The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced Thursday that its officers seized nearly 3,400 firearms from hand luggage at security checkpoints at airports in the U.S. in 2016.
The 3,391 total discoveries at almost 240 different airports signal a 28 percent jump from 2015 — when 2,650-plus guns were discovered at the security checkpoints nationwide and is equal to about nine attacks a day.
Perhaps even more disturbing, the TSA said about 83 percent of the weapons collected were loaded.
Keep in mind that the TSA screened a total of 738,318,264 passengers in 2016, which is more than 43 million more in comparison with 2015.
Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport with 198 firearms seized last year, followed by Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, and with 192. Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (128) is third for the second year in a row, won from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (101) and Denver International Airport (98).
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Orlando International Airport, the Nashville International Airport, Tampa International Airport, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and Salt Lake City International Airport round out the top 10 for 2016, each with 75 or more weapons were seized.
Most of these travellers by maximum checkpoints with firearms did it by accident.
“If you’re grabbing a bag, suitcase, bag, jacket, or other items that you do not use, then give it once over, so you don’t accidentally something forbidden to the checkpoint,” TSA blogger Bob Burns wrote in his 2016 holiday tips. “A lot of people that have led to weapons, ammunition, knives and other prohibited item say that they did so without knowing it.”
Still, 2016’s increase and the fact that the figure has gone every year since 2008, is disturbing to say the least. Last year’s record mark, it is also likely a factor in the conversation around the safety of the airport, on the heels of this month’s deadly shooting in Florida Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, in which 26-year-old Esteban Santiago five people were killed and six others injured in a baggage claim area in Terminal 2.