At an annual rate, the US is on track to have 2,624 firearms found in carry-on bags at airport checkpoints, an 18.6 percent increase over the previous year. Fairly close to the 15 percent increase in the number of concealed handgun permits, and that this doesn’t count that there are three more states that no longer permits to carry concealed in their states. It would have been nice to have made this link explicit, but the careful reader will hopefully understand that point.
To get an idea of how small this number of firearms are, note that we are talking about 7 firearms found in carry-on bags per day while in 2013 there were about 8 million people who flew per day (it is higher now). That implies that there was a firearm found with fewer than one out of a million passengers, and none of these individuals was described as representing a danger to others.
From 2007 to 2015, the number of firearms in carry-on bags increased from 803 to about 2,624 — a 227% increase. Meanwhile the number of concealed handgun permits has increased from 4.6 yo 12.8 million — a 180% increase. But this increase ignores the fact that the number of states where you can carry a permitted concealed handgun any place in the state from three to eight. Again the change in firearms found in carry-on bags is very similar to the increase in concealed handgun permits.
The United States has a new record already on the books for 2015, one that should pique the interest of those concerned with air-travel security and the proliferation of Americans carrying concealed guns.
As of December 10, a total of 2,471 firearms had been found in carry-on bags at airport checkpoints, according to weekly data published by the Transportation Security Administration. That compares with 2,212 guns for all of 2014—which itself marked a 22 percent increase over 2013. There’s been a sharp jump in the decade since 2005, when the total number of guns found was 660. . . .
Of course, the rising numbers of guns found at checkpoints could in part show that the TSA is “getting better at finding guns,” says Ladd Everitt, a spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. Still, he said, the increases also indicate that “more people are bringing guns on trips because they think they need to have a gun with them 24/7.”
Overall, the numbers of concealed-handgun permits—allowing gun owners to carry a weapon in a backpack or briefcase, for example—are steadily increasing. “Over the past year, 1.7 million additional new permits have been issued—a 15 percent increase in just one single year,” the Crime Prevention Research Center, a group that supports right-to-carry measures and opposes tighter gun-control laws, said in a report released in July. “Five states now have more than 10 percent of their adult population with concealed handgun permits,” that report stated. . . .