DENVER (KDVR) — The Transportation Security Administration discovered more than 150 firearms going through Denver International Airport in 2022, the department said.
According to TSA, 156 firearms were found through standard x-ray screening of carry-on luggage at the three checkpoints in the airport. Since 2018, the number of firearms found at DIA has increased year-over-year with the exception of 2020 when the height of the COVID pandemic shut down travel for an extended period of time.
The number of firearms found in 2018 was 126, 2019 was 140, 2020 dipped to 104 and 2021 was 141. The number found nationwide in 2022 was 6,542, following the same pattern as the state increase in the last five years with the exception of 2020.
Denver ranked seventh on the top 10 list with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport taking the top spot and the record for the most firearms confiscated since the inception of the TSA with 448. Here’s the full list:
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (448)
- Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (385)
- George Bush Intercontinental Airport (298)
- Nashville International Airport (213)
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (196)
- Orlando International Airport (162)
- Denver International Airport (156)
- Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (150)
- Fort Lauderdale International Airport (134)
- Tampa International Airport (131)
While Denver is the third busiest airport for total passengers in the U.S., Florida and Texas airports dominated the list.
“TSA at DEN has the distinction of being in the Top 10 nationally for the number of firearms brought by departing travelers to the security checkpoint. This is not the type of recognition we are seeking,” TSA Federal Security Director for Colorado Larry Nau said. “I am asking all travelers to do better this year by checking the contents of carry-on luggage prior to coming to the airport and packing firearms properly for transport on a commercial aircraft. For those who choose not to follow the rules, you will have contact with airport law enforcement and face a stiff civil penalty.”
TSA said DEN is the 10th busiest airport for security checkpoint traffic. Of the nearly 21.4 million departing passengers and crew it screened in 2022, TSA said a rate of one firearm for every 137,175 travelers screened was discovered.
TSA’s information on traveling with firearms
The standard procedure for TSA when a firearm is discovered is to alert the local police at the airport then they take it from there. What happens to the traveler and firearm is decided by the police department.
According to TSA, firearms can be transported on commercial flights as long as the weapon is unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case and placed in checked baggage. Any replica firearms are prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be transported in checked luggage.
Passengers traveling with firearms should check into their airline’s specific guidelines ahead of travel. They should also educate themselves on the specific gun laws in the state they are traveling to.
Once they arrive at the departing airport, they need to declare the firearm, ammunition and any other parts with the airline personnel at the ticket counter during the check-in process.
There are several options for travelers to find out if an item is allowed by either visiting the TSA’s page on what’s acceptable or on the myTSA app. You can also ask via Twitter at @AskTSA.
The agency reminds travelers to know before they go and check if they’re not sure about what they can or can’t bring on a flight.