TSA says 31 guns stopped at MSP so far in 2023, offers reminder for travelers

Local and federal security officials are reminding Minnesotans how to legally travel with guns as more firearms are stopped at airport checkpoints.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) Police Department issued a reminder Thursday that guns are never allowed at airport security checkpoints.

So far this year, the TSA says 3,251 guns have been stopped at U.S. airport checkpoints — an average of 18 per day with about 92% of those loaded. At MSP, 31 guns have been stopped at checkpoints in 2023.

Officials at MSP stopped 58 guns last year. Because that number has been climbing in recent years, the TSA is trying to make sure people know how to properly travel with a gun, which includes putting it in checked luggage unloaded and declaring the weapon at the airline check-in counter.

“Although it’s extremely troubling when passengers make this careless, expensive mistake, the general public should feel safer knowing that the TSA Officers at MSP continue to perform their jobs exceptionally well and are stopping these firearms from going past the checkpoint,” Minnesota TSA Federal Security Director Marty Robinson said. “When dangerous items such as loaded guns are brought to a security checkpoint, it represents a serious security and safety concern. Remember that a concealed carry permit or enrollment in the TSA PreCheck® program are not exemptions from this policy.”

Authorities note that bringing a gun to a security checkpoint will not only have legal consequences but also serious financial penalties, as the TSA can fine people u to $14,950 and require enhanced screening for future travels.

“It’s been concerning to see our officers dispatched to a growing number of incidents involving guns at checkpoints – just one gun is too many when it comes to keeping the public safe,” MSP Airport Police Chief Matt Christenson said. “If you’re caught with a gun at the checkpoint, you will be arrested and interviewed. You will also face at least a misdemeanor criminal charge – or jail time, in some cases.”

The TSA has information on how to properly travel with a gun on its website. Officials also recommend contacting airlines, as each airline may have different additional requirements for traveling with guns or ammunition.