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  • Writer's pictureThe Hammonton Gazette

Why the increase in firearms in carry-on bags at airports?

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Last week I read an article in the Wall Street Journal headlined with “TSA Finds Record Number of Firearms in Carry-On Bags.”

And I thought, who is so stupid to bring a gun on a plane? Turns out a lot more than I realized. Did everyone forget the events of September 11, 2001? People just want to protect themselves and don’t trust the government to do it.

Why would any sane person place a loaded gun in their carry-on bag?

Toothbrush, check. Phone charger, check. Extra pair of socks, check. Glock, check. Hairbrush, check.

I am a strong proponent of the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. But I am still leery of how a giant tin can fly that I am not willing to bring an instrument that could poke holes into that tin can onto the body of the plane.

According to the article, “TSA officers identified 6,542 firearms in carry-on bags during security checks at 262 airports, the highest number of violations since the federal agency was founded in 2001. The agency said 88% of the guns were considered loaded.”

Look I know the world is more unpredictable than ever before. People are crazier, or so it seems.

It often feels that there is a full moon each week based on some of the phone calls we receive. And heaven forbid you don’t give in to every bizarre request and demand someone makes of you. Turns out “no” is not an accepted no matter how nicely you tell someone “no.”

But who doesn’t know you can’t bring a weapon onto a plane? You can’t bring a sewing scissor a knife and certainly not a gun. I left a scissor in my packed manicure kit one time. 

That was my fault and my scissor was taken away when I went through the scanner.

A gun feels more intentional. A gun is meant to protect and harm. My manicure scissor is for hangnails and is not protection or a weapon to cause harm.

“The agency has found upward of 4,000 firearms in carry-on bags each year since 2018—except for 2020, when that count fell to 3,257, according to data from the TSA. The agency’s previous record was set in 2021, when officers discovered 5,972 firearms. The 2022 figures mark about a 10% increase from 2021,” the article stated.

The bigger question is why is there such a dramatic uptick?

Are people more concerned about dangers on planes? Or a danger for where they are going?

Or are more people bringing their weapons wherever they go?

I feel like there is something I am missing.

The article didn’t really delve into the reason why people brought their guns on planes.

It was a straight, matter-of-fact piece.

To be fair, this column is not answering the question either.

Let’s hope the 2023 numbers are lower.

Gina Rullo is the editor-in-chief of The Hammonton Gazette. In 2022, she was named an “Editor Extraordinaire” by Editor & Publisher Magazine and in 2021 won two awards for investigative journalism.


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