Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Guns are No Fun at the Checkpoint

Pistol

From time to time, things show up at airports that cause us to scratch our heads, especially almost nine years after 9/11.

On average, our officers find about two guns a day at checkpoints. Yesterday must not have been an average day, because 10 guns were found in various checkpoints around the country, well above the norm.
When one of our officers tells a passenger that they’ve found a firearm in their bag, the most common response is that the person had no idea it was in there. One man even threw his wife under the bus and claimed she must have left it in there when she was packing his bag.

So we thought we’d take the opportunity to remind anyone who owns a gun that might be traveling soon to double check your carry-on bag just to make sure it’s not in there before you leave.

And in case you’re wondering, the “I didn’t know it was in the bag” excuse works just about as well at the checkpoint as “The dog ate my homework” worked with your high school teacher.

Whether or not the gun was put in the bag intentionally, TSOs are required to contact law enforcement immediately. In addition to potentially missing their flight, passengers could have their gun confiscated and/or face criminal charges. A fine from TSA is also possible.

For more information on transporting firearms on planes, this web page can help you out.

Lynn
TSA Blog Team

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't bring fireworks.
Don't bring things that look like gun or bombs.
Don't bring guns.
Don't bring air bags.
Don't tug on Superman's cape.
Don't spit into the wind.
Drink upstream from the herd.

There seems to be a new blog member.
Captain Obvious. :)

Anonymous said...

Lynn, how many of those 10 people were arrested or charged with crimes?

How many people, since TSA's inception, have been arrested, charged with a crime, and convicted after coming to a checkpoint with a gun in their bags?

Gunner said...

Lynn said:
"A fine from TSA is also possible."

Do your administrative search rights allow you to levy fines as well?

What checks and balances are in place?

Can Joe or Sally blue-shirt fine you, or is there some sort of due process?

Is this a case of TSA just blowing more smoke in its ongoing effort to shows its importance?

How does one appeal a TSA fine?

Anonymous said...

Why are you wasting time and resources posting pointless and obvious stories like this one?

Mr Pistole wanted to start a "conversation" - How about answering some of the questions posted in there?

RB said...

What fine did TSA employee Alvin Crabtree get for bringing a gun to work?

Anonymous said...

Does Alvin Crabtree still work at TSA? Seems to me that he brought a weapon to work at DIA and nothing was done to him.

Dan said...

What is the most effective way of putting all of you out work?

What is the most effective way of putting all of you behind bars where you so obviously belong?

Anonymous said...

Two words:

Alvin Crabtree

Anonymous said...

Ok, we get it-- guns and items that look like grenades shouldn't be brought abroad airplanes. Moat people know that. Those who don't probably are not checking this blog. Now please kindly answer the numerous reasonable requests that have gone unanswered for weeks, months, or even years.

LTSO with Answers said...

Lynn, how many of those 10 people were arrested or charged with crimes?

How many people, since TSA's inception, have been arrested, charged with a crime, and convicted after coming to a checkpoint with a gun in their bags?


Charges are left up to the LEO that is responding to a call from TSA. It is up to the LEO if he feels you deserve a citation or any other action such as arrest.

LTSO with Answers said...

@ Gunner

Lynn said:
"A fine from TSA is also possible."

Do your administrative search rights allow you to levy fines as well?


US Customs has been doing this for years. And CBP will fine you just for not declaring an item in your bag if they find it and asked you. This is nothing new.

Can Joe or Sally blue-shirt fine you, or is there some sort of due process?

TSA officers in the field are unable to issue fines. Incidents will be sent in report form to regulatory where a TSI will look into the incidet and initiate an EIR (Enforcement Investigative Report) if it is neccessary.

Chris Boyce said...

I guess Alvin must be back from vacation.

Anonymous said...

Ooh the good ole, deflecting heat.


So you all opened the door. So then why wasnt Alvin Crabtree arrested and fined for willfully carrying a firearm through the checkpoint, and Alvin is a TSA employee at DEN. So whats the deal with this, why is joe blow arrested, charged and fined, but TSA employees arent held to the same standard?

