Friday, January 25, 2013

TSA Week in Review: 30 Firearms Discovered at Security Checkpoints This Week (25 Loaded)



Loaded firearm. (BNA)

30 Firearms Discovered This Week – 25 of those firearms were loaded and 13 had rounds chambered. Here are pictures of some of the firearms. See a complete list and more photos below.  


A switchblade was discovered in the pocket of a passenger after being screened with image technology at Philadelphia (PHL).

Knife Discovered With Body Scanner – A switchblade was discovered in the pocket of a passenger after being screened with image technology at Philadelphia (PHL). 

 


A replica grenade was discovered in a carry-on bag at Wichita (ICT)

Inert Ordnance and Grenades Etc. – We continue to find inert hand grenades and other weaponry on weekly basis. Please keep in mind that if an item looks like a realistic bomb, grenade, mine, etc., it is prohibited - real or not. When these items are found at a checkpoint or in checked baggage, they can cause significant delays. I know they are cool novelty items, but it is best not to take them on a plane.  Read here and here on why inert items cause problems.


A replica grenade was discovered in a carry-on bag at Wichita (ICT).


 

Items in the Strangest Places –It’s important to check your bags prior to traveling. If a prohibited item is discovered in your bag, you could be cited and possibly arrested by local law enforcement. Here are a few examples from this week where prohibited items were found in strange places.


  • Three knives were discovered in a passenger’s thermos at Honolulu (HNL). He had traveled through the checkpoint once already and was permitted to take the knives outside of the checkpoint area to check them in his baggage. Instead, he attempted to sneak them through in a thermos.  

  • A belt buckle knife was discovered at Los Angeles (LAX).

  • A sword cane was discovered at Memphis (MEM).


Three knives were discovered in a passenger’s thermos at Honolulu (HNL). A belt buckle knife was discovered at Los Angeles (LAX). A sword cane was discovered at Memphis (MEM).

Stun Guns Nine stun guns were discovered this week in a carry-on bags around the nation: Two at Atlanta (ATL), two at Denver (DEN), and one each at Bradley (BDL), Long Beach (LGB) , Minneapolis (MSP), Sacramento (SMF), Seattle (SEA).

 

What Not to Say at an Airport – Statements like these not only delay the people who said them but can also inconvenience many other passengers if the checkpoint or terminal has to be evacuated:


  • While preparing to go through the security lane, a passenger at Chicago O’Hare (ORD) asked: “Should I remove my gun and bomb, too?”


  • A passenger at LaGuardia (LGA) going through the checkpoint stated: “It’s not like I have a bomb in my bag, but I could have.”


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, bb and pellet guns, Airsoft guns, brass knuckles, ammunition, batons, and a lot of sharp pointy things -- to mention a few…  

Firearms Discovered This Week

6 loaded firearms. 5 loaded firearms.
2 loaded firearms.
 

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. The passenger can face a penalty as high as $7,500.00. 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.

*In order to provide a timely weekly update, I compile my data from a preliminary report. The year-end numbers will vary slightly (increase) from what I report in the weekly updates. However, any monthly, midyear, or end-of-year numbers TSA provides on this blog or elsewhere will not be estimates.

If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you check out our post highlighting the dangerous, scary, and downright unusual items our officers found in 2012.

 


Bob Burns 
TSA Blog Team 

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

45 comments:

SSSS for some reason said...

Hey, your fancy image machines found a knife. That could have been found with a metal detector.

And 30 guns! Oh my! Any terrorists associated with those guns? Any arrests? Anything even remotely threatening to aviation?

Anonymous said...

Congrats on doing your job.

Can I get my own taxpayer-funded blog where each Friday I report on how I did my job too?

Anonymous said...

"...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. The passenger can face a penalty as high as $7,500.00."

Ever hear of *mens_rea*? There has to be criminal intent for an action to be criminal.

