Number of guns found at Tennessee airports spikes in 2021

January 25, 2022 GMT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Security officers at Tennessee’s major airports found more than 280 guns in passengers’ carry-on luggage in 2021, a significant increase from prior years, officials said.

The 283 guns found last year at security checkpoints in airports in Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga and the Tri-Cities area surpassed the 162 weapons discovered in 2020 and exceeded the total of 181 guns found in 2019, Transportation Security Administration spokesman Mark Howell said in a news release.

Nashville International Airport led with 163 firearms found in 2021, more than the total found at the other four airports.

TSA screened about 10.7 million departing travelers at the five airports, an 88% increase over the number screened in 2020, the news release said.

Travelers face criminal and civil penalties for bringing firearms to a security checkpoint. Guns can be transported on a commercial aircraft only if they are unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case and placed in checked baggage, the TSA said.