TSA snagged record 6,737 guns in 2023: Here are the top 10 airports

As expected, TSA agents seized a record number of guns in carry-on bags at U.S. airports in 2023.

The Transportation Security Administration says it found 6,737 guns in carry-on luggage in 2023. That’s up from 6,542 in 2022 and 5,972 in 2021. The number of guns seized at U.S. airports has risen every year since at least 2014, except for in 2020 when travel was limited by the pandemic.

In the third quarter of 2023, TSA agents were stopping an average of 20 guns per day.


Travelers pass through a TSA security checkpoint during a winter storm at Denver International Airport on February 22, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

TSA says 93% of the firearms found this year were loaded. According to the TSA, passengers caught with a gun in carry-on luggage can face a fine of up to $15,000 or an arrest or citation. 

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Airports where the most guns were seized in 2023

Guns in carry-on bags were discovered at 265 U.S. airports in 2023. Here’s a look at the top airports for guns last year.

  1. ATL (Atlanta): 451
  2. DFW (Dallas): 378
  3. IAH (Houston): 311
  4. PHX (Phoenix): 235
  5. BNA (Nashville): 188
  6. DEN (Denver): 178
  7. MCO (Orlando): 164
  8. TPA (Tampa): 144
  9. FLL (Fort Lauderdale): 135
  10. DAL (Dallas): 125

How to properly travel with firearms 


Florida, Fort Lauderdale, Airport TSA security screening checkpoint, information sign about firearms. (Photo by: Jeff Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Guns can only be flown in a locked, hard-sided container in a checked bag.

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Rules for ammunition differ depending on which type you’re packing, but all of it must be in a checked bag. No ammunition is allowed in a carry-on. Per TSA:

  • Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, must be securely boxed or included within a hard-sided case containing an unloaded firearm.
  • Small arms ammunition (up to .75 caliber and shotgun shells of any gauge) must be packaged in a fiber (such as cardboard), wood, plastic, or metal box specifically designed to carry ammunition and declared to your airline.
  • Ammunition may be transported in the same hard-sided, locked case as a firearm if it has been packed as described above. You cannot use firearm magazines or clips for packing ammunition unless they completely enclose the ammunition. Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, must be boxed or included within a hard-sided, locked case.

You also have to declare the gun and/or ammunition when you check your bag at the ticket counter.  

FOX's Daniel Miller contributed to this report.