms slows down the security process, creating challenges for both TSA officers and passengers.

The TSA reports on firearms finds at security checkpoints throughout the year, with common mistakes made by those caught carrying weapons. Most individuals who bring guns to airports do so unintentionally, often due to carelessness, forgetfulness, or a lack of awareness of the rules. The TSA highlighted several incidents in early April where travelers were stopped with guns at various airports, resulting in citations, confiscations, and financial civil penalties.

Air travelers can fly with firearms as long as they are secured in checked baggage, unloaded, and locked in a hard-sided case. It is essential to inform the airline at the ticket counter that the baggage contains a firearm. Even travelers with concealed carry permits or who reside in constitutional carry states must adhere to these rules and are prohibited from bringing firearms through security checkpoints or onto planes. The TSA continues to monitor and enforce these regulations to ensure the safety and security of all passengers and personnel at U.S. airports.

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