NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Despite fewer airline passengers in 2020, officials with the Transportation Security Administration say they detected twice as many firearms at airport security checkpoints in Texas and nationwide compared to 2019.

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport was near the top of the list of airports where TSA officers discovered the most firearms on passengers or in their carry-on bags.

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Throughout 2020, TSA caught approximately 10 firearms per million passengers screened as compared to about 5 firearms per million passengers screened in 2019 — numbers significantly higher than any other year since the agency’s inception.

Last year TSA officers discovered a total of 3,257 firearms, although the total passengers screened in 2020 fell by 500 million versus 2019 due to the COVID pandemic. Of those firearms caught in 2020, about 83 percent were loaded.

“Bringing a firearm to a TSA security checkpoint poses a serious risk to TSA officer and passenger safety, and doing so may result in significant fines or arrest,” said TSA officials Darby LaJoye.

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The top five airports where TSA officers detected guns at checkpoints in 2020 were:

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
    220 Weapons
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
    176 Weapons
  • Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
    126 Weapons
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
    124 Weapons
  • Denver International Airport (DEN)

Passengers with firearms at checkpoints were stopped at 234 airports nationwide.

Airline passengers can fly with firearms in checked baggage if the firearms are properly packed and declared at check-in. However, firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.

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