BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Transportation Security Administration officers found 30 handguns at Baltimore and DC area airports in 2020.

It’s a notable decrease from 2019, when 60 guns were caught at the three airports — Baltimore-Washington  International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Dulles International Airport. But that would be expected as the coronavirus pandemic affected air travel in 2020.

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Each firearm was discovered when TSA officers were doing routine screenings of carry-on bags at the airport security checkpoints.

This graphic shows the guns caught at airports in 2020. Credit: TSA

Nationwide, TSA found 3,257 firearms on passengers or their carry-on bags in 2020. That number fell by 500 from 2019. Eighty-three percent of the guns found were loaded.

Travelers who bring firearms to security checkpoints are subject to criminal charges and civil penalties from TSA of up to $13,669. 

Typically a first offense would carry a $4,100 fine.

“Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are unloaded, packed in a hard-side case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition,” TSA officials said in a press release. “Ammunition must be in its original box and can be packed inside the hard-side case, next to the firearm. Even if the box of ammunition is not full, the bullets must be in their original case.”

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TSA firearms catches at airport checkpoints in the Baltimore/Washington region, 2016 to 2020:

Airport 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport  21 26 22 27 13
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport 19 13 16 14 10
Washington Dulles International Airport 24 19 17 19 7
Total 67 58  55 60 30

 

Top 10 Airports with guns caught by TSA at checkpoints in 2020
Rank Airport (Code) Total
1 Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) 220
2 Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) 176
3 Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) 126
4 Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) 124
5 Denver International Airport (DEN) 104
6 Nashville International Airport (BNA) 94
7 Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) 87
8 Orlando International Airport (MCO) 79
9 Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) 72
10 Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) 71

 

National statistics: Firearms caught

by TSA at checkpoints, 2008 to 2020

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Year Nationwide
2020 3,257
2019 4,432
2018 4,239
2017 3,957
2016 3,391
2015 2,653
2014 2,212
2013 1,813
2012 1,556
2011 1,320
2010 1,123
2009 976
2008 926

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CBS Baltimore Staff