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TSA says “notable increase” in number of guns found at New England airports in 2018

This .40 caliber firearm was discovered by TSA officers at Bradley International Airport on April 23, 2018 (Photo courtesy of TSA)

BOSTON – The federal Transportation Security Administration says officers stopped 45 handguns at checkpoints across New England in 2018, a significant increase from the 29 that were caught in 2017.

In 2017, TSA agents found 5 firearms at checkpoints at Bradley International Airport. In 2018, that number rose to 9 firearms.  Boston’ s Logan International Airport saw a 50% rise, from 14 guns in 2017 to 21 in 2018.  Agents at T.F. Greene Airport outside of Providence intercepted 4 firearms in 2018; they had found none in 2017.

Across the country, 4,239 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags across the country last year, averaging about 11.6 firearms per day. That’s about a 7 percent increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the 3,957 detected in 2017. Eighty-six percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded and nearly 34 percent had a bullet in the chamber.

The top five airports where TSA officers detected guns at checkpoints in 2018 were: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International with 298; Dallas/Fort Worth International with 219; Phoenix Sky Harbor International with 129; Denver International with 126 and Orlando International at 123.

Travelers who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA. Firearms are not permitted to be carried onto an airplane, even if the person has a concealed weapons permit. Travelers with proper firearm permits can travel legally with their firearms in their checked bags if they follow a few simple guidelines.  TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its web site here:

As a reminder, individuals who bring weapons to a checkpoint are subject to federal civil penalties of up to $13,000. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $3,900. The complete list of penalties is posted online here:

For more specific information on unusual items intercepted by TSA agents, visit the TSA Blog at

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