The TSA found 117 guns at Charlotte Douglas International Airport last year
Transportation Security Administration officers in North Carolina discovered 250 firearms in travelers' carry-on luggage in 2022, down slightly from the statewide total of 254 firearms found at security checkpoints in the state the previous year, officials said Wednesday.
While there has been a statewide decrease in firearms discovered, Charlotte Douglas International and Asheville Regional Airport both saw five-year highs in the number of firearms found at security checkpoints last year.
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Nationwide, the number of firearms found in carry-on luggage also hit a five-year in 2022. Firearm discoveries at security checkpoints have increased dramatically both across the U.S. and in North Carolina over the past five years.
In 2018, there were 180 firearms detected at North Carolina airport checkpoints and 4,239 nationwide.
In 2022, there were 250 firearms detected at North Carolina airport checkpoints and 6,542 nationwide.
One factor in last year's rise: 19.8 million travelers were screened at North Carolina airports, up 27% over the 2021 total, while passenger counts nationwide rose 30%. That doesn't account for the large increase over 2018 and 2019, however, both of which were pre-pandemic years.
The TSA said that a firearm was detected for every 116,394 passengers nationwide, while in North Carolina, one was discovered every 79,167 passengers.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the nation's busiest, had the most guns found in 2022, with 448 firearms discovered at checkpoints.