Airport security

How Many People Forget They Have A Gun At The Airport?


TSA 2014

As the graphic from TSA shows, they interdicted over 2,200 firearms, mostly loaded, from travelers’ carry-on bags, holsters, pockets and a few other places and items last year.  No doubt most of the interdicted firearms were those inadvertently brought into the security checkpoint by someone who otherwise could legally carry the firearm.  The top ten airports are all in places with lots of permit holders.  Three in Texas, three in Florida, one each in Arizona, Georgia, Tennessee, and Colorado.  The Crime Prevention Research Center shows that there were 11.1 million concealed carry permits in the  United States in July of 2014.   As the number of permits is growing rapidly, we can reasonably assume an average of 11 million permits for the year.  There are about 310 million people in the United States, so 3.5 percent of the population has a permit.    TSA says that they check 1.8 million people a day, and that they found an average of six firearms a day.  That is one improperly stowed firearm for every 300,000 people.  Of those 300,000 people about 10,500 have concealed carry permits.  That does not count the five constitutional carry states where no permit is required to legally carry a concealed weapon.

You see where this leads.   About 1 out of every 10,000 concealed carry permit holders forgets that they had a firearm with them when they hit the security checkpoint.    I know that you are conscientious.  I know that I am conscientious…  but are you conscientious 10,000 times in a row?  Are you sure that after you checked the backpack that you were taking as a carry on,  and that someone did not slip a pistol back into it afterward?  It happened to me once with someone who was helping me pack up after teaching a concealed carry class.  Have you ever used your carry-on as a range bag?  Maybe you intended to leave your gear in a lockbox in the vehicle, but at the last minute, under considerable stress to make the flight, somebody asked for your help, or someone near and dear distracted you at a critical moment.   It happens.  At least 2,000 times a year.

There is also the possibility of being set up.  Remember the girlfriend who put the gun in her boyfriend’s son’s backpack, then called the school?

Wait… as they said on the old TV commercials.. there’s more!  According to
people who are commenting on the TSA blog, the TSA’s own tests says that they only find about 3 out of 10 forbidden items.   From comments:


Anonymous said…
“How do you know what the guns, grenades etc that was caught was not intended to be an act of terrorism?”

TSA has a failure rate of ~70%. That means considerably more flew than were caught. Ergo, if anyone were targeting commercial aviation, then an act of terrorism would have occurred by now. The fact that one hasn’t proves the point.

It happened to me.  Unlike many on the Internet, I know that I am not perfect. On a business trip to Denver, a number of years ago, I discovered, to my surprise, a full box of 50 .22 cartridges in my carry-on, after we were airborne. The cartridges stayed in Denver. Then, it was an annoyance. Today, with .22 more difficult to procure, a tragedy.

Don’t think it can never happen to you. Check your bags twice. Think about the checkpoints before you go to the airport.  Most important, give yourself enough time.   And when you hear of some poor Joe or Jane who got caught in that 1 out of 10,000 times, consider: there, but for the grace of God, go I.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch

Categories: General
About Dean Weingarten | View all posts by Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in…

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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