Record Numbers of Travelers Try to Fly With Loaded Guns: Kiplinger Economic Forecasts

Even more travelers could try to board planes with loaded firearms this year, after last year's historic high.

X-ray image of case containing hand gun
(Image credit: Getty)

Airport security regulations are meant to keep all travelers safe. When it comes to firearms, the TSA has very specific rules to follow. To help you understand what is going on and what we expect to happen in the future, our highly-experienced Kiplinger Letter team will keep you abreast of the latest developments and forecasts (Get a free issue of The Kiplinger Letter or subscribe). You'll get all the latest news first by subscribing, but we will publish many (but not all) of the forecasts a few days afterward online. Here’s the latest...

A record number of travelers will try to board planes with loaded firearms if the number of incidents continues at the same pace as in the first half of the year, when the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) intercepted 3,251 firearms (92% of which were loaded) at security checkpoints, versus 3,053 in the first half of 2022. 

The current all-time high — 6,542 annual firearms interceptions — was set last year. Some pointers for passengers who wish to travel with their guns: Ensure they’re properly packed in checked baggage, as well as declared at the airline ticket counter. Some airlines may impose additional requirements.

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"You may transport unloaded firearms in a locked hard-sided container, as checked baggage only," according to the TSA website. Additionally, ammunition is only allowed in checked baggage, and it is prohibited from being transferred in carry-on luggage. If you're traveling internationally, consult the U.S. Customs and Border Protection firearm regulations.

Keep your ammunition out of your weapon — and in your checked bag.

Folks caught with an undeclared firearm could face steep penalties of up to $14,950, travel restrictions and even arrest, depending on local law.

This forecast first appeared in The Kiplinger Letter, which has been running since 1923 and is a collection of concise weekly forecasts on business and economic trends, as well as what to expect from Washington, to help you understand what’s coming up to make the most of your investments and your money. Subscribe to The Kiplinger Letter.

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Sean Lengell
Associate Editor, The Kiplinger Letter

Sean Lengell covers Congress and government policy for The Kiplinger Letter. Before joining Kiplinger in January 2017 he served as a congressional reporter for eight years with the Washington Examiner and the Washington Times. He previously covered local news for the Tampa (Fla.) Tribune. A native of northern Illinois who spent much of his youth in St. Petersburg, Fla., he holds a bachelor's degree in English from Marquette University.