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15 guns found at Sky Harbor security checkpoints so far in 2023

Three weeks into the new year, travelers have packed guns, knives, and other questionable items in their carry-on baggage at Sky Harbor Airport.

PHOENIX — Sky Harbor Airport was fifth in the nation for the most guns found at TSA security checkpoints in 2022.

Fifteen guns have already been found during the first three weeks of 2023.

“TSA doesn’t want to keep you from traveling with your gun. We just want you to make sure you follow the regulations. So that you have a better experience at the airport and keep everyone safe,” said Patricia Macha, a spokesperson for TSA.

Visit the TSA website for rules and regulations for traveling with guns and other items that could be considered weapons.

“You cannot bring a gun in your carry-on...Gun components, bullets, or any type of item that is related to guns in your carry-on luggage. However, you can pack them in your checked luggage. Just follow the simple rules,” Macha said.

Credit: Rich Prange

>> VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL: 15 armas detectadas en puntos de revisión en aeropurto de Phoenix en lo que va del 2023

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What is the Valley?

“The Valley” is what locals call the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. It is considered the largest metropolitan area in the Southwest. 

The Valley is made up of various major cities other than Phoenix, including:

  • Mesa
  • Chandler
  • Scottsdale
  • Tempe
  • Glendale
  • Surprise
  • Peoria
  • Gilbert
  • El Mirage
  • Avondale
  • Litchfield Park
  • Goodyear
  • Buckeye

Whether a city is in the “East Valley” or “West Valley” depends on where it is in relation to Phoenix.

The cities of the Valley have a combined population of 4,845,832 people, according to the 2020 United States Census. This makes it the 11th largest metropolitan area in the country right behind the Boston and Atlanta areas.

How big is Maricopa County?

Maricopa County is the United States’ 4th largest county in terms of population with 4,485,414 people, according to the 2020 Census.

The county contains around 63% of Arizona’s population and is 9,224 square miles. That makes the county larger than seven U.S. states (Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, Massachusetts and New Hampshire).

One of the largest park systems in the nation is also located in Maricopa County. The county has an estimated 120,000 acres of open space parks that includes hundreds of miles of trails, nature centers and campgrounds.

The county’s seat is located in Phoenix, which is also the state capital and the census-designated 5th most populous city in the United States.

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