Chattanooga Airport sees firearms seized go way up in 2021

All of Tennessee's major airports post surging numbers

Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / TSA officer Cody Harmon checks Soy Lacey in before she leaves for Florida at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport on Sunday, December 19, 2021.

Chattanooga Airport is seeing double the number of guns seized this year over 2020 from passengers going through the security checkpoint, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

The data shows that all of Tennessee's major airports are seeing a surge in guns confiscated this year, with a TSA spokesman citing a new state law that went into effect this summer that allows the so-called "constitutional carry" of handguns.

Under the law that started July 1, people who are 21 and older can carry a firearm openly or concealed with no training or permit required if they have no existing convictions barring them from owning a gun.

Mark J. Howell, TSA's regional spokesperson, said the spike in handguns discovered at airport checkpoints in the state started when the law went into effect.

"The number went up when the gun law changed," he said.