Last year, a total of 666 guns were intercepted across the state. At the time, TSA reported it was a 26 percent increase from the highest previous totals of 529 and 528 in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
At Tampa International Airport, officers caught passengers with 102 weapons this year to date. St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport set a new record with 17 guns found as well as Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport with 13 interceptions.
Across Florida, the Orlando International Airport intercepted 129 guns so far. Over at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, 120 were uncovered. Miami International had 83 guns intercepted at this point of the year.
TSA reported nearly every one of these guns was loaded, most of them with ammunition chambered. Many of the passengers have been arrested and ordered to appear in court. They offered the following tips for getting through checkpoints:
- No guns are allowed in carry-ons. They need to be in checked baggage, properly packed, and declared to the airline at check-in. That means, unloaded and in a locked, hard-sided case.
- Leave all banned items at home. You can find the list of those items at TSA.gov.
- Prepare for the security checkpoint with your ID card ready and your pockets empty.
- Ask for help if you need it
- Enroll in TSA pre-check
Also, be sure to know what the gun laws are on each side of the trip. Guns may not be legal to transport, even in checked baggage in some jurisdictions. By the way, even if you don't get arrested, you could get hit with a nearly $14,000 civil penalty from the TSA for breaking the rules.
A breakdown of guns confiscated in 2022 at Florida airports are below:
- 129 guns at Orlando International Airport (MCO): 124 guns were confiscated in 2021, which is one more than the record of 123 in 2018.
- 120 guns at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL): 128 weapons were confiscated in 2021 and 100 in 2019
- 102 guns at Tampa International (TPA): 105 weapons were confiscated in 2021. The previous record was 97 guns in 2017.
- 83 guns at Miami International (MIA): 80 guns were stopped in 2021. The previous record was 60 in 2020.
- 58 guns at Jacksonville International Airport (JAX)
- 37 guns at Southwest Florida International (RSW): 39 weapons were seized in 2021.
- 28 at Palm Beach International (PBI)
- 24 at Pensacola International (PNS): 36 weapons were confiscated in 2021.
- Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) with 22: 15 confiscated last year.
- St. Pete-Clearwater International (PIE) with 17
- Tallahassee International (TLH) with 13
- Sarasota Bradenton International (SRQ) with 13
- Gainesville Regional Airport (GNV) with 10
- Punta Gorda Airport (PGD) with 10
- Daytona Beach International (DAB) with 8
- Melbourne Orlando International (MLB) with 5