At Security Executives we naturally believe in security. That includes both our personal security and the security of the modes of transportation that we use. All 50 states now allow people to carry concealed firearms; 45 states require a permit to do so and 5 do not even require a permit. A 2014 report from the Crime Prevention Research Center found that over 11 million concealed handgun permits had been issued, and this number is undoubtedly lower than the real figure due to the lack of records available from some states. Florida is the state that issued the most permits: 1,278,246 as of December 2013. The point of this isn’t to debate concealed carry laws, it’s just to point out that at least 5% of the U.S. population has a permit to carry concealed firearms.
Even if you are legally allowed to carry a concealed firearm how can anybody in this post 9–11 world not know that attempting to take a firearm on an airplane is illegal? And yet Americans keep trying to do exactly that. 2015 set a record for the number of firearms found in peoples’ carry-on luggage: 2653 guns. The previous record was in 2014 at 2212 guns. In fact, if you look at the last 10 years of data the number of guns caught at airport security checkpoints has increased every year except 2006/2007. To be fair, the Transportation Security Agency does not track whether or not those guns were carried by people with legal permits.
2653 is a tiny fraction of the number of people who travel through airports every day, but it is still way too many. Why do so many people attempt to take firearms on airplanes? It does not seem likely that they forgot that they had a gun in their bag. When you check in at the airport ticket desk they ask if you are carrying a firearm or explosive device; that should help jog peoples’ memories. Do they think that they are somehow increasing their personal safety? Federal Air Marshals go through an extremely rigorous firearm training program so that they can act with the least risk to airline passengers in case a deadly force situation arises on a flight. What are the odds that John Q public is such a dead-on accurate shot that they can deploy their firearm on today’s perpetually crowded flights with no risk to the other passengers or the plane itself? Could it be a matter of culture? Five of the top 10 airports where firearms were found are in Texas.
Security Executives doesn’t have the answer, but we do have a suggestion: The next time you fly, leave your gun at home, or follow the TSA guidelines on transporting firearms:
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