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Fewer passengers but more guns intercepted at some Florida airports, TSA says

File photo of gun and ammunition stopped by TSA in 2019.
File photo of gun and ammunition stopped by TSA in 2019.

With far fewer passengers traveling through Florida airports in 2020, the Transportation Security Administration said it’s seeing a disproportionate number of guns being intercepted by agents compared to previous years.

Several airports -- including Miami International, Destin-Ft. Walton Beach and St. Pete-Clearwater International -- have had more guns stopped at TSA checkpoints than the same time last year, despite much lower numbers of travelers, TSA reported.

At Jacksonville International Airport and some others around the state, fewer guns have been taken, but the numbers are still higher than expected based on the decreased traffic through the airports, TSA officials said.

According to numbers from TSA:

AirportGuns stopped so far in 2020Guns stopped through same period in 2019
Miami International3832
Destin-Ft. Walton Beach74
St. Pete-Clearwater International82
Orlando International6069
Jacksonville International2331
Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International5574
Tampa International5157

If you try to bring a firearm through a TSA federal security checkpoint, you could be charged a civil penalty up to $13,669, regardless of whether you face any criminal charges from law enforcement., TSA said.

TSA officials remind passengers that’s it’s their responsibility to know the laws on each side of the trip, and even if a gun can be brought to the destination -- it can only be transported legally in checked luggage.

The gun must be declared to the airline at check-in, unloaded and placed in a locked, hard-sided case, TSA explained.

“Certainly during a global pandemic, travelers are facing stress, but please know where your gun is before you head to the airport,” said TSA spokesperson Sari Koshetz. “And make sure you don’t bring it to the checkpoint.”


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