The TSA Found 29 Firearms at Airports This Week, Before the LAX Shooting

Guns at airports, even loaded ones, are more common than you may think.

Just a few of the weapons the TSA confiscated in the last week of October.
National Journal
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Matt Berman
Nov. 1, 2013, 10:53 a.m.

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.