Tampa airport makes TSA’s top 10 list for most guns confiscated in 2019


MIAMI, FLORIDA – MAY 21: A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent’s patch is seen as she helps travelers place their bags through the 3-D scanner at the Miami International Airport on May 21, 2019 in Miami, Florida. TSA has begun using the new 3-D computed tomography (CT) scanner in a checkpoint lane to detect explosives and other prohibited items that may be inside carry-on bags. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa International Airport has landed itself on a top 10 list among all of the airports in the country – this time for the number of firearms confiscated by the Transportation Security Administration.

“It’s a top 10 that no airport wants to be in,” said TSA spokesperson Sari Koshetz. “Because most of these guns that our diligent officers have intercepted are loaded – many with ammunition chambered. This trend could have tragic results.”

Tampa International Airport was No. 10 on the list of more than 5,000 airports across the country. TSA agents discovered 87 firearms in 2019.

While it’s not the highest number of firearms recovered at TPA – 2017 had the most with 97 – it was still a significant number, highlighting the important work of TSA employees.

Firearms at checkpoints

The average number of firearms brought to TSA security checkpoints in Florida airports nearly doubled this month, using comparative data from 2018 and 2019 (year to date).

Sources: TSA

The TSA has been around for 18 years now, and the year 2019 kept agents busy.

A record-breaking 4,432 firearms were detected in carry-on and checked bags at TSA airport checkpoints nationally last year — 87 percent of them loaded. That’s a 5 percent increase over the 4,239 found in 2018.

Firearms confiscated nationally

Here’s a look at the number of firearms brought to TSA security checkpoints nationally. Hover over the bars to see the amount.

Sources: TSA

Bringing weapons to an airport checkpoint can come with a hefty price tag. There are federal civil penalties of up to $13,000, depending on the weapon. The first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100, according to the TSA.

“As we prepare for a very busy spring break this year, Tampa International Airport would like to remind travelers to always check their pockets, handbags, briefcases and carry-on luggage for prohibited items they may have forgotten, and that includes firearms,” said TPA spokeswoman Emily Nipps. “We want all of our guests to have a wonderful experience at our Airport, and nothing ruins a vacation like sudden civil fine or criminal charge.”

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