Alvin also still has a job with TSA as has been reported on a few internet forums. How is this, I know in my field if i messed up that bad i would be fired with prejudice and would have a very hard time getting hired again for such a grievous violation.

its interesting the verification word is ca0ca

Anonymous said...

Gunner: There are no checks and balances for the fines. The TSA will impose them at will. The entire process is undocumented and propose-built to be intimidating. They will send you a letter with some trumped up charges and then offer to "settle", meaning they extort half of the amount to forget about it.
This fine process is not a civil or criminal matter, it is purely unconstitutional punishment without due process.

Jack Doyle said...

At least you finally realize you aren't law enforcement.

Anonymous said...

did any of the guns found belong to LEO's?

Thank you for only using one shameful 9/11 reference.

Mike said...

Can we get a second opinion on this issue from Alvin Crabtree?

Anonymous said...

Lynn was asked "how many of those 10 people were arrested or charged with crimes?"

LTSO with Answers said...
"Charges are left up to the LEO".

Right. Sure. Ok.

So...

"how many of those 10 people were arrested or charged with crimes?"

Seems a fair question.

Anonymous said...

"Charges are left up to the LEO that is responding to a call from TSA. It is up to the LEO if he feels you deserve a citation or any other action such as arrest."

That's nice. Now, how many of the 10 people referred to in Lynn's post were arrested or charged with crimes?

How many people, since TSA's inception, have been arrested, charged with a crime, and convicted after coming to a checkpoint with a gun in their bags?

These are not difficult questions.

RB said...

LTSO with Answers said...
Lynn, how many of those 10 people were arrested or charged with crimes?

How many people, since TSA's inception, have been arrested, charged with a crime, and convicted after coming to a checkpoint with a gun in their bags?

Charges are left up to the LEO that is responding to a call from TSA. It is up to the LEO if he feels you deserve a citation or any other action such as arrest.

August 4, 2010 8:04 PM
..............
But Bob said TSA can assess a fine. Why are charges left up to local LEO's but TSA is handing out fines? Isn't that double jeapordy?


I quote: " In addition to potentially missing their flight, passengers could have their gun confiscated and/or face criminal charges. A fine from TSA is also possible."

Anonymous said...

In b4 Alvin Crabtree jokes!

:)

ooops

Never mind.

Can I be in b4 David Huckabee?

Shaun Rogers? At least he didn't throw a bomb in the airport.

The unidentified federal flight deck officer who got all cowboy and put the hole in the cockpit in Charlotte?

Roshid Milledge and Damien Young?
They showed how porous the security perimeter is.

Amber Robillard?
She had no trouble getting a gun through the gaping holes in security.

Hmmm. You know something, its not really all that funny.

:(

Anonymous said...

Lynn, on the subject of guns, why does the TSA continue to make TSOs and airport employees exempt from screening? The one major hijacking incident in this country in recent memory (Pacific Southwest Flight 1771) was an airline employee. All it takes is one rogue TSO to slip through and hand the gun off to someone, and a similar tragedy could occur again.

Ayn R. Key said...

How many of those guns are in the bags of TSOs or LEOs, and instead of doing anything about them obviously breaking the law you let them go home?

Anonymous said...

Dan said...
What is the most effective way of putting all of you out work?

What is the most effective way of putting all of you behind bars where you so obviously belong?

August 4, 2010 7:17 PM
////

Really? What sort of person says this? Have you met every TSO (and LTSO, STSO, Operations support staff, etc) personally and found every single one of us to be in violation of laws? We're really all bad people who arn't doing this either because we need or job or genuinely enjoy doing what we can to help?

Keep up your good work throwing a hissy fit over every small thing that happens to you in your day.

derp derp

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "There seems to be a new blog member.
Captain Obvious. :)"

Yes, Captain Obvious has been with us for quite some time, but sadly his message does not always get across to all members of the traveling public. ;)

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Ayn sez - "How many of those guns are in the bags of TSOs or LEOs, and instead of doing anything about them obviously breaking the law you let them go home?
"

Once a firearm is discovered in a carry on bag, LEO is notified. Once LEO is notified, it is entirely an LEO decision as to whether the individual is arrested, charged and released, or simply let go.

West
TSA Blog Team

Ayn R. Key said...

