WASHINGTON D.C.: The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has confiscated a record number of guns at airport check-ins in 2021.
TSA officials report that, as of October, officers had collected 4,495 guns from airline passengers. Most of the guns were reported to be loaded.
The largest number of gun confiscations prior to this year was 4,432 guns in 2019.
TSA chief David Pekoske called the large number of confiscated firearms "alarming."
Additionally, Pekoske said loaded firearms "represent a very costly mistake for the passengers who attempt to board a flight with them," according to the BBC.
Typically, airline passengers can check guns through as luggage. However, the firearms must be stored in a special gun case and be unloaded.
Also, at check-in passengers must tell airlines staff that they are checking through firearms.
When a passenger has a gun confiscated during the airport screening, TSA officials issue a civil penalty that varies by the number of previous offenses and whether the gun was loaded.
Photo credit: TSA. Depicts a 9 mm handgun loaded with five bullets found in a Philadelphia man's carry-on bag at Philadelphia International Airport on July 7 last year. After spotting the handgun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, TSA notified the Philadelphia Police, who responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the gun, and arrested the man on weapons charges. The handgun was packed in the outer zippered pocket of the man's backpack alongside his mobile phone and mobile phone charger).