TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa International Airport is breaking records this year but not for something you may be expecting.
The beloved Tampa-based airport broke records for the number of guns seized at security in 2022 so far.
Altogether, 116 guns have been taken at checkpoint entries, nearly all of them being loaded. This number so far already tops last year's record at TPA with 105 guns confiscated.
“An accidental discharge could result in tragedy,” TSA spokesperson Sari Koshetz said in a statement. “Every passenger bares the responsibility of knowing exactly where their gun is before entering the TSA's security checkpoint.”
TSA says passengers can be fined almost $14,000 whether or not an arrest is made. They're warning gun owners to make sure their weapons are in checked bags.
TPA, along with the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Orlando International Airport, are reportedly usually in the "top 10 or 11 airports across the country for violating federal law by bringing guns to the TSA checkpoints" every year.
All guns that are confiscated are given to law enforcement who are also at the airport's checkpoint.
“As we are in the busiest holiday travel period, remember if you are going to travel with your gun it must be in your checked bag, but be sure you know what the gun laws are on each side of your trip or you may be heading to jail instead of to your family gathering,” Koshetz said in the statement. “Guns may not be legal to transport even in checked baggage in some jurisdictions.”
Here are some tips for travelers on how to get through the TSA checkpoint the quickest:
- No guns in carry-ons.
- Firearms must be in checked baggage. All firearms must be properly packed and declared to the airline at check-in, which means unloaded and in a locked, hard-sided case. Contact your airline for additional guidance. And it is your responsibility to know what the gun laws are on both sides of your trip.
- Leave all prohibited items at home.
- To reduce the likelihood of a bag search at the checkpoint, search your own bag before leaving home. Unsure if it’s allowed: use the “What Can I Bring?” link on TSA.gov.
- Prepare for the security checkpoint.
- Have a valid ID card readily available. Follow the liquids, gels and aerosols rule of 3.4 ounces or less, with the exception of hand sanitizer, which has a temporary 12-ounce limit in carry-on baggage. Empty your pockets into your carry-on rather than into a bin.
- Help is available.
- Enroll now in TSA PreCheck.
- Travel with ease by enrolling in TSA PreCheck and avoid removing shoes, belts, liquids, laptops and light jackets. Most new enrollees receive a known traveler number within five days, and membership lasts for five years.