FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The number of guns found in TSA screenings at XNA has increased more than 100% since this time in 2019.
“TSA broke a 20-year record nationwide in finding more guns in people’s carry-on bags than any other year of the 20 years of TSA existence,” says Patricia Mancha, A spokesperson for TSA.
Mancha says in 2019 at XNA, 11 firearms were discovered in TSA screenings, and in 2021 that number rose to 21.
“I don’t want to speculate as to why,” says Mancha.
There was a more than 100% increase from pre-pandemic levels and a 280% increase from 2020 when only six were found.
“The number one excuse we’re hearing is I forgot it was in my bag, or this is not my bag it belongs to my spouse,” says Mancha.
XNA tells us passenger traffic at is back to 90% of what it was in 2019. Mancha says she can’t speak to why the number of guns found has gone up along with it.
However, she wants to remind everyone there are ways to properly pack a firearm.
“It must be unloaded, it must be in their checked bag, it must be locked in a hard lockbox case, and it must be declared to the airline,” says Mancha.
Failure to do so, and you could face serious consequences.
“They face fines, missed flights, suspension from TSA pre-check, and possible arrest. So it’s not without consequence, but people continue to do it,” says Mancha.
TSA says these numbers are alarming on their end, and they should also be alarming for the general public. So if you find yourself in an airport for holiday travel and you see something suspicious, make sure you report it.