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104 firearms found in carry-on luggage at DIA last year, TSA says

Denver International Airport ranked fifth nationwide for the number of firearms found at screening checkpoints, officials said.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

DENVER — Denver International Airport (DIA) ranked fifth nationwide last year for the number of firearms found in carry-on luggage during routine screenings, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

TSA officers discovered 104 firearms in travelers' luggage at DIA security checkpoints in 2020, the agency said Tuesday.

TSA screened about 10.6 million departing travelers at DIA last year. That means travelers flying out of the Denver airport brought firearms in their carry-on luggage at a rate of 9.8 firearms per million travelers screened, TSA said.

The number of travelers screened at DIA dropped about 45% from 2019, when TSA officers found 140 firearms for the year. That came out to about 6 firearms per million passengers screened, according to TSA.

In 2018, screeners at DIA discovered 126 firearms, the agency said.

Nationally, TSA screeners discovered 3,257 firearms in 2020. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport topped the list with 220 firearms, followed by Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (176), Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport (126) and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (124).

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Travelers need to declare firearms, ammunition and firearms parts at the airline ticket counter during the check-in process. Firearms can be transported on commercial aircraft only if they are unloaded; packed in a locked, hard-sided case, and placed in checked baggage, TSA said.

TSA evaluates firearm incidents on a case-by-case basis. Travelers who violate firearm rules can face potential criminal citations as well as civil penalties for bringing a firearm to a security checkpoint.

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