S.C. travelers break annual record for firearms found at TSA checkpoints

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 10:19 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2023 at 5:22 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - People traveling in and out of the Palmetto State by air attempted to carry on a record-breaking number of firearms through security in 2022, according to the latest annual report from the TSA.

TSA officers at South Carolina airports discovered a total of 79 firearms in travelers’ carry-on luggage in 2022, a new annual record for the state.

In addition, Charleston International, Greenville-Spartanburg International and Columbia Metropolitan Airports all posted record firearm detections last year. Each of the firearms was discovered by TSA officers during the routine screening of carry-on property at airport security checkpoints.

Below is a breakdown of TSA firearm discoveries for the past five years at South Carolina airports:

Airport (Airport code)20182019202020212022
Charleston International (CHS)918123032
Greenville-Spartanburg International (GSP)1523131721
Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE)81071115
Myrtle Beach International (MYR)91291310
Florence Regional (FLO)00011
Hilton Head Island (HXD)00000
South Carolina total:4163417279
National total:4,2394,4323,2575,9726,542

In 2022, TSA screened approximately 761 million passengers and crew at airports nationwide, a nearly 30% increase over the approximately 585 million screened in 2021.

Statewide in 2022, TSA screened approximately 6.54 million departing travelers at the six commercial South Carolina airports, a 17.6% increase over the total number screened in 2021.

Nationwide, a firearm was detected for every 116,394 passengers screened. In South Carolina, the rate was even higher, with one firearm discovered for every 82,819 passengers screened.

Firearms can be transported on a commercial aircraft only if they are unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case and placed in checked baggage. Any type of replica firearm is prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be transported in checked luggage.

At the airport during the check-in process, a passenger needs to go to the airline ticket counter to declare the firearm, ammunition and any firearm parts.

Prior to traveling, passengers are encouraged to check gun laws and regulations at their destination to ensure they are in compliance with local and state laws. TSA also recommends travelers check with their airline prior to their flight to ensure they comply with any airline-specific requirements.

TSA has additional traveler information specifically related to the transportation of firearms and ammunition.

A full summary of TSA’s civil penalties for prohibited items is also available by clicking here.