How many guns get through airport?

From replica suicide vests to live hand grenades, you’d be amazed at some of the items confiscated from carry-on and checked luggage at US airports.

Perhaps most perplexing was the 3957 firearms found by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents at airport checkpoints in 2017. Around 35 per cent of those guns were loaded.

The record number of guns found translates to around 10 firearms a day.

The number of guns discovered at airports has risen since checking began in 2005, when just 660 were found.

Around 2 million passengers are screened in US airports each day.

Below are the top 10 airports where firearms were found and the number that were loaded was more than 75 per cent.

1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International: 245/222 loaded

2. Dallas/Fort Worth International: 211/165 loaded.

3. George Bush Intercontinental – Houston: 142/124 loaded.

4. Denver International: 118/102 loaded.

5. Phoenix Sky Harbor International: 115/109 loaded.

6. Tampa International: 97/90 loaded.

7. Orlando International: 94/82 loaded.

8. Dallas Love Field: 93/81 loaded.

9. Nashville International: 89/71 loaded.

10. Seattle-Tacoma International: 75/60 loaded.


Are you surprised that so many travellers tried to get guns through US airport security? Does it make you wonder how many people do get through?

Related articles:
Is gun reform back on the agenda?
How safe is your luggage?
Have your say on this issue

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.


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