Bush Intercontinental Airport had the 3rd most firearms caught by TSA in 2020

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- TSA officers detected twice as many firearms per million passengers screened at airport security checkpoints nationwide last year compared to 2019, and Houston ranked high on the list with the most detections, according to a press release from the agency.

The TSA says this is a significantly higher rate than any other year recorded before.

In 2020, officers reportedly caught approximately 10 firearms per million passengers, compared to five per million passengers screened in 2019.

In total, the TSA says it discovered 3,257 firearms on passengers or in carry-ons in 2020. Of those, about 83% were loaded.

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Bush Intercontinental Airport ranked number three on the list of airports with the most firearms with 126 total detections in 2020.

The total number of passengers screened in 2020 fell by 500 million due to the pandemic.

"Bringing a firearm to a TSA security checkpoint poses a serious risk to TSA officer and passenger safety, and doing so may result in significant fines or arrest," Senior Official Performing the Duties of TSA Administrator Darby LaJoye said.

Passengers with firearms were stopped at 234 airports nationwide.

These were the top 10 airports with the most firearms caught:
  1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) - 220
  2. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) - 176
  3. Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) - 126
  4. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) - 124
  5. Denver International Airport (DEN) - 104
  6. Nashville International Airport (BNA) - 94
  7. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) - 87
  8. Orlando International Airport (MCO) - 79
  9. Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS)
  10. Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) - 71

Airline passengers can fly with firearms in checked baggage if the firearms are properly packed and declared at check-in. However, firearm possession laws vary by state and locality, the TSA noted. Additionally, different airlines may have additional requirements.

In the latest firearm data, the TSA excluded improperly packed guns at checked baggage stations, toys, replicas and BB guns.

The video above is from previous reporting.

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