1,813 People Tried to Bring Firearms Through TSA Checkpoints in 2013

By Alexis C. Madrigal
Transportation Security Administration

Trying to bring a gun onto a plane seems crazy.

And yet, it happens with startling frequency, about five times a day according to new stats on the Transportation Security Administration's blog

In 2013, the TSA discovered 1,813 firearms at their checkpoints. Eighty-one percent were loaded. That's up from 1,556 confiscations in 2012. 

Here are just a few of the stories:

loaded .380 pistol with eight rounds was discovered on the lower left leg of a passenger at Bradley Hartford (BDL) after the weapon alarmed the Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT).

loaded .45 caliber pistol with six rounds and one chambered was discovered strapped to the ankle of a Pittsburgh (PIT) passenger during a pat-down after he had opted out of AIT.  

.25 caliber firearm loaded with 10 rounds was discovered hidden under the lining of a carry-on bag at Cedar Rapids (CID).

A passenger at Salt Lake City (SLC) received a pat-down after an anomaly was detected during advanced imaging technology screening. During the pat-down, officers discovered a fully loaded .22 caliber firearm inside his boot.

Using imaging technology, a .380 pistol loaded with seven rounds and one chambered was discovered in the pocket of a passenger at Dallas Fort Worth (DFW).

In one single year, 111 people in Atlanta tried to get on a plane with a gun.

What I can't figure out is who puts a .38 in his pocket and tries to walk through a TSA checkpoint? How can this be worth the risk of detection? Is it so routine to carry a gun that it can be forgotten in a pocket, like a phone or loose change?

I'm left thinking that either the technology is very effective and catches almost everyone who is dumb enough to try to board a plane with a gun. Or it's really terrible and many people bring guns on planes all the time, and therefore the people packing don't consider it a great risk. 

Let's just hope theory one is correct.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/01/1-813-people-tried-to-bring-firearms-through-tsa-checkpoints-in-2013/283373/