Travel Is Down, But Number of Weapons Confiscated at MIA Is Way Up

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The number of weapons being intercepted at Miami International Airport is up even though the number of people flying is not close to what it was before the coronavirus pandemic.

Whether it's a mistake or intentional it's landing those who show up armed at the checkpoints at MIA in hot water and the Transportation Security Administration is on alert to halt anyone from getting on board a plane with a weapon.

The rules have been clear for a long time of course: don’t show up at the checkpoint with a weapon.

The TSA said just a few days ago officers found a loaded Glock handgun one passenger was attempting to go through with at MIA. The male passenger was arrested.

On Wednesday, the TSA showed of images of that Glock and many other weapons TSA officers intercepted at South Florida airports over the last several months. Many times the weapons have been loaded with a bullet in the chamber.

"There’s a lot of stress going on in the world right now and there are more passengers coming to the airport with guns in their carry on bags," said Tima Lewis, the TSA's deputy director at MIA. "That is not a good thing."

This time last year at MIA 32 guns had been intercepted at checkpoints. This year that's up to 42, which is almost the total for all of 2019.

However, when you look at how many fewer passengers are flying out of MIA — the airport said passenger traffic is down almost 60% — the result is the percentage of passengers bringing guns has almost doubled.

In addition to being arrested, those who show up at the checkpoint with a gun can also face serious fines.

"My thoughts are the numbers are a lot of travellers are now traveling after not traveling for a long time and have forgotten the rules," Lewis said.

Lewis says the officers working the checkpoints are on their toes.

"The pandemic has not diminished our commitment or our capabilities. We have better X-ray machines out there, we are actually getting better,” he said.

When it comes to the airport in Fort Lauderdale, 58 weapons have been confiscated at the checkpoints this year. The percentage of passengers showing up there with weapons is up as well.

"The good thing is we are catching it and they’re not on an airplane," Lewis said.

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