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TSA discovers record number of firearms in carry-on luggage at Denver International Airport

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Posted at 4:33 PM, Jan 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-17 19:29:55-05

DENVER — Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Denver International Airport found a record number of firearms in carry-on luggage in 2022, the agency announced Tuesday.

Officers discovered 156 firearms in carry-on luggage at DIA — a new record for firearm finds at the airport's security checkpoints, according to TSA. In 2021, 141 firearms were found in carry-on luggage at DIA, compared to 104 firearm discoveries in 2020.

DIA firearm discoveries

Nationwide, TSA officers found a record 6,2542 firearms at 262 different airport last year. Of those, 88% were loaded, according to TSA.

Officers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport discovered the most number of firearms last year with 448 — the most firearms discovered at an airport since TSA's inception. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport saw the second most firearm discoveries with 385, followed by Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport with 298. DIA ranked seventh nationally.

“TSA at DEN has the distinction of being in the Top 10 nationally for the number of firearms brought by departing travelers to the security checkpoint. This is not the type of recognition we are seeking,” TSA Federal Security Director for Colorado Larry Nau said in a press release. “I am asking all travelers to do better this year by checking the contents of carry-on luggage prior to coming to the airport and packing firearms properly for transport on a commercial aircraft. For those who choose not to follow the rules, you will have contact with airport law enforcement and face a stiff civil penalty.”

All of the firearms were discovered during the routine X-ray screening of carry-on luggage.

According to TSA, firearms can be transported on a plane only if they are:

  • Unloaded
  • Packed in a locked, hard-sided case
  • Placed in a checked bag

Replica firearms must also follow the above guidelines.

Passengers who violate firearm transportation guidelines could face potential criminal citations as well as a civil penalty levied by TSA.

For more information on traveling with a firearm, click here.