Airport gun confiscations up 14% in first quarter

Bersa Thunder 380 nickel handgun

A .380 handgun. Nearly 1 in 3 guns seized was a .380. (SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons)

The number of guns confiscated at airport security gates in the first quarter of 2013 was up 14% over last year, with a huge jump in January a key contributor, according to an analysis of Transportation Security Administration data by National Security Zone.

A total of 364 guns were confiscated by TSA agents at U.S. airports from Jan. 1 to March 31 as passengers tried to carry them aboard — 45 more than the first quarter last year. That is an average of four a day.

The number of guns that were loaded was up slightly — 82% vs. 79% a year ago.

Airports with the most confiscations: Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, Salt Lake City
and Phoenix. (See table below).

Medill National Security Zone compiles a database from weekly TSA blog posts that chronicle gun seizures by day and airport, including the type of gun, whether it was loaded and whether it had a bullet in the chamber. We make our database available for download.

Interactive tables with weekly and daily data are available here.

Firearms may not be carried aboard commercial aircraft, but can be checked as luggage if appropriately packaged. The TSA says it alerts local law enforcement authorities when it finds a weapon at a checkpoint and it is up to the local authorities whether to press charges or not.


TSA gun confiscations Q1 2013 v. 2012

Q1 2013 airport gun confiscations -- top airports

Type of gun seized Q1 2013

SOURCE: Medill National Security Zone analysis of TSA data.

Special thanks to NSJI’s Natalie Jones for help with data entry.

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