The Transportation Security Administration says they found three times the rate of loaded guns at checkpoints in July than they did at the exact time last year, despite fewer passengers traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a press release, the agency said that 80% of the firearms that come through a checkpoint are loaded.
"It’s just an accident waiting to happen," TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in the release.
TSA said they found 15.3 guns per million people screened last month, which is up from the rate of 5.1 guns per million people in July 2019.
The agency says that's alarming because they screened 75% fewer travelers last month.
“TSA is diligently working to ensure our employees and passengers are safe and secure while traveling during a pandemic, and yet we are noticing a significant increase in loaded firearms coming into checkpoints,” said Pekoske in the press release. “Travelers must understand that firearms are prohibited items at airports and in the passenger cabins of aircraft. As hard as we are working to mitigate other risks at this time, no one should be introducing new ones.”
Guns are permitted in checked bags, but they must be unloaded, and in a locked case, TSA said.
Last year, 4,432 guns were found in carry-on bags at checkpoints nationwide, which is about 12.1 firearms per day, and 87% of them were loaded, the agency said.