The Transportation Security Administration seized more than 6,500 guns from airplane passengers in 2022, a new record for the agency.

TSA agents confiscated 6,542 guns – 88% of which were loaded – in 2022, a 10% increase from the previous high of 5,972 firearms in 2021. By comparison, there were 1,123 confiscated guns in 2010.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (448) and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (385) topped the lists with other airports in Texas, Florida, Arizona, Tennessee and Colorado rounding out the top 10.

Guns were confiscated at 262 airports in total, the agency said.

A total of 46 firearms were detected at New England security checkpoints in 2022, the agency reported in December. Of those, 31 were found in Boston, 5 at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut, 3 at Rhode Island’s T.F. Green, 3 at Bangor, 3 at Portland and 1 at Manchester, N.H. In 2021 there were 40 firearm detections at New England security checkpoints.

In response to the rising number of confiscations, the TSA has changed various policies, including raising the maximum civil penalty for a firearms violation to nearly $15,000 and revoking passenger’s PreCheck status for five years if they are caught with a firearm at a security checkpoint.


The agency also usually refers violators to local law enforcement.

“I am incredibly proud of our dedicated TSA employees who perform the critical task of securing our nation’s transportation systems each day,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “We had a very successful year that ended with the enactment of the FY 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which included funding to bring TSA employee compensation to a level commensurate with other federal employees, in addition to funding to expand collective bargaining rights for our non-supervisory screening workforce.”

The TSA screened about 2 million passengers a day in 2022.

Passengers traveling with firearms are advised to carefully read the agency’s guidelines.

“Firearms carried in checked bags must be unloaded, packed in a locked hard-sided container, and declared to the airline at check-in. Check with your airline to see if they allow firearms in checked bags,” the TSA website reads.

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