A TSA checkpoint at an international airport terminal.
Michael Ball, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

US TSA records highest firearms interceptions at airports in 2022

LONDON – The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has recognized a year of accomplishments and progress in 2022, setting a new record in firearm interceptions by Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) at checkpoints.

The Administration says that it is making significant strides to improve transportation security and screening an average of more than two million passengers daily at airports across the country.

TSA provided airport screening at or near pre-pandemic travel volumes despite multiple instances of challenging weather conditions across the year.

Additionally, TSA officers stopped more than 6,500 firearms at airport checkpoints.

TSA Administrator statement

“I am incredibly proud of our dedicated TSA employees who perform the critical task of securing our nation’s transportation systems each day,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske.

“We had a very successful year that ended with the enactment of the FY 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill.”

“This included funding to bring TSA employee compensation to a level commensurate with other federal employees, in addition to funding to expand collective bargaining rights for our non-supervisory screening workforce.”

“For years, our employees have not been paid fairly, and securing pay parity was necessary from an operational standpoint as we continue to see increasing travel volumes, and will also help our ability to recruit and hire new employees and retain the talent we have.”

TSA Review of 2022 Highlights


During 2022, TSA reported the following highlights and accomplishments:

AIRPORT SECURITY OPERATIONS

20 years of federalized security: TSA recognized the 20th year of checkpoint federalization as more than 400 airports nationwide reached this milestone anniversary.

Technology improvements: TSA improved security effectiveness and reduced physical contact by deploying 534 Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) units and adding 243 Computed Tomography (CT) X-ray scanners at airport checkpoints.

The FY23 Omnibus Bill, which President Biden signed into law in December 2022, will enable technology deployments to continue across the agency’s nearly 2,400 security checkpoint lanes to raise the bar on identity verification and security efficiency.  

Officers stopped a record number of firearms: TSOs prevented more than 6,542 firearms from entering the secure areas of airports in 2022; 88% of the firearms were loaded.

TSA also announced several new measures to mitigate firearms threats including enhanced screening for passengers in possession of a firearm at a TSA checkpoint and loss of TSA PreCheck® eligibility for up to five years.

In December 2022, TSA also increased the maximum civil penalty for a firearms violation to nearly $15,000.

Federal Air Marshal Service 60th Anniversary: In March 2022, TSA recognized its Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS) for 60 years of protecting domestic and international flights and providing a visible security presence for surface transportation modes.

The FAMS was initially founded as part of the Federal Aviation Administration in 1962 in response to increased international airline hijacking incidents, and transitioned to TSA after its establishment following the 9/11 attacks.

Expanded canine teams: TSA trained and deployed more than 1,000 explosives detection canine teams at airports and mass-transit facilities.

These teams also support large-scale events such as Super Bowl LVI, the Kentucky Derby, Indy 500 and enhance security operations at airports and surface transportation systems nationwide.

Announced open architecture initiative: TSA partnered with Airports Council International (ACI) – Europe to begin piloting open architecture airport security technology.

Open architecture offers agility in technology development, adoption and updates, promoting competition and improving security and the traveler experience.

TSA Insider Threat: Executed a multimedia insider threat awareness campaign, increasing workforce knowledge of potential risk indicators of an insider threat and reporting streams.

The agency also continued advancement of TSA Insider Threat with the deployment of a case management system and threat data analytics.

Global incident management: TSA supported Operation Allies Welcome with the safe transport of over 90,000 people from Afghanistan to the U.S. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, TSA continued to lead cybersecurity efforts as a sector risk management agency for transportation.

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