Friday, July 20, 2012

TSA Week in Review: Firearm Found Concealed in Lining of Carry-on Bag at Phoenix


A loaded .32 caliber pistol with 7 rounds was found concealed in the lining of a carry-on bag at Phoenix (PHX). Items in the Strangest Places – It’s one thing to forget you had a prohibited item in your bag, but when you intentionally try to sneak it past us, you could wind up being cited or even arrested by law enforcement. Here are a few examples from this week where passengers tried to sneak items past our Officers.
A dagger concealed in a hairbrush was discovered at Rapid City (RAP).
  • A loaded .32 caliber pistol with 7 rounds was found concealed in the lining of a carry-on bag at Phoenix (PHX).
  • A cheese knife was discovered inside a teddy bear at Minneapolis St. Paul (MSP).  
  • A razorblade was discovered concealed in a shoe at Seattle (SEA).
  • A dagger concealed in a hairbrush was discovered at Rapid City (RAP).
  • And yet another brush dagger… A dagger concealed in a hairbrush was discovered at Omaha (OMA).
  • A comb dagger was discovered at Baltimore (BWI).
  • A pocketknife was discovered wrapped in aluminum foil and taped to the bottom of a bag at Houston (HOU).
A pocketknife was discovered wrapped in aluminum foil and taped to the bottom of a bag -- A cheese Knife
M147 Firing Device - While resolving a checked baggage alarm on a bag at Reno (RNO), Officers found an initiator, an M147 firing device with the words, “Danger Blasting Cap Explosive” stenciled on the side
M147 Firing Device - While resolving a checked baggage alarm on a bag at Reno (RNO), Officers found an initiator, an M147 firing device with the words, “Danger Blasting Cap Explosive” stenciled on the side, and two propane canisters. As I’ve said before, we’re all too familiar with instructors and other people in this type of business needing these sorts of items for their jobs. As with all inert training items and replicas, we don’t know they’re not real until we’ve gone through all the motions. This can include evacuated baggage areas and closed checkpoints which lead to delays and missed flights. People that need to travel with INERT items should plan ahead and contact their preferred shipper about mailing the training aids to their destination. Read here and here on why inert items cause problems at checkpoints.

Body Scanner Discoveries This Week – There were a total of 8 illegal and prohibited items discovered this week with the body scanners at: Fresno (FAT), 2 at San Francisco (SFO), Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Tampa (TPA), Seattle (SEA), Orange County (SNA), and Ontario (ONT). Items were found in hands, pockets, and concealed in the groin area. Among the items was a tube of toothpaste a passenger at SNA had concealed behind their belt and tucked in front of his waistband.

Stun Guns –7 stun guns were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints around the nation at: Columbia (CAE), Ft. Lauderdale (FLL), San Juan (SJU), Baltimore (BWI), Los Angeles (LAX), Denver (DEN), and Gainesville (GNV).

People Say the Darndest Things – Here is an example of what not to say at the airport. Statements like these not only delay the people who said them but can also inconvenience lots of other passengers if the checkpoint or terminal has to be evacuated:
  • A gate agent at Rochester (ROC) asked a passenger if he had any firearms to declare and he replied: “ no just a couple of bombs and a little dynamite, but it’s no big deal.”
Miscellaneous Prohibited Items - In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our Officers also found firearm components, realistic replica firearms, stun guns, brass knuckles, ammunition, batons, and a lot of sharp pointy things.

Loaded Guns
Loaded Guns
Loaded Guns
Loaded Guns
Loaded Guns
32 guns discovered at TSA checkpoints.





Firearms - Here are the firearms our Officers found in carry-on baggage since I posted last Friday.

You can travel with your firearms in checked baggage, but they must first be declared to the airline. You can go here for more details on how to properly travel with your firearms. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure

Unfortunately these sorts of occurrences are all too frequent which is why we talk about these finds. Sure, it’s great to share the things that our officers are finding, but at the same time, each time we find a dangerous item, the throughput is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. This is a friendly reminder to please leave these items at home. Just because we find a prohibited item on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions, that's for the law enforcement officer to decide. In many cases, people simply forgot they had these items.

Knives































If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.

Screening of Passengers with Feeding Tubes


You may have been following the story about the person who is claiming Transportation Security Officers (TSO) at Dallas Love Field (DAL) “strip searched” her and inappropriately handled her feeding tube in order to obtain an explosives trace sample.

TSA does not conduct strip searches. Since the traveler did not let TSOs know that she was wearing a medical device, an alarm went off, requiring a resolution. Our investigation concluded that proper procedures were followed: The passenger, in a private room with a supervisor as a witness, patted down the area around her feeding tube, as required by our standard operating procedures. At no time did an Officer touch the feeding tube area. The TSO then swabbed the passenger’s hands and tested the swab for explosives. Contrary to what is being reported, the individual was not asked or required to remove her clothing at any time.

TSA takes all complaints seriously. We are sensitive to the concerns of all passengers and encourage travelers to provide feedback to TSA. If a passenger has a problem at a checkpoint, or is displeased with their checkpoint experience, we strongly recommend that they call a supervisor immediately or file a complaint with our contact center as soon as possible after the experience. TSA Contact Center, 1-866-289-9673 or TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov

TSA works regularly with a broad coalition of disability and medical condition advocacy groups to help understand their needs and adapt screening procedures accordingly. Any passengers with disabilities who have questions or concerns prior to travel can contact the TSA Cares Helpline: 1-855-787-2227. The line is open 8 AM -11 PM M-F and 9 AM – 8 PM weekends and holidays. After hours, travelers can find information about traveling with disabilities and medical needs on TSA’s website


If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.