West, was an LEO notified in the rather famous case of a TSO leaving a gun in his bag? IIRC that TSO was allowed to leave without an LEO being called, and was allowed to take his gun home, and kept his job.

It's all professional courtesy, after all, right?

So stop telling me you always call law enforcement if certain elite people forget that they have a gun in their bag. That policy only applies to the peons you look down upon.

GSOLTSO said...

Ayn sez - "West, was an LEO notified in the rather famous case of a TSO leaving a gun in his bag? IIRC that TSO was allowed to leave without an LEO being called, and was allowed to take his gun home, and kept his job.

It's all professional courtesy, after all, right?

So stop telling me you always call law enforcement if certain elite people forget that they have a gun in their bag. That policy only applies to the peons you look down upon."

I am reasonably certain that an LEO was contacted in "that" case, because most of the literature I read on it indicated there were reports by TSA and the LEOs there. As for being arrested or charged or anything of that nature, I do not know, I was not there.

I do not know of what type of followup was done with him or anything in the way of punitive actions (other than a 30 day suspension based on news articles, and I can't say that those are correct because I have not seen the records).

I can tell you that every time a firearm (loaded or unloaded) has been discovered at our checkpoints, we contact LEO per SOP. Every time in the future that a firearm is found in our checkpoints, we will notify LEO. No exceptions or excuses.

If I (god forbid) were to bring a firearm through when I was entering and have it found, I would be speaking to LEO - period. As well as doing a pretty fancy tap dance before my bosses explaining just why I would have a gun in the checkpoint. What the LEO does after being notified is on the LEO (most that I know would write me up just like anyone else).


West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

"Once a firearm is discovered in a carry on bag, LEO is notified. Once LEO is notified, it is entirely an LEO decision as to whether the individual is arrested, charged and released, or simply let go."

That's nice. Now, how many of those guns are in the bags of TSOs or LEOs?

And why are you apparently congenitally incapable of dealing with questions that ask for numbers (as when you falsely claimed Canada and the UK have a full-blown shoe carnival, TSA-bedwetter style)?

TSO Tom said...

Anonymous said...
Why are you wasting time and resources posting pointless and obvious stories like this one?
***********************************
Anonymous, I'm glad you find it obvious that firearms should not be brought to the checkpoint. As to why it's being posted.....some people are oblivious to the obvious, that's why. And as Lynn said, the excuse is always, "Oh, I forgot it was in there", "Oh crap! How'd that get in there?!" or the worst of all, "That's not my gun!" Also,keep in mind that replica weapons, including replica bullets are NOT permitted and are also a call to LEO, which at worst could result in a hefty fine and maybe criminal charges, at least, you miss your flight and get reamed out by the cop who responds to the call. Like a recent incident at my airport....oh yeah, that would include belts that have "fake" bullets around them too. Just because it was bought at HOT TOPIC doesn't mean you can bring it on the plane.

Anonymous said...

"I can tell you that every time a firearm (loaded or unloaded) has been discovered at our checkpoints, we contact LEO per SOP. Every time in the future that a firearm is found in our checkpoints, we will notify LEO. No exceptions or excuses."

How many times has TSA found firearms at a checkpoint?

How many of the people with those firearms were arrested?

How many of those arrested were charged with crimes?

How many of those charged were convicted?

HappyToHelp said...

RB said…
“But Bob said TSA can assess a fine. Why are charges left up to local LEO's but TSA is handing out fines? Isn't that double jeapordy?”

There is a separation of concerns RB. Local LEO’s handle criminal, but TSA handles civil. Here is TSA’s civil aviation security guidance (ENFORCEMENT SANCTION GUIDANCE POLICY). This document should answer the rest of the questions in your post as well.

Tim
TSA Blog Team

HappyToHelp said...

West said...
“As well as doing a pretty fancy tap dance before my bosses explaining just why I would have a gun in the checkpoint.”

If I ever have a connecting flight at your airport, I will be requesting a pretty fancy tap dance. I would die laughing if you started getting requests from our blog commenter’s at your airport. :)

What West is saying is accurate with my experience working the checkpoint, and is in line with the Standard Operating Procedures. I have never seen or heard of a gun found via administrative search not being referred to a LEO at my airport. The last one I witnessed involved a loaded starter pistol from a repeat offender (second time at our airport). Gun found via x-ray machine. Local LEO’s performed the bag check.

