A record 72 guns were discovered at S.C. airports in 2021, with a state-high 30 found at Charleston International Airport.
Transportation Security Administration officers discovered the firearms during routine screenings of carry-on property, according to a news release from TSA.
Seventeen guns were discovered at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport last year, while 13 were found at Myrtle Beach International. Eleven guns were found at Columbia Metropolitan Airport, one at Florence Regional and none at Hilton Head Island.
Nationally, 5,971 guns were seized in 2021, up from 3,257 in 2020. TSA screened approximately 585 million passengers and crew nationwide, detecting a firearm for every 97,999 passengers screened. In South Carolina, where approximately 5.56 departing travelers were screened, a gun was discovered for every 77,135 passengers screened.
Last year, 41 firearms were found at S.C. airports, including 13 at GSA, 12 at Charleston International, nine at Myrtle Beach International and seven at CAE.
In addition to potential criminal citations, passengers face civil penalties of up to $13,900 per violation. When determining civil penalties, TSA considers factors such as whether the firearm was loaded and if ammunition was accessible.
Even if a traveler has a concealed weapons permit, firearms are not permitted in carry-on luggage. Passengers must declare a firearm, ammunition and any firearms parts at the ticket counter, and they are encouraged to check gun laws and regulations at their destination.
Firearms can be transported on a commercial aircraft only if they are unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case and placed in checked baggage.
In 2019, 4,432 guns were found at airports nationwide, while 4,239 were found in 4,239 in 2018. In South Carolina, 63 guns were found in 2019 and 41 in 2018.