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Montana airports find record number of firearms in carry-on luggage in 2023

Guns at Checkpoints
Posted at 6:08 PM, Jan 30, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-31 16:50:20-05

BOZEMAN — Airports in Montana reported a record 59 total firearms found in carry-on luggage in 2023, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

A TSA press release says Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport tops the list, with 16 firearms found among travelers' carry-on luggage last year. The remaining Montana airports and their totals for discovered firearms in 2023 are:

  • Billings-Logan International Airport (BIL), 15
  • Missoula Montana Airport (MSO), 11
  • Glacier Park International Airport (GPI), 7
  • Great Falls International Airport (GTF), 6
  • Helena Regional Airport (HLN), 2
  • Havre City-County Airport (HVR), 1
  • Sidney-Richland Airport (SDY), 1

Nationally, TSA reported another record with 6,737 firearms found at 265 airports across the U.S. in 2023.
“The record number of firearms discovered last year by TSA in carry-on luggage, both in Montana and nationally, is sobering. These are not the types of records that we want to break, so please pay attention to where your firearm is at all times and be sure to pack it properly when traveling on a commercial aircraft,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Montana Kc Wurtsbaugh.

The five U.S. airports with the most TSA firearm discoveries in 2023 are as follows: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport with 451; Dallas Fort Worth International Airport with 378; Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport with 311; Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport with 235; and Nashville International Airport with 188.

According to TSA, firearms can be transported on 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 also prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be transported in checked luggage.

TSA says travelers who bring a firearm in carry-on luggage open themselves up to potential criminal citations, and TSA can impose civil penalties, as well. Firearms are not allowed in carry-on luggage, even if a traveler has a concealed weapons permit.