Friday, August 10, 2012

TSA Week in Review: Passengers Continue to Pack Guns & Grenades

Photograph of four inert grenades.
Inert Grenades – In addition to a spike in the number of guns found each day at checkpoints recently, we continue to find hand grenades and other ordnance on weekly basis.  Please keep in mind that if something looks like a bomb, grenade, mine, etc., it is prohibited - real or not. And when these items are found at the checkpoint, they can cause significant delays to you and other passengers. I know they are cool novelty items; I use to own a few. But again, please don’t take them on planes!  Read here and here on why inert items cause problems.
  • An inert grenade was discovered in a checked bag at Seattle (SEA) which resulted in a baggage screening room evacuation.
  • An inert grenade was discovered at Seattle (STL).
  • An inert grenade was discovered in a carry-on bag at LaGuardia (LGA) which resulted in a checkpoint closure.
  • An inert grenade was discovered in a carry-on bag at Milwaukee (MKE).
  • An Airsoft grenade (used by war game enthusiasts) was discovered in a checked bag at Phoenix (PHX) which resulted in an evacuation of the checked baggage area.
Gallup Survey Gives TSA Good Grades - Did you see the latest Gallup poll that Americans views of TSA are more positive than negative? Check it out!

Disassembled pistol.
Firearm Parts –I want to point out that firearm parts are prohibited from being carried in your carry-on bags. Why, you might ask? Because while one passenger may have just the barrel, another passenger may have the rest of the parts to assemble a fully functioning firearm.

Four throwing stars, razor blade concelaed in ball cap, knife concelaed in lining of luggage.
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 be 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 the handle of a hairbrush was discovered at Minneapolis (MSP).
  • A knife was found concealed in a shoe at Bethel (BET).
  • Officers in Philadelphia (PHL) found a toiletry kit with undeclared liquids over 3.4 concealed under the clothing of a passenger in a wheelchair during the screening process.
  • A knife was discovered taped to the underside of a bag handle under the lining at St. Louis (STL).
  • A knife was found concealed in a binder at Rapid City (RAP).
  • A bottle of lotion was discovered in a passenger’s slacks at Phoenix (PHX). The first time she brought it through, it was in her bag.
  • A pocketknife was discovered sewn into the lining of a carry-on bag at Albuquerque (ABQ).
Stun Guns – 5 stun guns were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints around the nation at: Lynchburg (LYH), Reno (RNO), Denver (DEN), Detroit (DTW), Burbank (BUR)

Swords discovered at John F. Kennedy International Airport.  (JFK)
Miscellaneous Prohibited Items - In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our Officers also regularly find firearm components, realistic replica firearms, brass knuckles, ammunition, batons, and a lot of sharp pointy things. Just to mention a few…

5 loaded pistols.
3 loaded pistols.
Four loaded pistols.
Four loaded pistols.
Two loaded pistols.
Spreadsheet: 24 loaded firearms and 6 unloaded firearms were discovered this week. 30 total.
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.

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