Charging people with crimes for honest mistakes is why nobody likes you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for doing your jobs. I like the way things are presented as reasonable expectations and think the people with an ax to grind will never give you a break anyways and hide behind being anonymous. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

To the person who stated there needed to be intent for an action to be a crime... not always true. You are wrong. TSA doesn't charge anyone, that is the local juristiction that does that. Get your facts straight.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Bob, your list is missing one thing:

How many 11 year old girls did the TSA terrify this week??

Anonymous said...

Why do we need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on the body scanners? The knife that was found this week would have been found with a metal detector. Even if it wasn't found, I've been given larger knives in airport restaurants and on planes. Nobody is taking over a plane with a knife anymore.

Seriously, the only body scanner discoveries are knives or other harmless to aviation substances such as drugs and toothpaste. As a taxpayer, I am unhappy with the wasteful spending of money by the TSA. Look at the post below, you are spending millions to replace scanners that were installed two years ago. Did the TSA ever consider that the privacy and health issues of the backscatter machines would be an issue? It doesn't look like you did.

I don't see why you congratulate yourselves on finding guns. Isn't that the most basic part of your job?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for doing your jobs. I like the way things are presented as reasonable expectations and think the people with an ax to grind will never give you a break anyways and hide behind being anonymous. Thanks again.
---
Some of us like to exercise our right to privacy... Anonymous. Like you apparently also like.

Anonymous said...

I am a frequent flyer and I am so thankful you are doing your job. Anyone who "forgets" they have a loaded gun or knife on their person, I don't want on my flight. They might just "forget" and take it out and use it. So thanks so much for checking us all.

Anonymous said...

what would protect more?
MORE kroch sniffing dogs=less UNDERWEAR BOMBERS!
SERIOUSLY, WHY AREN'T THERE MORE DOGS ??

Anonymous said...

why aren't more DOGS used, like the Boarder Patrol makes good use of ?
more kroch sniffing dogs + less underwear bombers

Anonymous said...

Wow! Seems some forgot why all this security was put into place!!! If you're worried about the security checks delaying you from getting a good seat, snacks, or even grab a quick drink before waiting to board...then get there earlier than the recommended time guideline!! I appreciate what TSA does to keep me safe!! Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Every week you list what you found, and that never includes anything important found using the body scanners. Ergo, these expensive, invasive, cancer-causing and slow machines are also completely innefective.

Anonymous said...

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2013/01/baby_bottles_cause_security_sc.html

«Some baby bottles and a malfunctioning screening machine caused the temporary shutdown of a security checkpoint at Newark Liberty International Airport today.»

Remember, my friends, these fine folks at Newark TSA are all that stand between you and "another 9/11".

[Screenshot captured. This post complies with blog comment guidelines.]

Anonymous said...

What happens to guns, knives, and other banned items when they are detected/confiscated?

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...
... and hide behind being anonymous.

Were you being ironic on purpose? Besides which, in some cases, this statement is factually incorrect. Many of us critical of the TSA, while not posting our real names, only post pseudonymously. RB, SSSS for some reason, wintermute. In my particular case, it doesn't exactly take rocket science to figure out my real name.

Another Anonymous said...
Wow! Seems some forgot why all this security was put into place!!! ...I appreciate what TSA does to keep me safe!!

No, we haven't. Except it's not effective security, which doesn't actually make you any safer. The false sense of security you feel arguably makes you LESS safe. And using extra exclamation points doesn't make the statements any more true ;)

Anonymous said...

It's just stunning that so many handguns are found in carry-on bags every week. It really gives you an idea of how many stupid people are walking loose among us. You can also get an idea of this level of stupidity by the number of people that actually bash the TSA for finding these guns. And before you think I'm a gun hater, I'm an avid gun collector and have a CCW permit in my state.

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...

You can also get an idea of this level of stupidity by the number of people that actually bash the TSA for finding these guns.

I don't see anyone bashing TSA for finding guns. I do occasionally see people pointing out that fact that the TSA has about a 70% failure rate and bashing them because the WTMD's would have found the same percentage (or better) pre-9/11.

