COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is reminding people not to try to bring guns through security checkpoints, as more people are trying to do so.
Nationwide, a record high 6,542 guns were stopped at checkpoints, according to the TSA. The previous record — of 5,972 — was set in 2021.
“What we see generally is as gun ownership increases, this issue becomes a bigger problem at the checkpoint,” said Jessica Mayle, regional spokesperson for TSA Great Lakes.
Statistics from the TSA show 40 guns were caught at checkpoints at John Glenn International Airport in 2022 — a high for at least the last five years. Ninety percent of guns stopped at John Glenn International were loaded, which is similar to the national percentage of 88%, according to the TSA.
“It’s troubling and it’s really concerning,” Mayle said. “Most people say, ‘Oh my gosh, I forgot I had that gun in my bag, I did not mean to do that, I wasn’t thinking,’ and it’s just such a careless mistake.”
Mayle is urging travelers to take the extra time when packing to make sure that if guns are being brought, they’re packed properly.
Firearms need to be with checked baggage and follow specific directions. Anyone trying to bring a gun through security can face up to a nearly $15,000 fine, between TSA and local charges. It also slows the security line down for everyone else.
“Pack smart, don’t bring those prohibited items, it’s an expensive, costly, time-consuming mistake,” Mayle said. “And it’s really dangerous, obviously, to have a firearm in an airport checkpoint. It’s incredibly crowded there, a lot of people, we just don’t want anything bad to happen.”
Leaders with the Columbus Regional Airport Authority suggest making sure your bag is empty when you start packing.
The TSA screened about 761 million passengers in 2022 — while the majority of people are not trying to bring guns through the checkpoint, the administration says one is too many.
“One situation is dangerous, so we just want to remind people, responsible firearms owners always know where their guns are, and they don’t bring them where they’re not supposed to be,” Mayle said.