COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – John Glenn Columbus International Airport has seen multiple guns turn up with passengers this year, and the Transportation Security Administration expects to find more.
So far in 2022, TSA said Thursday that security officers have found 24 firearms at John Glenn airport checkpoints, with the latest turning up on June 30. Comparative to 2021, TSA found 33. A spokesperson for the agency said with only about half of the year over, the airport is on pace to surpass the previous year in the number of guns stopped at checkpoints.
“While our passenger volumes have not yet fully returned to pre-pandemic levels, we are seeing even higher numbers of firearms, most of them loaded,” Ohio TSA Federal Security Director Don Barker said.
The TSA shared data on how many guns it found in the last five years at Ohio airports:
The majority of Ohio airports are finding more or a consistent amount of guns at their checkpoints for flights. John Glenn, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and Rickenbacker International Airport uncovered more guns in 2021 than in all years prior, while Akron-Canton Airport saw the same amount of guns turn up in the last two years, only being surpassed in 2017.
Dayton International Airport saw four guns in 2021 at security checkpoints, compared to only one in 2020 as COVID-19 rattled many Americans' travel plans, but still less than the seven found in 2019.
Every gun stopped can come with a steep price for the person trying to carry it on a plane. TSA said that the first time it finds a passenger with a loaded handgun, it can charge them a civil penalty of $4,100. Those penalties can go as high as $13,910 per violation. If someone caught is a member of TSA PreCheck, the agency said they can also lose those PreCheck privileges for an unspecified duration of time.
TSA does, however, allow people to travel with firearms in their checked luggage. The gun has to be unloaded and stored in a locked hard container inside the baggage, and the passenger has to declare the gun is inside their luggage at the ticket counter when checking it.
A chart of the top 10 airports where TSA officers found guns at checkpoints is below: