PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Transportation Security Administration officers detected a record number of firearms in travelers’ carry-on luggage in 2022, both nationally and in Oregon.
Most of those firearms, 78 of them, were found at Portland International Airport’s security checkpoints. They were all discovered during the routine x-ray screening of carry-on property.
TSA agents found 10 firearms in Eugene, 12 in Medford and eight in Redmond.
Throughout the United States, TSA officers found 6,542 firearms at 262 different airports.
The airport with the most firearm discoveries was Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, with 446. Dallas Fort Worth came in second with 385, followed by George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston where 298 guns were found.
According to the TSA, officers screened approximately 761 million passengers and crew members at airports across the country in 2022. When the data were broken down, TSA said they found one firearm for every 116,394 travelers they screened.
In Portland, they screened 7.7 million people. That means TSA found one firearm for 99,219 travelers they screened in Portland.
“It is my hope that these statistics serve as a wake-up call for those who choose to travel with a firearm. This is not a new problem, but it is one that must be addressed since we have reached an unacceptable level [of] firearms coming through our security checkpoints,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Oregon Kathleen McDonald.
She said the TSA is pleading with the public to double-check the contents of their carry-on luggage.
According to the TSA, travelers are allowed to bring firearms onto commercial aircraft, but they must follow the proper procedures. Firearms must be in luggage items that are checked and travelers must declare that the luggage contains a firearm. Firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container.
Even passengers who have concealed weapon permits are not allowed to bring firearms on a plane in their carry-on luggage.
The TSA has more information about flying with firearms and ammunition on its website.
Whenever a TSA officer discovers a firearm in a carry-on, they immediately notify the local airport law enforcement agency. A law enforcement officer removes the firearm from the x-ray tunnel and speaks to the traveler. What happens to the firearm and the traveler is up to airport law enforcement.
TSA also can levy a civil penalty against the traveler.
Anyone with TSA PreCheck who attempts to bring a firearm on a flight in their carry-on luggage will have the benefit revoked.
TSA reminds travelers that replica firearms are also prohibited in carry-on luggage. They must be placed in checked bags.