“Don’t take your guns to town” was the message of the 1959 Johnny Cash song.

Even for those who don’t know who Cash was or listen much to music, the lyrics might be due an update, going by the latest official US government data.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced in April that its officers intercepted 1,508 firearms at airport security checkpoints during the first quarter of 2023.

Around 90% of the average 17 firearms seized each day were loaded, the TSA said.The number was an increase of 10% on 2022, a reflection in part of increased passenger traffic over the period, the TSA explained, with 191 million screened in Q1 2023 and 158 million in 2022 quarter.

“Firearms at TSA security checkpoints present an unacceptable safety and security risk to other passengers and I am deeply concerned that the majority of these firearms our TSOs catch are loaded,” said TSA administrator David Pekoske

“If you carry a firearm to the checkpoint, our TSOs will see it and there will be significant penalties, to include federal penalties and additional screening, which may prolong the security screening process,” he warned.