NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Officials with the Transportation Security Administration say they are seeing more and more guns being found at Nashville’s International Airport. The spike is so stark that BNA saw more guns last year than all other Tennessee airports combined.
“We see revolvers, semi-automatic pistols,” said Stephen Wood, Federal Security Director for Tennessee.
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In 2021, 163 passengers packed a firearm in their carry-on luggage at BNA. That number has doubled since 2018.
“When you look at this in context nationwide, for every 100,000 passengers we saw a firearm last year nationwide,” said Wood. “Here in Tennessee, it was 1 per every 40,000. So, it’s about 2 and half times the rate of firearms we’re seeing in Tennessee which is a big concern for us.”
According to Wood, BNA saw more guns in carry-ons than all other Tennessee airports combined.
“Most of the time, almost universally, the passengers say ‘I forgot it was in the bag’,” said Wood. “Eighty plus percent of them are loaded when we see them. So, they have the magazines in them typically.”
Firearms are not allowed in carry-on luggage, even if you have a concealed weapons permit. Guns can only be carried on a commercial aircraft if they are unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case, and placed in checked baggage.
“Basically, you go to the airlines and you have to declare the firearm,” Wood explained. “They’ll give you one of these to fill out.”
According to TSA, the civil penalty can go up to a maximum of $13,900 per violation, even if a traveler has a concealed weapons permit.
In addition to civil penalties, individuals who violate rules regarding traveling with firearms will have Trusted Traveler status and TSA PreCheck® expedited screening benefits revoked for a period of time.