Tim
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

"Do your administrative search rights allow you to levy fines as well?"

"US Customs has been doing this for years. And CBP will fine you just for not declaring an item in your bag if they find it and asked you. This is nothing new."

Let us be clear here. This argument is apples and oranges. TSA is simply not Customs and Border Protection (CBP). TSA is uniformed, but not armed, sworn law enforcement officers with authority to seize or arrest. Customs and Border Protection Officers are all the above.

Also, with CBP, fines, a person does have appellate rights and recourse to fines, seizures and penalties issued.

So please do not compare TSA and CBP. Two different organizations with two different authorities. I think the original poster was rightfully invoking reference to constitutionally protected rights to property and search and seizure.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

How many times has TSA found firearms at a checkpoint?

How many of the people with those firearms were arrested?

How many of those arrested were charged with crimes?

How many of those charged were convicted?

Anonymous said...

Dan said...
What is the most effective way of putting all of you out work?

What is the most effective way of putting all of you behind bars where you so obviously belong?

August 4, 2010 7:17 PM

Please stay on topic Dan.

Anonymous said...

"How many times has TSA found firearms at a checkpoint?
How many of the people with those firearms were arrested?
How many of those arrested were charged with crimes?
How many of those charged were convicted?"

The blog staff has already said the cases are passed to local law enforcement. Why would TSA track the arrest and conviction stats after the incident has been reported and passed to other authorities? Why would you want them to?

RB said...

Anonymous said...
"How many times has TSA found firearms at a checkpoint?
How many of the people with those firearms were arrested?
How many of those arrested were charged with crimes?
How many of those charged were convicted?"

The blog staff has already said the cases are passed to local law enforcement. Why would TSA track the arrest and conviction stats after the incident has been reported and passed to other authorities? Why would you want them to?

August 12, 2010 11:57 AM
.............
http://www.tsa.gov/

TSA Week at a Glance: 8/02/10 thru 8/08/10

3 artfully concealed prohibited items found at checkpoints

14 firearms found at checkpoints

4 passengers were arrested after investigations of suspicious behavior or fraudulent travel documents.
............................

Seems TSA is already tracking arrest rates for some areas.

Anonymous said...

"The blog staff has already said the cases are passed to local law enforcement. Why would TSA track the arrest and conviction stats after the incident has been reported and passed to other authorities?"

Why shouldn't they?

"Why would you want them to?"

For one thing, it would tell us whether these cases are a real threat, or whether Lynn was just scare-mongering as TSA's unprofessional, poorly trained work force tends to do.

Mus14 said...

That's the law and they are aware that people who have these firearms intentially kept it with them.

CoolD said...

This is obvious and I am pretty sure that such things will occur on other days.

Anonymous said...

@Anon: "How many times has TSA found firearms at a checkpoint?"

I know at least one brought to work by screener Alvin Crabtree at DEN.

"How many of the people with those firearms were arrested?"

I know Alvin was never arrested.

"How many of those arrested were charged with crimes?"

I know Alvin was never charged.

"How many of those charged were convicted?"

I know Alvin was never convicted. Maybe that's why, despite the fact he DID bring a loaded gun to work, he was able to keep his job.

Earl

GSOLTSO said...

H2H sez - "If I ever have a connecting flight at your airport, I will be requesting a pretty fancy tap dance. I would die laughing if you started getting requests from our blog commenter’s at your airport. :)"

I think if you ever come here and request it, I would probably do one for you, but it wouldn't be very pretty at all. I never had much in the way of dance lessons...


Anon sez - "How many times has TSA found firearms at a checkpoint?

How many of the people with those firearms were arrested?

How many of those arrested were charged with crimes?

How many of those charged were convicted?"

I do not have access to those numbers, so I am not able to tell you that. I can tell you that in the last month or so here, we have had at least 2 firearms on the checkpoint, and both spent quality time with APD and had reports filed. As to whether they were arressted or not, I do not know - once the matter is referred to LEO, it is entirely their decision.

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "Can I be in b4 David Huckabee?

Shaun Rogers? At least he didn't throw a bomb in the airport.

