‘Flight rage’ on airlines runs rampant

Loaded guns and infuriated, unreasonable passengers are a bad mix

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Editorials

November 4, 2021 - 10:02 AM

A Boeing 737 MAX-7 lands at Boeing Field in Seattle. (Mike Siegel/Seattle Times/TNS)

Federal aviation officials say more airline passengers than ever are showing up at airports with guns. Combined with the general uptick in belligerent behavior by passengers, this is an issue with the potential for real mayhem. Those who get weapons confiscated at security already face penalties, but it’s time to talk about making them steeper.

Transportation Security Administration officers stopped 4,495 passengers trying to carry guns through security at 248 airports around the country during the first nine months of this year, the TSA reported recently. That’s the highest number in at least 20 years. More than 80% of the guns were loaded.

Fewer than 5,000 confiscations over nine months may not sound like a lot, given that millions of Americans fly every week, but in context, the number is concerning. It represents an average of 11 firearms discovered per 1 million passengers, a rate that’s more than twice that of 2019, the next-highest year of overall firearms confiscation.

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