The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) confiscated over 1,550 firearms at airports in 2012, setting a new record high. 1,295 of guns were loaded at the time they were taken.
The TSA collects weapons from travelers at airports, but is not in charge of administering punishments. David Castelveter, the TSA’s director of external communications, said, “We are not an arresting authority. We don’t have detention authority. If somebody comes through with a weapon the immediate procedure is to call the local authority. There are some states where they just tell you to take it back to the car; in others you’ll end up at Rikers.”
The TSA keeps track of confiscation tallies, but does not follow arrests or convictions resulting from weapons violations. “We just keep track of the confiscations, because the police don’t always keep us apprised of what happens. We don’t pay attention to the arrest unless it turns into an indictment and we have an agent give testimony in a trial,” Castelveter said.