The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has said Americans are bringing guns into airports in record numbers.
As of October 3 in 2021, TSA officers have seized 4,495 firearms at checkpoints, setting a 20-year record, even though there are three months left in the calendar year and fewer passengers traveling in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of. The record surpasses the 2019 tally for the full year: 4,432.
The agency said in a statement, “TSA officers discovered 11 firearms in carry-on bags at airport checkpoints per million passengers screened so far in 2021. This compared to 5 firearms per million passengers in 2019. “
“The firearms that our TSA officers are stopping at airport checkpoints are dangerous,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “Firearms, especially loaded firearms, present an unnecessary risk at checkpoints, have no room in the passenger cabin of an airplane, and represent a very costly mistake for passengers who fly with them.” Let’s try.”
Mr Pekoske said 80 percent of the guns caught at checkpoints this year were loaded, posing a threat of gun violence at airport security checks, CNN reported.
This year there has also been an increase in the number of unruly passengers, including drunk passengers, at the checkpoints.
The Federal Aviation Administration said on Tuesday that 4,724 incidents with uncontrolled passengers have been recorded so far in 2021..
“We have had many more incidents where there are passenger disturbances both at checkpoints and onboard aircraft. This makes it all the more important that there are no guns involved,” Mr. Pekoske said.
He said these figures indicate that American society is becoming increasingly armed. “As a passenger, I don’t want another passenger flying with me who has a gun,” he said.
According to US regulations, firearms are not allowed in the passenger cabin of an airplane. But travelers can travel with firearms in checked baggage when they are unloaded and packed in a locked, hard-sided case.
“The passenger must announce and present the case with the firearm at the airline check-in counter and inform the airline representative of his intention to travel with firearms. The firearms are transported with checked baggage and placed in the aircraft’s cargo hold, the TSA said in its statement.
Armed passengers at checkpoints delay airport check-in queues and also trigger a response from the airport and local police. Penalties for carrying a firearm through airport checkpoints include $2,500 (about £1,825) for unloaded weapons and $10,000 (£7,300) for loaded weapons.
Mr Pekoske said airlines could initiate action against passengers who try to bring firearms on flights, including cancellation of their membership allowances. Such passengers may also face criminal action from the local police.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Transportation Security Administration