DENVER (KDVR) — Transportation Security Administration officers at Denver International Airport have set a new record and been ranked sixth nationally for firearms found at their three security checkpoints.

TSA said that in 2021, officers discovered 141 firearms in carry-on luggage at DIA. Every firearm found was discovered during a routine X-ray screening of all carry-on luggage.

Across the nation, TSA discovered a total of 5,972 firearms at 268 different airports.

Firearms left in carry-ons have continuously grown since 2009, according to TSA. While Denver ranked sixth across the nation for most firearms found, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport topped the list with 507 firearms. That is the most recorded since the inception of TSA.

Infographic provided by the Transportation Security Administration

“As the data suggests, travelers bringing firearms in carry-on luggage is not new and we have now reached an unacceptable level of carelessness by gun owners. Simply stated, one gun in carry-on luggage is one too many,” TSA Federal Security Director for Colorado Larry Nau said.

TSA reminds travelers of the consequences of being caught with a firearm in a carry-on. If a firearm is found, the flier could face potential criminal citations and civil penalties. Fliers will also lose Trusted Traveler status and TSA PreCheck benefits for a period of time.

Flying with a firearm

Firearms can be transported on commercial flights and Nau wants gun owners to reacquaint themselves with the firearm procedures:

  • Guns must be unloaded and packed in a locked, hard-sided case
  • Must be placed in checked baggage
  • At the airport, the passenger must go to the ticket counter to declare the firearm, ammunition and any firearm parts
  • Prior to travel, check gun laws and regulations at the new destination
  • Additonal information of firearm transportation can be found on TSA’s website

Travelers are reminded to be aware of the contents of all carry-on items prior to entering any checkpoints so that no one is caught by surprise when the bags are searched.