Over 350 guns were confiscated by TSA agents in the first three months of 2013 alone, an average of four a day, and a statistic much higher than last year’s first quarter figure.
According to an April report by Medill’s National Security blog, agents have been unusually busy finding a number of banned weapons – including loaded guns – on travelers as they pass through various security checkpoints.
The 364 guns confiscated by TSA agents from January to March represent a 14 percent jump from 2012 figures.
Just last month, a total of 159 weapons were uncovered by agents. By comparison, only 120 banned weapons were confiscated by security officials in April of last year.
Not suprisingly, the small and compact .380 has been the most discovered weapon for both 2012 and 2013. Due to its overwhelming popularity with gun enthusiasts, the weapon is often mistakenly brought to airports by concealed carriers who tell TSA agents they forgot they had the weapon on them.
Behind the .380, the second-most confiscated gun for the first quarter of 2013 was the .9mm (90 total), followed by the .22 (66 total), the .40 (52 total), and the .38 (38 totall).
Firearms may not be carried aboard commercial aircraft, but can be checked as luggage if packaged appropriately. The TSA says it alerts local law enforcement authorities when it finds a weapon at a checkpoint and it is up to the local authorities whether to press charges or not.
Airports with the most confiscations were Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, Salt Lake City