TSA’s Record Year for Firearm Detections Saw Multiple Accomplishments

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) remained vigilant to myriad threats in 2022 and reached a new record in firearm interceptions by Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) at checkpoints. Altogether, TSOs stopped 6,542 firearms at airport checkpoints last year and 88% were loaded. TSA is increasing penalties and extending the loss of TSA PreCheck eligibility for up to five years to help ensure 2023 does not surpass 2022’s record. 

The five U.S. airports with the most TSA firearm discoveries include Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which topped the list with 448 firearm finds. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport came in second with 385 followed by Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport with 298; Nashville International Airport with 213 and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport with 196. Orlando International Airport; Denver International Airport; Austin-Bergstrom International Airport; Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Tampa International Airport round out the Top 10. 

Some airports saw a lower total than 2021, indicating that the message not to bring guns to the checkpoint may be getting through, at least in some areas. For example, TSOs in Chicago stopped 85 handguns at Chicago O’Hare International Airport security checkpoints in 2022, and 38 at Chicago Midway International Airport, a decrease for both airports from 2021. Elsewhere, TSOs stopped 21 handguns at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport security checkpoints in 2022, a decrease from the 23 guns caught in 2021. TSOs at Kentucky airports discovered a total of 116 firearms in travelers’ carry-on luggage in 2022, a slight decrease from the 2021 total of 119. North Carolina airports discovered a total of 250 firearms in travelers’ carry-on luggage in 2022, down slightly from the total of 254 found in 2021. Despite the statewide decrease in firearms, Charlotte Douglas International and Asheville Regional airports both saw all-time highs for firearm detections at their security checkpoints

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TSA highlights its top accomplishments of 2022

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recognized a year of accomplishments and progress in 2022, setting a new record in firearm interceptions by Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) at checkpoints, making significant strides to improve transportation security and screening an average of more than two million passengers daily at airports across the country.

TSA provided airport screening at or near pre-pandemic travel volumes despite multiple instances of challenging weather conditions; enhanced cybersecurity resilience of critical transportation infrastructure with performance-based security directives and continued to test and deploy new technologies that significantly improve security effectiveness, efficiency and the passenger experience throughout the transportation system. Additionally, TSA officers stopped more than 6,500 firearms at airport checkpoints.

“I am incredibly proud of our dedicated TSA employees who perform the critical task of securing our nation’s transportation systems each day,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “We had a very successful year that ended with the enactment of the FY 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which included funding to bring TSA employee compensation to a level commensurate with other federal employees, in addition to funding to expand collective bargaining rights for our non-supervisory screening workforce. For years, our employees have not been paid fairly, and securing pay parity was necessary from an operational standpoint as we continue to see increasing travel volumes, and will also help our ability to recruit and hire new employees and retain the talent we have.”

During 2022, TSA achieved the following highlights and accomplishments:


20 years of federalized security: TSA recognized the 20th year of checkpoint federalization as more than 400 airports nationwide reached this milestone anniversary.

Technology improvements: TSA improved security effectiveness and reduced physical contact by deploying 534 Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) units and adding 243 Computed Tomography

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TSA to hire more officers in Des Moines through job fair

TSA aims to hire more transportation security officers in anticipation of heightened travel. The job fair will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday in West Des Moines.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — TSA at the Des Moines International Airport wants to make sure it can keep up with what they are calling rising travel demands. 

Jessica Mayle, the regional spokesperson for TSA, said in preparation for that increase the agency is hosting a hiring event to bring on more Transportation Security Officers(TSO). 

Mayle said the agency does not have an exact number of people they want to hire, but they want to hire enough to make sure flyers’ wait times don’t increase. 

The spokesperson said currently the average wait time for a flyer to pass through TSA pre-check in Des Moines is under 10 minutes and the wait for non-pre-check is under 30 minutes.

Mayle said to keep those numbers low, as air travel is expected to increase, now is the time for them to get more TSO prepared.

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She noted one of the ways they are trying to appeal to potential employees in this market is by reminding them, that being a TSO is a federal government job. 

“We are trying to be competitive and what could we offer that a lot of these private employers can’t, and that’s security that comes with a federal job,” Mayle said. “[It] is virtually recession-proof. A lot of people were losing their jobs in the pandemic and that doesn’t happen with TSA or federal government, generally.”

People who come to the hiring event will receive a presentation about the job as well as an opportunity to complete parts of the hiring process.

Starting pay is $18.65

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