TSA: Number of Firearms Found in Carry-On Bags on the Rise

CHARLOTTE, N.C.- The number of firearms found in carry-on bags at airports across the country is up about 13 percent. The Transportation Security Administration tells WCCB Charlotte that in 2014, their agents found 2,212 firearms in carry-on bags at airport checkpoints. Through November 2015, 2,498 firearms were found.

WCCB Charlotte asked why. TSA Spokeswoman Sari Koshetz says, “I’m not gonna speculate on the cause on what’s bringing about this trend. All I’m going to say is that you bring a gun to the check point, we will find it and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police will arrest you.”

At Charlotte-Douglas, perhaps because of that arrest policy, the numbers are tracking differently than the rest of the country. In 2014, 45 firearms were found. In 2015, it went down to 42.

The most recent reported firearm found inside a carry-on here at Charlotte-Douglas was on December 20. It was a 9 millimeter handgun. It was loaded and it had a round in the chamber.

“I think it coincides with the general increases of concealed handgun permits. I think it coincides with exactly with the increase in purchases of guns,” says Dr. John Lott. Lott is the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and a FOX News columnist. He says, “Look, 2,400 people accidentally having firearms in carry-on bags or in checked bags, that’s too bad that they’ve done that. None of those individuals, I believe, represented a threat to others.”

Passengers who talked with us aren’t as convinced. One woman said, “I’m very careful with everything I bring. I can’t imagine leaving something like that in my bag.” Another said, “If you’re gonna have a gun, you should be very careful, always.” And Michael Walker of Charlotte said, “It’s not an American Express card, so you can leave home without it.”

In Charlotte, the people who brought guns to the airport recently ranged in age from 25 to 71. 75 percent of them were men.

In addition to being arrested by CMPD, you could also face civil penalties from the TSA up to $11,000.