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A TSA security screening at Orlando International Airport. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The TSA found an average of 85 firearms a week at airport security checkpoints in 2019, a record-setting 4,432 guns for the year, of which nearly 90% were loaded, the agency revealed on Wednesday.

The big picture: This uptick in airline passengers bringing loaded guns in carry-on bags, which violates TSA rules, is part of a growing trend. The agency has steadily found more firearms every year since 2009, when only 976 were discovered.

Details: The TSA found 5% more firearms last year than in 2018, the agency said. The airports with the highest number of passengers trying to take guns through security were Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Denver International Airport.

What they're saying: “The continued increase in the number of firearms that travelers bring to airport checkpoints is deeply troubling,” said TSA administrator David Pekoske in a statement.

  • “There is a proper way to travel safely with a firearm. First and foremost, it should be unloaded. Then it should be packed in a hard-sided locked case, taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared, and checked," Pekoske said.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
4 mins ago - Politics & Policy

America is anxious, angry and heavily armed

Data: FBI; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Firearms background checks in the U.S. hit a record high in 2020.

The big picture: This past year took our collective arsenal to new heights, with millions of Americans buying guns for the first time. That trend coincides with a moment of peak political and social tension.

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

America on borrowed time

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Economic recovery will not be linear as the world continues to grapple with the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Why it matters: Despite being propped up by an extraordinary amount of fiscal stimulus and support from central banks, the state of the global economy remains fragile.

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.