And, sometimes, I see people bashing the TSA for patting themselves on the back saying "look what a good job we're doing" all the while virtually strip-searching and sexually assaulting us (when they're not too busy stealing from us, that is).

SSSS for some reason said...

"...It's just stunning that so many handguns are found in carry-on bags every week. It really gives you an idea of how many....

No, it gives you an idea of how few people are actually trying to take over an airplane.

It gives you an idea of how few terrorists are trying to repeat September 11.

If the reports are true, and the TSA hasn't confirmed nor denied updated numbers, the TSA searches are only about 30% effective at finding guns. That would mean that as many as 70 guns actually made it onto the aircraft in the last week. It might have been less, it could have been more. All those guns in the air and not a single incident all week... no planes raining terror down on our cities.

Anonymous said...

What is TSA doing looking for drugs at an Amtrak station? How is this not outside of TSA's scope? How is this not a violation of the 4th Amendment?

From http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/local/austin/tsa-does-surprise-check-at-lamar-amtrak:

"About thirty minutes before the train departed, all passengers were asked to leave their bags on the boarding platform while two different detection dogs, one for narcotics and the other for explosives, sniff the luggage."

[screenshot since you keep deleting my posts]

Anonymous said...

I don't bash the TSA for finding guns. I just don't get why they congratulate themselves so much for finding guns. Isn't keeping guns off a plane one of the most basic tasks they are supposed to do?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for "getting it done" TSA personnel. Most of the public is all for you and is mature enough to know that the inconviences are necessary and not brought on by by TSA but by TSA's response to credible threats from terrorists and folks who are a danger to themselves as well as their fellow travelers.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Bobby--

What's the TSA's take on the recent Aaron Tobey ruling? Seems that the TSA's views on the First Amendment are at odds with those of the federal judiciary!

Or are those judges just a bunch of security threats, too?

How is the TSA going to handle First Amendment issues going forward, I wonder? I know you can't explain all the relevant caselaw to the TSOs, Bobby, but maybe you could remind them that the Bill of Rights actually DOES exist?

Anonymous said...

If you found 30 guns, it means you missed 70, according to your last published failure rate. It could be more, since body scanners actually make carrying a gun on your body and going unnoticed much easier (http://takingsenseaway.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/an-open-letter-to/). Care to comment?

Susan Richart said...

Bob, this showed up on FlyerTalk today:

"At the C-2 checkpoint at EWR, I saw a sign I had not seen anywhere before. It said (and I'm paraphrasing):

"Some screening procedures at this checkpoint are not allowed to be photographed or videotaped. Please cease photography if requested by a TSA Officer."

Screeners can't get the rules correct on photography to begin with. This signage, if it exists, is pure intimidation.

Can you explain why the FSD at EWR would allow this?

screen shot

Anonymous said...

"the inconviences are necessary and not brought on by by TSA but by TSA's response to credible threats from terrorists"

Nonsense. At every step, TSA, and TSA alone, has chosen to implement policies that are at best pointless and at worst dangerous.

We know, for instance, that there is no danger from shoes, since no other country shares TSA's footwear fetish and none of them have suffered any ill result. The shoe farce is TSA's fault, and only TSA's fault.

We similarly know that liquids pose no danger to aircraft; it is impossible to create a liquid explosive stable enough to get from a lab onto an aircraft. Yet TSA continues to impose its 3.4-1-1 policy, and lie to the public on every sign it prints about it, to protect us from, literally, nothing.

We likewise know that TSA has never found anything with a body scanner that would not have been found with a metal detector. The machines literally add nothing positive to security, yet add massive costs in time and inconvenience for the able-bodied, and humiliation and groping for those with private, harmless medical conditions like ostomy bags.

I'm not worried about terrorism; terrorism is rare. I worry about TSA, because TSA is dangerous, stupid, and out of control.

Anonymous said...

Speaking to reporters in Charlotte on Friday TSA Administrator Pistole made the following statement, "We know from intelligence that terrorists see the U.S. as the gold standard of aviation security, because of all the layers,"

The TSA can't prevent its own employees from stealing from traveler's luggage (January 2013 in Charlotte) - is that the "gold standard" of aviation security?

