There were 6,542 guns intercepted by the Transportation Security Administration in 2022, reports The Associated Press. This is a new record high, amounting to approximately 18 guns per day in airports across the country.
"What we see in our checkpoints really reflects what we're seeing in society, and in society there are more people carrying firearms nowadays," commented TSA administrator David Pekoske. While guns were confiscated across the country, airports in Texas and Florida tended to rank higher. However, the Atlanta airport had the highest number of interceptions.
The consequences for gun possession vary depending on state and local laws and can span from being arrested, to being allowed to give the gun off to someone and still fly. "It's disruptive no matter what," said retired TSA official Keith Jeffries. "It's a dangerous, prohibited item and, let's face it, you should know where your gun is at, for crying out loud."
Experts say that gun interceptions are likely not due to malicious intent, but that people are simply forgetting about their firearms. "These are not bad people that are in dire need of punishment," Aidan Johnston, from the gun advocacy group Gun Owners of America said in reference to the range of consequences. "These are people who made a mistake."
The statistic has sparked concern as more people are in possession of firearms. Data shows that 16.4 million people completed background checks for gun ownership last year, compared to just 7 million in 2000. In 2023 there have already been close to 6,000 deaths from gun violence, according to the nonprofit research group Gun Violence Archive.