PHOTO: According to the TSA, the number of guns detected at New York area airports last year jumped to 10, from five in 2014. File Photo
By Michael V. Cusenza
Last year, Transportation Security Administration officers detected twice the number of firearms at New York area airport checkpoints than in 2014, according to the federal agency.
In 2015, TSA officers detected a total of 24 firearms at John F. Kennedy International, LaGuardia, and Newark Liberty International airports, compared to 12 in 2014.
TSA personnel caught 10 firearms at JFK checkpoints in 2015, up from five in 2014. At LaGuardia, officers detected five guns last year, compared to two in 2014. And TSA agents caught nine firearms at Newark Liberty checkpoints in 2015, up from five in 2014.
However, these metropolitan area numbers pale in comparison to the firearm-detection totals from airports that have led the nation in guns caught for the last two years.
According to the agency, the top five airports where TSA officers detected guns at checkpoints in 2015 were: Dallas/Fort Worth International with 153; Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International with 144; George Bush Intercontinental at Houston with 100; Denver International Airport with 90 and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport with 73.
“The transport of firearms by commercial air in carry-on bags represents a threat to the safety and security of air travelers. Through increased training in detection methods, our officers are becoming more adept at intercepting these prohibited items,” said TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger. “I am proud of the men and women who serve in the TSA and grateful for their hard work in the past year.”
In total, 2,653 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging more than seven guns per day—approximately a 20 percent increase in discoveries from the 2,212 in 2014.
Last year was a busy 12 months overall for the TSA. The Department of Homeland Security agency screened more than 708 million passengers in 2015 – roughly 41 million more passengers than in 2014.