The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said Tuesday that it had confiscated more than 6,500 firearms found in carry-on bags in 2022.
The exact total was 6,542 firearms found in carry-on bags during security checks at 262 airports—the highest number of violations since the TSA was created after 9/11.
The TSA said 88% of the guns it confiscated were considered loaded.
The confiscations by the TSA mark a nearly 10% increase over the 5,972 firearms seized in 2021, which was also a record.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport experienced the largest number of guns confiscated by the TSA—448. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport followed with 385 confiscated guns.
The uptick in firearms found in carry-on bags comes alongside an uptick in air travel since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. About 736 million passengers were screened through TSA checkpoints in 2022.
TSA doesn’t allow travelers to bring firearms in carry-on bags, regardless of whether the traveler holds a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Firearms can be transported in checked baggage if certain requirements are met.
The Wall Street Journal notes that TSA agents this past year have found firearms hidden in some peculiar containers, including one stuffed into a whole uncooked chicken at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida in September. At New York’s JFK International Airport in December, TSA agents found a disassembled semiautomatic handgun in two jars of peanut butter.
The TSA announced in December that it was raising the maximum civil penalty for a firearms violation from $13,910 to $14,950.