Shots broke out at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday morning, wounding multiple people including at least one Transportation Security Administration officer who reportedly has died. The scene is obviously horrific, and it's the exact sort of nightmare that every traveler dreads to face.
But, it turns out, loaded weapons get stopped at security checkpoints all the time.
Over the last week, the TSA discovered 29 firearms—27 of which were loaded. Here, from the TSA, is the breakdown of what kinds of guns were found where:
All of this of course happened before an armed suspect made it into LAX on Friday. And the last week wasn't an outlier. The week before, 39 firearms were discovered. Between Sept. 27 and Oct. 15, the TSA collected 84 loaded arms.
Oh, and in 2012 as a whole, airport screeners found more than 1,500 guns at checkpoints. That was up from a total of 1,320 guns in 2011. Of course, not everyone who brought a gun to an airport intended to do harm. But the sheer number of firearms points to a potential for violence far greater than most people may think.
American airports have never been gun-free. They have only been largely violence-free because of the TSA.