US, Oregon airports set new records for firearms found at security

TSA security pre-check precheck

A record number of passengers were caught trying to improperly bring firearms through airport security, the Transportation Security Administration announced Wednesday. That includes a record number at two Oregon airports.

The TSA said its officers found 6,542 firearms at 262 different airports in 2022.

At Portland International, 78 firearms were found — a new record and up from the 64 found in 2019, which was the final year before the COVID-19 pandemic curbed air travel.

That 2022 number amounts to one per 99,219 passengers screened at PDX.

RELATED: TSA just increased the fine for bringing a gun through security

There were 10 firearms found at Eugene’s airport, also a new record.

Redmond Municipal Airport found eight firearms in 2022. That’s not a record, but it’s double the number found in 2019 and one more than in 2021. 

A firearm was found among one in every 75,440 passengers screened at Redmond.

Medford had 12 firearms recovered, which was triple the 2019 number of four.

Overall, a record number of 108 firearms were recovered at Oregon airports last year.

No matter what the laws are in Oregon or any other state, it is illegal to have a gun in carry-on bags when going through TSA security checkpoints. That’s also true if the owner has a concealed weapon permit. Firearms are only allowed in checked baggage and must be unloaded. They must be packed to TSA specifications and must be declared at check-in.

In an effort to increase compliance, TSA recently increased the maximum civil penalty for a firearms violation from $13,910 to $14,950. TSA says the total amount is determined on a case-by-case basis.

In addition, TSA will continue to revoke PreCheck eligibility for at least five years to those passengers caught with a firearm in their possession at checkpoints.

TSA may conduct enhanced screening for those passengers to ensure no other threats are present. Depending on state or local law in the airport’s location, who bring firearms to a checkpoint may be arrested by law enforcement.

The five U.S. airports with the most TSA firearm discoveries were:

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport: 448
  • Dallas Fort Worth International Airport: 385
  • Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport : 298
  • Nashville International Airport: 213
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport: 196

Top Local Stories