NANASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nashville has made another list that has grabbed the attention of airport security. Firearms have now set the city apart from some of the biggest airports in the country.
Travel through the Nashville International Airport has now surpassed pre-pandemic levels, but as foot traffic increases, so does the number of firearms.
“We’re seeing 10% growth since pre-pandemic levels, and I think it contributes to some of the issues that we’re seeing today with firearms at our checkpoints,” said Stephen Wood, Federal Security Director with the TSA.
The numbers are staggering. Inside BNA, TSA officials keep a book, showing pictures of each gun stopped at a security checkpoint. Nashville is on track for another record-breaking year.
So far this year, 136 guns have been stopped. That’s compared to the 104 this time last year.
“You don’t have to have a permit to carry a weapon/firearm anymore, so we see an uptick,” said Wood, pointing to one of the reasons the airport may be seeing an increase.
The busiest day in September, so far, happened on September 12 when TSA officials found three firearms in carry-on luggage. The penalties for trying to bring a gun through security include the possibility of arrest and up to a $13,000 fine.
“We need these lanes operating, so when a firearm comes through that lane, we have to stop it in order to call law enforcement over, and it slows down the whole process,” explained Wood.
Airports with the most firearms found:
“On the average, we’re seeing three times the amount at other airports per passenger, so very high rates of firearms that we see here unfortunately in Nashville,” Wood said.
| READ MORE | Latest headlines from Nashville and Davidson County
While it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact reason why people continue to try and bring firearms through carry-on security, TSA officials say more people are traveling for leisure, meaning some people may be first-time flyers and not know how to properly pack their guns.
TSA demonstrated how to lock your gun, after removing the ammunition, in a hard shell case and checking it directly with the airline you are using for the day.
“Pack smart. If you’re going to forget what’s in your bag then start with an empty bag, then you won’t put the firearm in the bag,” said Wood.
Also, check the law wherever you’re going, because some countries prohibit firearms from being brought into their country.