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Travelers arrive for flights at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on Dec. 16. Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption

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Scott Olson/Getty Images

Travelers arrive for flights at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on Dec. 16.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

With two weeks left in the year, the Transportation Security Administration already broke a yearly record for most firearms intercepted at security checkpoints.

The milestone comes during a period of heightened holiday travel expected to reach pre-pandemic levels.

The number of firearms found in carry-on bags went down in 2020 during the pandemic, but far surpassed preceding years in 2021 and 2022.

Firearms are never allowed in carry-on bags, regardless of state gun laws.

More than 4,000 flights were delayed as holiday travel spikes in the U.S.

TSA officers stopped 6,301 firearms — most of which were loaded — and expect to find some 300 more before the year is over, according to a press release on Friday. This number already beats the all-time record, set just the previous year, of 5,972 detected firearms.

The TSA also increased the maximum fine for the violation to $14,950, it said. The agency collected more than $52 million in fines over the past three years, one TSA official told Forbes.

Anyone found traveling with a firearm in their carry-on could also lose their TSA PreCheck eligibility, need to go through more screenings going forward, or be arrested, depending on the state.

“When a passenger brings a firearm to the checkpoint, this consumes significant security resources and poses a potential threat to transportation security, in addition to being very costly for the passenger,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in the press release.

 

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