PHOENIX — The Valley's largest airport was ranked fourth in the number of guns it caught in 2020, according to a new report.
The Transportation Security Administration said that Sky Harbor International Airport caught 124 guns in 2020, the fourth most of any U.S. airport. It caught 132 in 2019.
Sky Harbor was only bested by Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, which took the top three spots.
“I commend our officers for their commitment to TSA’s security mission by identifying and stopping these weapons at the TSA checkpoints. Firearms are strictly prohibited onboard planes in the passenger cabin,” Darby LaJoye, who is acting TSA Administrator, said in a statement. “Bringing a firearm to a TSA security checkpoint poses a serious risk to TSA officer and passenger safety, and doing so may result in significant fines or arrest.”
Airports in Denver, Nashville, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City rounded out the top 10 on the list.
The TSA said it detected double the number of firearms in 2020 than it did in 2019, despite air travel slowing amid the coronavirus pandemic. Just under 9 million people traveled through Sky Harbor last year, compared to over 17 million the year before, according to data provided to Patch by the TSA.
The TSA discovered approximately 3,257 firearms on passengers or in their carry-on bags in 2020; 83 percent of those guns were loaded. The rate of firearm discoveries over the course of the year was the equivalent of 10 firearms per million passengers screened, compared to five firearms per million passengers in 2019.
A spokesperson for Sky Harbor did not respond to Patch's request for comment.
Airline passengers can fly with firearms in checked baggage if the firearms are properly packed and declared at check-in, the TSA said.