The unidentified federal flight deck officer who got all cowboy and put the hole in the cockpit in Charlotte?

Roshid Milledge and Damien Young?
They showed how porous the security perimeter is.

Amber Robillard?
She had no trouble getting a gun through the gaping holes in security."

David Huckabee was arrested after the weapon was discovered at the checkpoint:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,268762,00.html

Shaun Rogers was arrested and charged after the weapons was discovered at the checkpoint:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/01/shaun-rogers-arrested-wit_n_522115.html

Amber Robillard was charged after the weapon was discovered in the checkpoint:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/05/amber-robillard-flight-atten_n_601632.html

These were all caught and charged at the checkpoint. Milledge and Young, I have nothing for that, they circumvented security and were caught by an alert passenger.

The pilot had his weapon with him per SOP.

Sadly you are right, these incidents are not very funny...


West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "That's nice. Now, how many of those guns are in the bags of TSOs or LEOs?

And why are you apparently congenitally incapable of dealing with questions that ask for numbers (as when you falsely claimed Canada and the UK have a full-blown shoe carnival, TSA-bedwetter style)?"

I do not know how many were in TSO or LEO bags, I do not have access to those stats (and I do not find them online yet).

I can function when numbers are involved (at least as long as there is a calculator nearby), regardless of any possible disorders or anomolies I may have.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

"I do not have access to those numbers, so I am not able to tell you that. "

Find out.

Anonymous said...

"I do not know how many were in TSO or LEO bags, I do not have access to those stats (and I do not find them online yet)."

Find out.

Anonymous said...

Anon asked- "Why would TSA track the arrest and conviction stats after the incident has been reported and passed to other authorities?"

Anon, I can not answer why they track arrests, but it looks like they do. TSA claims to know arrest numbers.

Big sign entering the line at IND boasting of interdictions. It specifically mentioned the number of pax arrested.

So, unless the numbers on the sign are a fabrication, somebody at TSA knows at least arrest numbers.

Anonymous said...

"Why shouldn't they?"

Because after the incident has been resolved, it's none of TSA's concern.

"For one thing, it would tell us whether these cases are a real threat, or whether Lynn was just scare-mongering as TSA's unprofessional, poorly trained work force tends to do."

Please point out which part of the post was "scared mongering." The post essentially says, "please stop bringing your guns through the checkpoint." There was no suggestion that these cases were concerned with terrorism, or anything more than poor judgement. Hardly "scare mongering" There are plenty of other perfectly good examples to illustrate TSA's incompetance and or disingenuous-ness - this isn't one of them.

Anonymous said...

While I cannot speak for all airports throughout the country I can for one airport in specific. While working for an airport in Texas I have witnessed over 30 arrests for people carrying firearms or other prohibited items into the airport, including a FEDERAL JUDGE, whom just like the others was handcuffed an escorted to the Police Department. Once the law enforcement entity has the individual in custody it is up to them to charge the individuals with State charges if possible, i.e. carrying a concealed firearm without a permit, and prosecute through the state but the federal charges would have to be sent up to Transportation Security Investigators and the fines/charges established in accordance with TSA’s civil aviation security guidance (ENFORCEMENT SANCTION GUIDANCE POLICY).
While most airports/law enforcement should conduct operations the same it appears that some LE may not want to deal with the paperwork and just release them to take the weapon back to their car or turn it over to a non traveling family member. Do not blame TSA for the conduct of the LE. Once TSA has turned the situation over to the LE it is up to the them to decide which route to take, but the information is still given to Transportation Security Investigators for federal fines/charges.

Anonymous said...

"Guns are No Fun at the Checkpoint"

No they are not. And we do not need more weapons there. Especially not in the hands of TSA staff.

But that seems to be what the TSA is planning.

More guns in the hands of the TSA.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/federal-eye/2010/08/john_pistole_talks_new_role_as.html

Pair-a-Docs said...

I'm sorry, but if you're so unaware that you don't know where your gun is at all times, you don't have enough responsibility to participate in the right to own a firearm. If I had my way, every single person who had a real gun of any kind in their carryon property would 1) lose all rights to gun ownership; 2) be levied the stiffest possible fine; and 3) be put on the stiffest law enforcement watch list out there. There's just no excuse. A gun isn't something to be forgotten about.

