Most were loaded, with rounds chambered
A report from the Transport Security Administration published on September 22 has highlighted a "dangerous trend" being witnessed in Florida - the number of loaded handguns being found in carry-on luggage at Florida's airports is increasing drastically this year and will reach record numbers in 2022.
To-date, 581 guns - mostly loaded and with chambered rounds - have been discovered in passenger bags at TSA safety checkpoints. The most guns have been found at Orlando International Airport (107 guns discovered) and at least one gun has been discovered at every federalized airport in the state.
Why is it getting worse?
The trend is alarming, since the numbers are clearly a sign of a worsening problem. It's strange, since laws haven't changed, even though Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has often made promises that he would push to change gun-control laws to allow constitutional (permit-less) carry of handguns. To-date, this change in law hasn't happened.
It's hard to rationalize the worsening situation. The only possible explanation seems to be that gun owners 'forget' that they have weapons in their carry-on bag - that was the explanation given by former Republican Representative of North Carolina - Madison Cawthorn - who was caught with a loaded handgun in his bag at Asheville Regional airport in 2021.
It's notable that most of the airports where guns are frequently discovered are in states where concealed carry is legal - and there are over 20 such states now after Georgia, Indiana and Ohio recently signed so-called constitutional carry into law.
Florida claims two places in the U.S. Top 10 worst airports for guns
TSA data reported on April 16 showed two Florida airports in the U.S. top 10 for the most handguns confiscated at TSA checkpoints. Atlanta airport in Georgia consistently tops the list, but Orlando International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport are also consistently featured in the list too, as is Tampa.
According to TSA data from April 2022, 195 guns had been found in passenger baggage across the U.S., with 40 of those being discovered in luggage at Orlando. In the four months since, a further 67 guns have been found and confiscated at Orlando International and in most cases the owners have faced legal consequences.
Passengers discovered with a gun at a checkpoint will face a civil penalty from the TSA that can reach as much as $13,910. The penalty is imposed regardless of whether the individual is arrested or not.
Have you ever witnessed a passenger being caught with a gun at an airport? Do you think it's excusable for someone to 'forget' they have a loaded gun in their bag? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.