The Transportation Security Administration reported Friday that it had confiscated 2,212 guns at airport security lines in 2014 — the majority of them loaded — and published a great set of photos of some of the more terrifying and bizarre contraband. It’s worth scrolling through the whole thing, but highlights include a live frag grenade, a knife in an enchilada, an inert IED training kit, a pair of sharpened batarangs, and many, many sword canes.
The TSA also included a ranking of the top 10 airports for gun confiscation, showing that the Dallas/Fort Worth and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson are still the airports of choice for the heat-packing demographic (although Atlanta lost its top spot from last year to Dallas). But the gun confiscations from those top 10 airports represent only a third of all the guns that people tried to take on planes in 2014. So, we were curious: Where do the rest of the gun owners go when they want to try to bring a firearm on a plane?
We contacted the TSA and got our hands on the full data set for 2014. Now you can find out how many fellow travelers tried to take a gun through your local airport (and got caught).
Airports in Texas and Florida dominate the list — unsurprising given their large populations and loose gun laws — but there is not a single state without at least one airport in which one person tried to bring one gun through the security line. And the only U.S. territory that went the whole year without someone trying to take a gun on an airplane was the North Mariana Islands, the little-regulated and rarely mentioned Pacific archipelago containing Saipan. The TSA noted on its blog that “in many cases, people simply forgot they had these items” in their carry-ons, but this number is a 22 percent increase over 2013’s confiscated gun yield — which itself was a 16.5 percent increase over 2012.
It’s hard to say whether Americans have more guns, American gun owners are getting more absent-minded, or the TSA is just getting better at finding firearms in carry-on luggage. But the message is clear: Do a quick gun-check the next time you’re about to head to the airport, it’ll save us all a lot of time.