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Record Number of Firearms Confiscated at U.S. Airports by TSA in 2012
The Transportation Security Administration said that travelers through United States airports and on board airplanes have attempted to carry over 1,500 firearms. As of last Friday, the 2012 gun tally from the TSA hit 1,527. Of those guns, 1,295 were loaded, and the count from this week should put the final count above 1,550 prior to the end of the year, according to NBC News.
David Castelveter, the TSA director of external communications, said that once the weapon is discovered, the job of the TSA is complete. “We are not an arresting authority. We don’t have detention authority. If somebody comes through with a weapon the immediate procedure is to call the local authority,” he said. “There are some states where they just tell you to take it back to the car; in others you’ll end up at Rikers.”
The weekly numbers are posted each Friday on the blog of the TSA. The agency does not track arrests, indictments or convictions that come from firearm violations that the agency records at airports. “We just keep track of the confiscations, because the police don’t always keep us apprised of what happens,” Castelveter said. ”We don’t pay attention to the arrest unless it turns into an indictment and we have an agent give testimony in a trial.”
Gun activity in the first six months of 2012 was nothing compared to the spike in the second half of the year. A project from Medill Journalism School, called One the National Security Beat, published data that said 697 guns were discovered. Of the guns that were found, 170 of them were loaded with rounds in the chambers of the guns.
Earlier in the month, it was reported by Skift that out of the top 11 airports that made the list for firearms confiscation, five of those airports were in Texas, two of them were in Florida and the number one airport on the list is Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.