Something changed last year at BWI Airport: Transportation Security Administration officers either became more skilled at finding guns illegally stowed in carry-on bags, or more people concluded that, yes, it was a good idea to try to carry a gun onto a plane.
According to new data from TSA, officers seized two dozen guns at checkpoints in Baltimore-Washington International Airport in all of 2016. That’s eight more than the year before, and nearly double the number from three years ago. Three of those seizures happened within five days, and two were from travelers living in Delaware but flying out of Maryland.
A small bit of solace: BWI was not at all alone in this trend. According to TSA, officers seized 3,391 firearms at airports across the country, up from 2,653 in 2015. That’s an average of nine guns per day in 2016. The biggest three contributors to that total were Atlanta International Airport (198 guns), Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (192) and Houston Intercontinental Airport (128).
The hard-working folks over at TSA keep a handy Instagram account showing all the guns and other ridiculous objects they find in carry-on luggage across the country. One picture posted two days ago shows dozens of inert grenades seized in 2016. Others show ornate knives with carved handles and knuckle holds, all of which could have even been packed in carry-on bags and been OK.
The same is true for many of the guns that TSA officers seized at BWI. If a traveler unloads his or her gun, properly packs it in a checked bag and declares it to the airline, they won’t be arrested. Here’s to hoping gun owners flying out of Maryland figure this out in 2017.
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