The number of people flying on commercial jetliners is down 75% from last summer, but the rate of those getting caught either inadvertently or deliberately trying to bring a gun on board is soaring.
Transportation Security Administration officers are finding guns in carry on bags at security checkpoints at a rate three times higher than they did last summer. And 80% of those guns are loaded.
The TSA reports that officers seized more than 300 guns from backpacks, shoulder bags, purses and other carry on baggage in July, a rate of 15.3 guns for every one million people screened. That’s compared to a rate of 5.1 guns per million people screened in July of last year.
The rate is “particularly alarming, given that TSA screened about 75% fewer passengers in July 2020, over the previous year’s volume,” the agency said in a news release. “Even more concerning is that 80 percent of the firearms coming into the checkpoint are loaded,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said. “It’s just an accident waiting to happen.”
The number of people going through airport security screening checkpoints hit a five-month high this past weekend, with nearly 832,000 people screened across the country on Sunday. That’s the most people passing through TSA checkpoints since March 17, but it’s still close to 70% fewer people than on the same Sunday last August