Pair-a-Docs said...

"This is a moderated blog, and TSA retains the discretion to determine which comments it will post and which it will not. We expect all contributors to be respectful. We will not post comments that contain personal attacks of any kind; refer to Federal Civil Service employees by name; contain offensive terms that target specific ethnic or racial groups, or vulgar language."

Please tell me why, then, you're allowing posts referencing Alvin Crabtree?

Blogger Bob said...

I allow his name because it was made public by the national media. His name is out there.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Robert Johnson said...

Quote from Blogger Bob: "I allow his name because it was made public by the national media. His name is out there."

And he's still employed with TSA at DEN. Why?

Robert

Robert Johnson said...

Also Pair-a-Docs, here is the article about Alvin Crabtree

<a href="http://www.kdvr.com/kdvr-tsaworkerbringsguntowork-6389294,0,2040975.story>TSA Worker Brings Gun to Work, Keeps Job</a>

Robert

Pair-a-Docs said...

Only one word....

"Wow."

Ayn R. Key said...

And the question of how many of these guns belong to TSOs or Cops goes completely unanswered.

Since we know they can track arrest data, we know they deliberately decided to not track this particular datum. The reason? It was probably too embarrassing.

carp said...

> Really? What sort of person says this? > Have you met every TSO (and LTSO, STSO,
> Operations support staff, etc)
> personally and found every single one
> of us to be in violation of laws?

I would. "Its the law" is just an excuse for treating people badly. EVERY SINGLE time you enforce the law against someone who has done nothing wrong, I hold that against you, as a human being.

There just is no excuse for these checkpoints. Its nothing but baseless fear being used as an excuse to threaten people with violence (and if you don't think being arrested involves violence, try telling the officer "no, I am not going" and see how non-violent of an event it really is)

The threats are minimal, and always have been. There is no excuse for arresting a single person, EVER, much less fining them, for violating your ridiculous rules. It was always an exercise in budget justification.

Frankly, the job should be given back to the airlines and private security firms.

And you people, should be ashamed of yourselves for participating in this farce.

-Steve

Anonymous said...

carp said:
"Frankly, the job should be given back to the airlines and private security firms."

i agree after 9/11 the government shouldnt have stepped in to take any action on this. they should have allowed the private contractors to keep on doing the good job that they did on 9/11. i feel that the american citizens would be fine with this and would have approved of a private indusrty to keep the skies safe. im sure that the private companies would use all of there money and set aside their stockholders and take deep losses so that they could prevent another attack. im sure that the terriorists that were behind these attacks would not try again if they saw that the government didnt step in. im all for turning it back over to a private industry that is only worried about turning a profit and taking whatever shortcuts it can to keep profits up.

Anonymous said...

Question: Can a passanger provide the key or combo to Security without violating Rule § 108.203

Rule § 108.203 Acceptance and screening of checked baggage.
(iii) The container in which it is carried is locked, and only the person checking the baggage retains the key or combination

However, http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtra...orial_1666.shtm
We recommend that you provide the key or combination to the security officer if he or she needs to open the container. You should remain in the area designated by the aircraft operator or TSA representative to take the key back after the container is cleared for transportation. If you are not present and the security officer must open the container, we or the airline will make a reasonable attempt to contact you. If we can't contact you, the container will not be placed on the plane. Federal regulations prohibit unlocked gun cases (or cases with broken locks) on aircraft.

Anonymous said...

I posted a question concerning TSA Rules on September 16, in order to properly respond to a question posed on GunPolitics.org

Not receiving a response, I sent an e-mail to the TSA Blog on Sept 22 @ 5 AM.

Thus far both of my communications have not been responded to.

Our 786 members who desire to be knowledgeable in order to comply with regulations, are patiently waiting for a response. TSA's response will also be posted on other gun forums comprising over 200,000 members.

Respectfully Submitted,
Rich-D

Anonymous said...

What is the policy on UNloaded magazines in "regular" baggage?

I only ask because I may not have enough room for the magazines in my firearms case, so I'm wondering if I can throw the unloaded magazines in with my clothes and such.