Texas Leads in People Bringing Their Gun to the Airport

This graphic breaks down the number of people bringing guns to airports. - COURTESY TSA
Courtesy TSA
This graphic breaks down the number of people bringing guns to airports.
People in Texas keep bring their guns to the airport. And the Transportation Security Administration keeps catching them up.

In its end-of-the-year report for 2015, TSA found that half of the top 10 airports for firearm catches were in Texas. Here’s the full top 10, with Texas airports in bold:

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW): 153
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL): 144
George Bush Intercontinental Airport - Houston (IAH): 100
Denver International Airport (DEN): 90
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX): 73
Nashville International Airport (BNA): 59
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA): 59
Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL): 57
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS): 54
William P. Hobby Airport (HOU): 52

TSA found 2,889 firearms in passengers’ bags in 2015. The vast majority of those were in checked baggage; about 8 percent of the found firearms were in carry-on bags.

The 2,889 found guns is up from 2,212 in 2015. With the exception of 2006-2007, the number of firearms found in passengers’ luggage by the TSA has increased every year since 2005. And 83 percent of the guns found were loaded — a 20 percent increase since 2014.

The TSA did not release figures for how many guns were caught by TSA in San Antonio International Airport.

These figures are likely to increase, at least in Texas. Laws passed in the previous Legislature ensure that Texans can carry their guns to more and more places, so it’s probably easier to forget about that handgun on your hip or in your purse.

But if that happens, you may not get in too much trouble — a new state law ensures that carrying a handgun into an airport is no longer a felony, as long as you leave the area immediately. Even then, the TSA can still levy a fine of $7,500 for a loaded gun or $3,000 for an unloaded one.

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