A TSA press release states that as of Dec. 16, the agency has prevented 6,301 firearms from getting past security checkpoints this year, adding that over 88% of them were loaded.
In 2021, 5,972 firearms were detected at security checkpoints, according to the agency, which states that it will stop around 6,600 firearms in carry-on bags from getting past security checkpoints when 2022 ends.
TSA is also increasing the maximum civil penalty for a firearms violation to $14,950, which is determined on a case-by-case basis "based on the circumstances in each case."
"I applaud the work of our Transportation Security Officers who do an excellent job of preventing firearms from getting into the secure area of the airport, and onboard aircraft," said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. "Firearms are prohibited in carry-on bags at the checkpoint and onboard aircraft. When a passenger brings a firearm in their carry-on bag, this consumes significant security resources and poses a potential threat to transportation security, in addition to being very costly for the passenger."
Following the reduction in travel as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of firearms that have been stopped from passing through security checkpoints saw a sharp spike. In 2019, the number of firearms stopped was at 4,432.
In one instance on Sept. 29, a man was stopped at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport outside Washington, D.C. after attempting to carry a 9mm handgun loaded with 14 bullets through the security checkpoint.
Fox News' Leah Crawley contributed to this report.