Tuesday, November 1, 2011

TSA Checkpoints This Halloween: Trick Or Treat?

Boots with bullets.
Boots with gun barrel heel and bullets Photo courtesy of TSA-JFK
Halloween. Dress up in a scary costume, visit some neighbors, shout, “Trick or treat!” and race home to see what’s inside the bag. That’s the normal spiel, but passengers at airports this Halloween put their own spin on the holiday, and believe me when I say that several had some tricks up their sleeves and in their bags.

Let’s see, there was the passenger in Boston who had a steak knife in his carry-on bag; the El Paso passenger with a 6 ½-inch hunting knife in his carry-on bag; the LaGuardia Airport passenger who had eight rounds of 9 mm ammunition in his bag; the JFK Airport passenger who had a 6-inch butterfly knife in his bag; and the New Orleans passenger who had a loaded .380 caliber firearm--with a bullet in the chamber--in his carry-on bag.

Unlike trick or treat, these passengers didn’t get to go home with their goodies. All of those items were confiscated. And due to jurisdictional laws, the passengers in the New York airports were cited for violating the local laws. 

Now that the fall season is arriving, it’s likely that many of you are camping, hunting, hiking, etc. There’s a good chance the last time you wore your fall coat or used your knapsack was on a hunting or fishing trip, and maybe you left a knife or some ammunition tucked away in one of those handy-dandy compartments. Truth is, we’d rather you keep your guns, knives, and ammunition--just keep them at home, that’s all. So be sure to take the time to do a quick check of your personal items to be sure you’re not forgetting about the weapon you tucked away during your last trip.

And it doesn’t hurt to think about what you’re wearing when heading to the airport. Your favorite belt with the brass-knuckles buckle? Leave it at home. The cool western belt with bullets decorating the side, leave it in the drawer. Hand grenade belt buckle? Yep…. We see it all. And the boots pictured below that were worn to JFK Airport—the ones with the shiny bullets and handgun barrel heel--please leave them in the closet instead of wearing them to the airport, even on Halloween. 

Lisa Farbstein - Guest Blogger/TSA Spokesperson New York/New Jersey

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