Less Air Travel, But Higher Rate of Guns Found by TSA

Sometimes, you have to dig deeper into the numbers.

The coronavirus is wreaking havoc on air travel, which is down more than 90 percent because of lesser demand. As a result, the number of guns being found in bags by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has dropped.

Seems logical, right? Less travelers, less guns.

But that’s just the total number of weapons.

In actuality, the ratio at which weapons are being found per the number of travelers is alarmingly high, according to an insightful story from David Koenig of the Associated Press.

The TSA said it found 58 guns at security checkpoints at airports across the country during the period from March 22 to April 22. That’s down dramatically from the 346 weapons it confiscated during the same month-long period last year. But accounting for the drop in the number of travelers, that means screeners found one gun for every 80,000 passengers this year as opposed to one gun for every 216,000 people last year during that time frame—almost triple the rate.

The TSA declined to comment on the disparity between last year and this year, but Koenig talked with aviation experts who offered several theories, including:

—With fewer travelers, TSA personnel have time to be more thorough when checking bags and offer more scrutiny.

—A spike in gun sales due to the fears the virus has caused regarding home robberies of food and other supplies.

—People still traveling during the pandemic might be more prone to carrying a gun for safety, as opposed to family and leisure travelers which have all but disappeared during this time.

One trend Koenig noted that has held constant from year to year is TSA screeners are finding that most of the guns are loaded—263 out of 317 confiscated between Feb. 24 and April 22.

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