Anonymous said...

If the body scanners save one life, they are worth their weight in gold. Keep up the good work.
Actually, I cannot believe some of the idiotic comments made. Blows my mind.

Anonymous said...

What people who are assuming the body scanners are a waste of money do not realize - all weapons are not metal. The scanners are made to mostly detect C4 type weapons like what was in the shoe bombers shoe. They are worth every penny spent if they save lives - which they have because they have detected bomb material. Not everything found is in this report.

Anonymous said...

Bob & Co, Thank you for this blog.
It's a good reminder of what's not getting on our planes. Your wry, amicable tone sets a good note. My favorite part is The Week In Review's final chart. Take this week for example:
30 weapons
25 loaded
13 with Rounds Chambered.
Thank you & keep it up!

Brandon Allred said...

I have to confess I have left a small pocket knife in bag before. They gave me an option to ship it back home, but shipping is so expensive It was same price to purchase a new one.

@SkyWayManAz said...

Anonymous said...

"SERIOUSLY, WHY AREN'T THERE MORE DOGS ??"

This is something I've felt was needed but felt maybe TSA never liked the idea because some people would object. It might not be an unreasonable concern to management that some passengers would say they felt threatened by the presence of the dog or they were allergic to them.


Ideally if I was in charge I think I'd do something like expand TSA Pre Check to include a non Global Entry option with no enrollment fee. TSA Pre Check ID issued instead of Global Entry ID. Passengers who choose not to enroll would get the same standard TSA screening as now. Shoes off, laptop out, AIT and pat downs. Pre Check line keeps shoes on, laptop in bag, bags x-rayed, passenger goes thru metal detector. Pre Check should still not guarantee expedited screening so something random can be added, same as now. If say a dog alerted on someone or they have a banned item in the bag noticed in screening then they get AIT or pat down. I think this line is where it would make sense having a dog. Don't like dogs or allergic? Take the other line with screening as it exists now.


I believe that now we are for more at risk to a bomb on a plane then a weapon. I'd still ban the weapons but most should be detectable by X-Ray and metal detector. What is harder to find is a bomb. Our current system diverts the screeners attention away from looking for a hidden device to looking for oversize toothpaste instead. Dogs could help a lot in this regard. They're far cheaper and far less controversial then AIT. It might even help out the attitude of a lot of screeners out there with a chip on their shoulder to have a furry co worker who loves them unconditionally. I know when I’ve had a bad day my dog still loves me.

Anonymous said...

The TSA talks about risk based security with the precheck program, but in reality, 99.99999+% of all travelers are not a risk. However, we are all treated as guilty until proven innocent. Shoes can remain on in almost every other country and their flights are safe.

The liquid ban is ridiculous. Liquids aren't the only form of matter that can be explosives, yet they are scrutinized because some guys had an idea to use them to blow up a plane years ago. They didn't have a viable plot since most liquid explosives require lab conditions to create and are highly unstable. Here is how silly the liquid ban is. I can't take a 500 mL bottle of water through security. If I freeze the water, I can take it through security since the water is a solid. I could also divide the water into five 100 mL bottles and take it through. What is the difference? It is still the same amount of water.

The TSA has misplaced priorities. A knife will not be used to take over a plane ever again. A gun probably won't either. I don't want either on my plane but I recognize it's not a risk for another 9/11 attack. A 9/11 style attack will never happen again.

I don't feel safer when someone's water or toothpaste is confiscated. The TSA knows it's water or toothpaste. They throw it all in a trashcan right next to the checkpoint. If it was really a danger, why throw it away next to the checkpoint? If the TSA has a doubt about a liquid, they have the means to test it.

Anonymous said...

"What people who are assuming the body scanners are a waste of money do not realize - all weapons are not metal. The scanners are made to mostly detect C4 type weapons like what was in the shoe bombers shoe."

