INDIANAPOLIS — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says 2021 was a record breaking year for staff stopping firearms at airport checkpoints across the country.
5,972 firearms were stopped, surpassing the previous record of 4,432 firearms caught at checkpoints in the full calendar year 2019.
At the Indianapolis International Airport (IND), 74 handguns were stopped - more than double 2020's total of 36 and an increase of 12 from 2019, when 62 firearms were stopped.
The TSA says nationwide, 86% of those firearms were loaded.
“While our passenger volumes have not yet fully returned to pre-pandemic levels, we are seeing even higher numbers of firearms, most of them loaded,” Acting Indiana TSA Federal Security Director Kevin Bidwell said in a news release. “Passengers are strictly prohibited from bringing firearms onboard planes, and our TSA officers are laser-focused on security and preventing weapons from getting through our checkpoints.”
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are unloaded, packed separately from ammunition in a locked hardback case and declared at the airline check-in counter.
A typical first offense for carrying a loaded handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100, butthe TSA may impose civil penalties of up to $13,910 per violation per person.
The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) had the most number of firearms stopped last year with 507.
For more TSA guidance on how to travel with firearms and ammunition, click here.
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