Aiport TSA finding guns at twice the rate as 2019

Originally published at:


Ken Jeong GIF by The Masked Singer


I wonder if that means more people are trying to take guns through the checkpoint or if the TSA is catching a higher percentage of them (or a combination of the two).

Last time I saw numbers, the TSA’s ability to detect a weapon was pretty darn low. Perhaps with the drop in air travel, they’ve got a little more attention to spend on each screenee. Or perhaps process changes have finally improved their detection rate.

Not only has the number of passengers decreased, the mix may have changed, such that a higher percentage of them are the kinds more likely to carry a weapon. Perhaps more 2020 passengers, lured by low prices and emboldened by “it’s-a-hoax” and “stop-the-steal” conspiracy theories, are the ones likely to think they can get away with it.

There are so many factors and possibilities.


I came here with this ^^ exact set of thoughts. Thanks, other Me!


This theory has a lot of merit:

“There were 302 fewer fatalities during that same period, April through June, in 2020 than in 2019. However, because overall traffic volume decreased so much compared to the previous year, the traffic fatality rate — calculated as the number of fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles driven — increased from 1.06 in the first half of 2019 to 1.25 in the first half of 2020. That rate — fatal crashes per mile driven — hasn’t been that high for more than a decade. If you look at just the second quarter, April to June, the rate is even higher, at 1.42.

“So what was happening? The biggest factor, NHTSA’s report suggests, may be twofold: the type of driver who was still out making trips during the pandemic despite stay-at-home orders and the driving behavior that the empty streets allowed.”


Anyone else getting NRA sidebar ads for this article?

Not surprising I guess.

(And always that Tommy Chong “throw out your CBD” ad down below.)

This is dumb. You can fly with your firearms, but they have to be checked in a locked case.


All that happened is without all of the usual traffic jams there wasn’t the background noise of low speed collisions to balance out the full speed collisions where people are more likely to die.

However, this also means that some of the credit vehicle manufacturers have gotten over the years for making their cars safer and safer was in fact just our roads becoming oversaturated and slowing down to the point where even though people are getting in lots of accidents they aren’t dying as much. Our failure to invest in infrastructure was saving lives.

However, before you go on celebrating you also have to consider that an average American lives for about 672,000 hours. If you have a traffic jam that holds up 330,000 people for an hour you have effectively killed half a person. If you have those kinds of delays every day the death toll adds up.

The solution: Mass transit. Much safer per passenger mile and less prone to delays when properly managed.


They never quite make it clear what happens with the prohibited weapons:
“Bringing a firearm to a TSA security checkpoint poses a serious risk to TSA officer and passenger safety, and doing so may result in significant fines or arrest.”

Notice that it never says they are confiscated or destroyed or used as evidence at trial or slipped into the pocket of the nearest TSA officer, …


Cuz the only people flying right now are idiots?


Not sure, but it sounds like we’re making the same point; because of lower overall traffic, some people drive faster and more dangerously increasing per capita fatalities. My aim, though was to substantiate @aidtopia’s assumption that perhaps the people who are inclined to carry guns on a plane are analogous to the drivers who are willing to put themselves and others at risk by driving dangerously.

“In 2019, TSA officers stopped a record 4,432 firearms, of which 87 percent were loaded.”
It seems 13% of the idiots who can’t even remember to leave the weapon at home, secured in their vehicle, or checked with baggage in a locked case are even more idiotically carrying an unloaded firearm. Why would one carry an unloaded firearm?

I guess I should be pleased with my local hubs’ performance, then.

I wonder if that’s a fair comparison though, since the original post discusses a report tracking “guns per million passengers” and the report you are citing is total number of guns found (which one would expect to be lower given how few people are flying during the pandemic).

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I guess they’re randomly checking white people now?


You’re right. In 2019, there were 75m passengers at DC airports and approximately 70 handguns found. Compared to the 30 found in 2020 when the combined passenger total was 15.6m, the per million value went up.

So now I’m not as pleased.

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True. When I was a baggage handler for Continental years ago, we would routinely see checked firearms. People like to go hunting out of state and don’t always feel like driving.

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Aiport TSA finding guns at twice the rate as 2019

BB readers finding typos at twice the rate of 2019

And then there are the stories of people with valuable checked baggage like camera equipment putting a firearm, often a starting pistol or something else that meets the legal definition without being a functional weapon, in the case with it to ensure it arrives at their destination safely.

(AFAIK if you have a gun in your checked baggage, the bag is searched in front of you before you lock it with your own lock that TSA don’t have a key to, and the investigation if the bag goes missing or is broken into is serious enough to deter pilferers.)


This is correct. There is this guy who is a physical security penetration tester who flies with an assorted kit of tool and gadgets, and he puts an AR lower in with the case and locks it up. Unlike a TSA approved lock, where ANYONE with one of those keys can open it, a locked case can use a standard lock. On occasion they still cut it open, for some reason, even though that is a federal crime. :confused: Follow the rules, unless the rule makers don’t wanna obey them, then it is what ever.