And yet, the scanners have not found a single explosive, and it has been demonstrated that it is trivially easy to get items past the scanners.

"They are worth every penny spent if they save lives - which they have because they have detected bomb material. Not everything found is in this report."

Nonsense. If TSA had ever found a terrorist, or items that could actually be used in a terrorist plot, they would shout it from the rooftops and tell the world about it in every single blog post and press release from now until the end of time. They have not found either. TSA has never stopped a terrorist, never disrupted a terrorist plot, never found a hidden bomb. It is a shambling, stupid, wreck of an agency, and it would be funny if it weren't so dangerous.

Anonymous said...

"If the TSA has a doubt about a liquid, they have the means to test it."

Do you know how long it would take to get through the line if you had to wait for every person to gather their belongs and escort them to the machine to test liquids? Really, you can't go for a half hour without water until you get to the other side of security?

Anonymous said...


"Do you know how long it would take to get through the line if you had to wait for every person to gather their belongs and escort them to the machine to test liquids? Really, you can't go for a half hour without water until you get to the other side of security?"

I'm not saying test all liquids. The tests can be done at random or if the TSA suspects the liquid is something harmful. 99.999999+% of the time the bottle of water or tube of toothpaste is just water or toothpaste. Plus the TSA is so fixated on catching water bottles that I feel it distracts them from finding real threats.

Anonymous said...

Why does TSA need meteal detectors or Strip Search Machines at all since TSA spends millions on Behavior Detection?

It does work, right TSA?

Anonymous said...

@SkyWayManAz said...
Ideally if I was in charge I think I'd do something like expand TSA Pre Check to include a non Global Entry option with no enrollment fee. TSA Pre Check ID issued instead of Global Entry ID. Passengers who choose not to enroll would get the same standard TSA screening as now.

And If I were in charge, I'd return to the pre-9/11 security: walk through metal detector to keep off the knives and guns.

I would add sniffers- either mechanical or canine- to keep off explosives.

The rest (taking off shoes, etc) is useless.

Anonymous said...

Washington Times headline "EEOC launches probe of TSA hostile work environment"...care to comment?

Anonymous said...

Petition to change TSA policies:
http://wh.gov/VzeU

Anonymous said...

Petition to change TSA policies: http://wh.gov/VzeU

Anonymous said...

Not all weapons are metal. Many pieces of explosives and some guns and knives are made out of organic materials. TSA dogs are at many airports. I have seen them but they are only used when a bomb is suspected. You talk about wanting tax payer money back but fail to admit that it would coat more to train dogs and officers to handle them. TSA does do a good job. Plus TSA is a department of home land security. If you want change its up to the government not TSA. They follow federal mandates, as the time passes from 9/11, These mandates are alway Changeing and becoming not as strict. Guns and knifes are allowed In checked baggage but in the plane they are not, because is these rules set in place terrorists know how hard it is to take over a plane. It may seem stupid and a waste of time now, but its worth it and the extra small amount of time it requires you to get on the plane should be thanked not hated.

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...

Not all weapons are metal. Many pieces of explosives and some guns and knives are made out of organic materials

True. However, all guns have metal firing mechanisms, and would therefore by caught by WTMD.

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...
"If the body scanners save one life, they are worth their weight in gold."

Except they arguably CAUSE more loss of life than that prevent. For one, the long-term medical effects have not been studied (and the TSA apparently likes it that way!) and for another, those who refuse to fly and drive instead because of them are also at greater risk.

"Keep up the good work. "

Funny definition of "good" ;)

"Actually, I cannot believe some of the idiotic comments made. Blows my mind."

Mine too.

Ellis Steinbeck said...

Bob,

I have noticed that you continually post all the weapons that you have recovered. This is laudable. However, I don't see where any of this contraband was recovered as part of pat-down searches. Could you please tell us what percentage of restricted items are recovered due to enhanced searches.

Also, again, please tell us what our rights our and what the boundaries are for enhanced searches. I think this is particularly important for parents.