(WASHINGTON) -- The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said it intercepts nearly 20 unauthorized guns per day at checkpoints nationwide, putting the agency on track to break its annual firearms record, the agency told ABC exclusively.
So far in 2023, TSA has found more than 5,000 firearms at airport security checkpoints -- where guns are not permitted. Last year, the agency prevented a record 6,542 firearms from getting onboard planes.
In just the third quarter of this year alone, TSA officers stopped more than 1,800 firearms in carry-on baggage -- 94% of which were loaded, according to the TSA.
If last year's record is broken, it would represent the third year of increased firearms found at airports. In 2021, TSA found 5,972 guns. That record was broken in 2022, when the agency found more than 6,500 firearms that weren't permitted on planes.
This comes as more passengers take to the skies. TSA says it's screening more than 2 million people per day at airports across the country.
"Passengers may travel with a firearm, but it must be in their checked baggage," said TSA Administrator David Peksoke. "Firearms are prohibited at security checkpoints, in the secure area of an airport or in the passenger cabin of an aircraft even if a passenger has a concealed carry permit or is in a constitutional carry jurisdiction."
Passengers caught attempting to bring firearms in their carry-on baggage can face arrest or citations from local law enforcement. Individuals can also face civil penalties from TSA up to almost $15,000 and risk losing their TSA PreCheck eligibility for five years.