Community Safety
10:34 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Dallas & Houston Airports Are Top Three In The Country For Gun Seizures

Officials with the Transportation Security Administration are reporting a record number of guns seized from airline travelers in 2013.

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport had 98 seizures and George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston had 67 seizures, the second and third highest number of gun seizures in the country. Atlanta was the number one airport where passengers were caught with a concealed handgun and had 110 seizures.

The TSA gathered information from 207 of the nation’s busiest airports and the 1,828 seizures in 2013 is the highest number of gun confiscations the TSA has seen, beating out 2012, the previous high, by 20 percent.

The TSA’s Ross Feinstein said the numbers should serve as a reminder for gun owners.

"Obviously the repercussions are that you can be fined by the TSA or you can be arrested by local law enforcement depending on the individual circumstances," he said. "But again, weapons, firearms or firearm parts -- even replicas -- but the numbers that we are getting are actual firearms are prohibited in carry-on luggage."

The numbers for the study were compiled for the TSA by the Medill National Security Journalism Initiative, which showed that 84 percent of the all the guns seized were loaded at the time and one in three had a bullet chambered and ready to fire.

Michael Cargill, a concealed carry instructor who lives in Austin, said part of the reason for the spike may be related the number of people applying for a concealed handgun license.

"Our numbers have actually doubled as far as the number of people taking a CHL class," Cargill said.

Cargill said the excuses he’s heard from gun owners that have been stopped at the airport are also fairly common.

"That suitcase, that briefcase -- they always had the gun in there and they forgot that the gun was in there," he said.

TSA officials say passengers can travel with a gun but that it must be stored in a checked bag, unloaded and contained within a special locked case.

The study shows that 25 percent of airports in the U.S. had at least ten gun seizures in 2013. Austin International Airport had 23 gun seizures in 2013 and San Antonio had 31.