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TSA finds record number of firearms in carry-on bags at Bozeman airport in 2023

Not only did Bozeman see an uptick, but TSA hit a record nationally as well for firearms found in carry-on bags.
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Posted at 5:42 PM, Jan 30, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-31 12:34:00-05

BOZEMAN — Last year, Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) discovered a record number of firearms in passengers' carry-on luggage. These TSA discoveries are not only breaking records statewide, but nationally as well.

"Both in the state of Montana and nationwide, TSA set a record for the number of firearms discovered in carry-on luggage," says TSA Spokesperson Lori Dankers.

Sixteen firearms were discovered in carry-on luggage at the Bozeman airport in 2023. That's up from 10 in 2022. Billings and Missoula are right behind Bozeman with 15 firearms in Billings and 11 in Missoula last year.

Statewide, 59 firearms were discovered last year, while 50 were discovered in 2022. Nationally, 6,737 firearms were discovered, making it the highest number yet.

“We set that record. We're not proud about that. That's not the type of record that you want to set,” says Dankers.

Dankers says these firearms were packed in carry-on bags and detected by X-ray machines and TSA officers. The owners of the firearms faced civil penalties up to almost $15,000.

"That's a really expensive and inconvenient mistake that can be avoided by packing your firearm properly," says Dankers. "If you want to travel with a firearm on a commercial aircraft, you can do so, but you need to follow the rules. Package it properly, and of course, place it in that checked baggage."

Dankers says TSA is doing everything it can to detect these weapons and ensure they never make it onto the cabin of a plane.

"They're looking for any type of security threat, and they're finding that," says Dankers.