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TSA intercepted one firearm at Honolulu airport as rates across the U.S. doubled in 2020

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The Transportation Security Administration intercepted just one firearm during routine screening of carry-on luggage in Hawaii in the entire year of 2020.

The firearm, TSA said, was discovered Sept. 19 at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport during routine screening at the security checkpoint. The traveler was allowed to check their firearm into their luggage, and proceed with their trip.

The story for the rest of the nation was a stark contrast.

Despite a drop in passengers due to the global pandemic last year, TSA officers across the U.S. discovered firearms in carry-on luggage at about 10 firearms per million passengers — a rate twice what it was in 2019 —and the highest rate since the agency’s inception.

TSA officers last year discovered a total of 3,257 firearms on passengers or in their carry-on bags at checkpoints at 234 airports nationwide. Of those firearms, about 83% were loaded.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport topped the list with 220 firearm finds, followed by Dallas Fort Worth International Airport with 176; and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport with 126, according to a recent TSA news release.

In Hawaii, TSA screened approximately 5.6 million departing travelers at five Hawaii airports in 2020, about 31% of the total number screened in 2019. The rate of .02 firearms per million travelers screened from local airports is just a fraction of the 2020 national average.

The one interception in 2020 was lower than in 2019, when TSA intercepted three firearms at Honolulu, Hilo and Lihue airports. In 2018, TSA intercepted six firearms.

Travelers face potential criminal citations as well as civil penalties for bringing firearms to the security checkpoint, in addition to the temporary revocation of Trusted Traveler and TSA Precheck status, although each incident is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Firearms are not permitted in carry-on luggage even if a traveler has a concealed weapons permit.

TSA says firearms can be transported on a commercial aircraft only if they are “unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case and placed in checked baggage.” Passengers must also declare them to the airline upon check-in at the ticket counter.

More information on traveling with firearms and ammunition is available at this TSA link.

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