Jacksonville’s airport among Florida’s worst for seized guns

Published on January 19, 2023 at 4:11 pm

Jacksonville’s airport had the state’s highest rate of confiscated guns last year, during a record year for weapon seizures nationwide, according to new federal data.

Here’s how Florida’s busiest airports stacked up in 2022, according to data from the Transportation Security Administration:

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  • Jacksonville International Airport: 2.6 million passengers, 73 guns seized, one for every 35,578 passengers.
  • Tampa International Airport: 8.4 million passengers, 131 guns seized, one for every 64,090 passengers.
  • Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport: 10.1 million passengers, 134 guns seized, one per 75,732 passengers.
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  • Southwest Florida International Airport, Fort Myers: 4.2 million passengers, 49 guns seized, one per 86,315 passengers.
  • Orlando International Airport: 18 million passengers, 162 guns seized, one per 111,331 passengers.
  • Miami International Airport: 11.9 million passengers, 94 guns seized, one for every 126,751 people.

Nationwide, Jacksonville ranked 28th worst for the total number of seized guns. Many airports with far more passengers had fewer guns.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the nation’s busiest airport, topped the list of seized weapons with 448, the most ever recorded since the inception of the TSA.

Three Florida airports were among the top 10 for total gun seizures. Orlando was sixth, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport was ninth, and Tampa International Airport rounds out the Top 10, TSA said.


In total, 6,492 guns were seized nationwide in 2022, topping 2021’s total by 1,170 weapons, TSA said. Eighty-eight percent of all seized guns nationwide were found to be loaded, TSA said.

Department of Transportation data shows that 624 million people flew domestic and international flights out of U.S. airports in 2022, compared with almost 606 million in 2021. In October alone, 75.6 million people flew domestic and international flights, up almost 1% from the previous month and 17.3% higher than October 2021.

In 2022, TSA screened about 761 million passengers and crew at airports nationwide. Its officers stopped 6,542 firearms at airport checkpoints, or one firearm for every 116,394 travelers screened.

TSA reminders

Firearms can be transported on a commercial aircraft only if they are unloaded and packed in a locked, hard-sided case that is placed in checked baggage. Any type of replica firearm is also prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be transported in checked luggage.

If a TSA officer sees the image of a firearm on the X-ray screen, the local airport law enforcement agency is notified to respond to the security checkpoint. The firearm is kept in the X-ray machine until the police officer removes it, then makes contact with the weapon’s owner, TSA said.

In addition to potential criminal citations for bringing a firearm in carry-on luggage, TSA can levy a civil penalty again the traveler, the amount determined by whether it was loaded and the accessibility of ammunition. People who violate rules regarding traveling with firearms lose Trusted Traveler status and TSA PreCheck benefits as well.

For more information on transporting guns and ammunition, check the TSA website.

author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 email Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.

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