SOUTH CAROLINA, S.C. (WSPA) – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at South Carolina airports saw a spike in firearms in 2021.
TSA officials said they found a total of 72 firearms in travelers carry-on luggage, a new annual record for the state.
Each of the firearms were discovered by TSA officers during the routine screening of carry-on property at airport security checkpoints.
Below is a break down on TSA firearm discoveries for the past four years at South Carolina airports:
|Airport (Airport Code)||2018||2019||2020||2021|
|Charleston International (CHS)||9||18||12||30|
|Myrtle Beach International (MYR)||9||12||9||13|
|Greenville-Spartanburg International (GSP)||15||23||13||17|
|Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE)||8||10||7||11|
|Hilton Head Island (HXD)||0||0||0||0|
|Florence Regional (FLO)||0||0||0||1|
|South Carolina total:||41||63||41||72|
In 2021, TSA screened approximately 585 million passengers and crew at airports nationwide. That figure represents an 81 percent increase over the approximately 324 million screened in 2020.
Statewide in 2021, TSA screened approximately 5.56 million departing travelers at the six commercial South Carolina airports, a 114 percent increase over the total number screened in 2020.
In South Carolina, Charleston International Airport saw the largest of firearms from 12 in 2020 to 30 in 2021.
Over a four year time span, Hilton Head Island Airport confiscated zero firearms.
In addition to potential criminal citations, travelers face civil penalties for bringing firearms to the security checkpoint and TSA evaluates each firearm incident on a case-by-case basis. Among the factors TSA considers when determining the civil penalty amount includes whether the firearm was loaded and whether there was accessible ammunition.
The civil penalty can go up to a maximum of $13,900 per violation. Even if a traveler has a concealed weapons permit, firearms are not permitted in carry-on luggage.
In addition to civil penalties, individuals who violate rules regarding traveling with firearms will have Trusted Traveler status and TSA PreCheck® expedited screening benefits revoked for a period of time.