SEATAC, Wash. - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recovered 58 firearms in carry-on luggage at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport so far this year, according to a new report from the agency.
At this same point last year, TSA officers had discovered just 54 firearms.
The most recent TSA firearm discovery happened Monday around 6:45 a.m. in the carry-on of a passenger flying to Fort Lauderdale out of Seattle.
While firearms discoveries locally are up slightly, TSA reported cases are down nationally with 3,251 firearms found at security checkpoints in airports nationwide. Of those, 92% of those firearms were loaded.
The national number of firearm catches during the first half of 2023 represents a 6% increase over the same period in 2022. However, over the same period, passenger volume at checkpoints increased 15%, showing the rate at which passengers brought firearms to airport checkpoints declined in 2023.
Carrying firearms and ammunition through airport security checkpoints is illegal and punishable with a civil penalty of up to $14,950, a loss of TSA PreCheck eligibility for five years and could require enhanced screening in the future. Some passenger may be arrested depending on their state's firearm laws.
However, passengers hoping to travel with a firearm can pack it in their checked luggage as long as it is unloaded and declared when the bag is dropped off at the ticket counter in accordance with TSA rules. Airlines also have their own rules when dealing with firearms.
According to TSA, the most common prohibited items found at checkpoints are oversize liquids.