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More guns in baggage than ever as safety battle goes on

September 30, 2015 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59More guns than ever, most of them loaded, are finding their way into luggage bound for US-originating flights, with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) declaring a new weekly record.

The TSA found 67 firearms in luggage that passengers intended to carry onto planes during the week ended 17 September 2015. Of those, almost 84% (56 of the guns) were loaded. About 39% (26 guns) had a round in the chamber. The tally set a new weekly record, beating the previous record of 65 firearms found during a week in May 2013.

Illustration from TSA safety pamphlet

Illustration from TSA safety pamphlet

So far this year, TSA officers have found more than 2000 firearms at US airport security checkpoints.

Many Americans tote guns routinely and even forget they have packed them. The TSA detects firearms and other weapons at security checkpoints daily.

In advice to travellers, the TSA states that ammunition and unloaded firearms must be locked in a hard-sided container as checked baggage. They are prohibited in carry-on baggage.

Below are TSA guidelines for transporting firearms and ammunition:


  • Firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and transported as checked baggage only. Firearm parts, including firearm frames and receivers, are prohibited in all carry-on baggage and must also be placed in checked baggage.
  • All firearms, ammunition and parts in checked baggage must be declared at the airline ticket counter during the check-in process.
  • Replica firearms may be transported in checked baggage only.
  • Travellers are encouraged to check regulations related to carrying firearms where they are traveling from and to, as laws may vary by destination.
  • Rifle scopes are permitted in carry-on and checked bags.


  • Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, must be securely boxed or included within a hard-sided case containing an unloaded firearm.
  • Small arms ammunition, including ammunition not exceeding .75 calibre for a rifle or pistol and shotgun shells of any gauge, may be carried in the same hard-sided case as the firearm, as described in the packing guidelines above.

Edited by Peter Needham

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