TSA reports increase in guns at Texas airports
The Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, is reporting that it found nearly twice as many guns at Texas airports in 2021 than the year before.
“In 2021, TSA recorded the highest number of firearms that were found in people’s carry-on bags for the 20-year existence of the agency,” said TSA spokesperson Patricia Mancha.
Last year in Texas, TSA agents found a 60 percent increase in guns found in carry-on luggage.
Out of the three major airports in the Rio Grande Valley, Valley International in Harlingen had the highest number of guns found last year.
TSA agents found the following number of guns at Valley airports:
- • 6 at Valley International Airport in Harlingen
- • 5 at McAllen International Airport
- • 1 at Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport
Mancha says one reason for the increase could be because some states, including Texas, have more liberal gun laws.
Last year, Texas legislators passed the constitutional carry law that allows most Texans to carry handguns in public without going through training or having to get permits.
“The most often heard excuse that we get when we find a firearm in someone’s carry-on luggage is, ‘Oh I forgot it was in my bag,’ or ‘That’s not my bag, it belongs to my spouse, or my child, etc.,’” Mancha said.
When a firearm is found, the police are called to the airport and an investigation takes place. The passenger faces administrative fines ranging from $2,000 to $14,000.
It’s important to note that you can travel with a gun on an airplane, but it must be unloaded, packed in a hard back case in a checked on bag.
Flyers will also have to declare it at the ticket counter and fill out a form when you’re checking that bag in.