The Transportation Security Administration has revealed that Charlotte Douglas International has surpassed last year’s record for the number of guns discovered during passenger screenings.
TSA spokesperson Mark Howell reported on Monday afternoon that 117 weapons had been discovered by TSA during check screens so far in 2023. This happened in tandem with the entire year 2022. Beagles and a new customs app are now part of the international travel experience.
“It’s very likely, or at least 90 percent likely, unless we have no guns the rest of the month, that we will break the record,” he told reporters at the time.
By Thursday, the record had been shattered, with TSA agents discovering 118 guns during check-in. More than 90% of the personal weapons seized were loaded.
There were also a few guns discovered in checked luggage.
According to Howell, the most common situation is caused by a forgetful passenger.
“Most of them say, ‘Oops, I forgot I had it and forgot I had it loaded,'” he went on to explain. “When you have a firearm, you usually have it loaded.”
Over the last several years, the TSA has recorded a steady increase in the number of guns discovered on travelers during check-in screenings around the country.
There have also been reports of persons packing loaded firearms in their checked luggage and failing to properly declare them.
Howell spoke with Queen City News by phone on Monday while in Florida doing gun education workshops.
“We go to gun classes, gun sellers, people who own guns to remind them of how they should properly travel with their firearms through an airport,” he went on to say.
He did this in Charlotte the last time in 2022.
Charlotte airport is ready for Christmas traffic after experiencing significant Thanksgiving delays.
The increase is also linked to an increase in the number of states that have approved permit-less carry.
Regarding firearm shipment, airports have added extra signage and audio warnings that can be played on repeat.
“The problem with signage is, once they’re at the airport, it’s kind of already too late,” he said.
He emphasized that anyone who must travel through the airport with firearms must follow the correct procedures.
If you fail to declare your firearm, you might face a $15,000 civil penalty and be subjected to extra TSA searches in the future.