Friday, May 17, 2013

TSA Week in Review: 25 Loaded Firearms Discovered This Week - And Other Items of Note



Firearm and Ammunition (ABQ)
Loaded Firearm and Ammunition (ABQ)
31 Firearms Discovered This Week – of the 31 firearms, 25 were loaded and 13 had rounds chambered. See a complete list and more photos at the bottom of this post. 

Camping Stove Fuel – A camping stove fuel bottle with fuel inside was discovered in a passenger’s carry-on bag at San Francisco (SFO).  The passenger was returning from a camping trip and forgot the fuel was in his bag. If you missed my post on travel tips for campers and fishers, you can check it out here.

Camping Stove Fuel Bottle (SFO)
Camping Stove Fuel Bottle (SFO)
Swords and knives discovered at Oakland.
Plethora of Pointy Things (OAK)

Plethora of Pointy Things – One passenger at Oakland (OAK) had the following in his carry-on bag: two swords, an 11-inch hunting knife, a six-inch throwing knife, two throwing stars, a grappling hook, a credit card knife, a straight razor, and two pocketknives.

PVC Pipe & Printer (ATL)
PVC Pipe & Printer (ATL)

PVC Pipe – I’ve heard that people are using PVC pipes to help protect items from getting damaged while they travel.  While it is a great low-cost way to protect fragile items, it can cause problems at the checkpoint or in checked baggage screening areas and even delays.  PVC pipe (or any kind of pipe) with end caps can resemble a pipe bomb when viewed on the X-ray monitor, especially when there are electronic or other items stuffed inside of it. This is a picture of a PVC pipe with end caps used to protect a portable printer discovered in Atlanta (ATL). 

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 in checkpoint screening. I know they are cool novelty items, but you cannot bring them on a plane. Read here and here on why inert items cause problems.

  • Six inert/replica/novelty grenades were discovered across the nation this week. Four were found in checked baggage at Gulfport (GPT), Honolulu (HNL), and Syracuse (SYR), and two were discovered in carry-on bags at Tampa (TPA) and Salt Lake City (SLC).

Grenades Discovered at (L-R) GPT, HNL, SLC, SYR, TPA
Grenades Discovered at (L-R) GPT, HNL, SLC, SYR, TPA
Stun Guns – Eight stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags around the nation.  Two were discovered at Omaha (OMA), two more at Las Vegas (LAS) and the others at Baltimore (BWI), Atlanta (ATL), San Francisco (SFO), and Omaha (OMA).

Stun Guns Discvoered at (L-R) ATL, OMA, SFO
Stun Guns Discvoered at (L-R) ATL, OMA, SFO
Items in the Strangest Places –It’s important to examine your bags prior to traveling to ensure no prohibited items are inside. If a prohibited item is discovered in your bag, you could be cited and quite possibly arrested by local law enforcement. Here are a few examples from this week where prohibited items were found in strange places.

  • A double-edged 10-inch carving knife was detected under the lining and the handle of a  carry-on bag at Albuquerque (ABQ).
  • A belt buckle knife was discovered at Los Angeles (LAX).
  • A knife was discovered in a carry-on bag at Bradley (BDL) wrapped in paper and concealed in a thermos.

Seven Knives
Knives Discovered at (L-R) MEM, STL, DEN, DTW, JFK, LAX, ABQ
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… 

                                      Firearms Discovered This Week in Carry-On Bags
8 loaded guns.
Discovered at (L-R) DAL, FLL, CRW, ATL, RSW, TYS, ATL, PDX
6 loaded guns.
Discovered at (L-R) CHS, FLO, GTF, DAB, MCO, VPS
2 loaded guns.
Discovered at (Top to Bottom)  MSY, TPA
31 Firearms Discovered This Week – of the 31 firearms, 25 were loaded and 13 had rounds chambered.
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. The 2011 list can be found here. 

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.

32 comments:

RB said...

Is pvc pipe prohibited?

Anonymous said...

With all these pointy things one has to wonder how long before someone tries to bring their horse as carry on.

A. C. MacLeod said...

Keep up the good work. I for one appreciate the work that you are doing.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of people try to embark such items in order to test the efectiveness of the security controls, unaware or not caring about the delays it may cause to other passengers and to themselves.

Anonymous said...

None of those required use of full body scanners to find.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bob, We're all still waiting for TSA's comments/explanations concerning the woman who was bit by the TSA dog while she was waiting to retrieve her luggage. Is this going to be another example where TSA fails to offer any explanation for their abuse of the traveling public? Based on past history, I'm sure you can come up with an explanation that blames the woman for the attack since TSA always follows proper procedures.

SSSS for some reason said...

Blogger Bob said... "The passenger was returning from a camping trip and forgot the fuel was in his bag. If you missed my post on travel tips for campers and fishers, you can check it out here."

The traveler in question was obviously out camping and did not get a chance to read your post. And you failed to report the resolution of the situation.... was the camping fuel discarded? Was the passenger fined or arrested or simply detained and forced to read your previous post.

And the same is true for the PVC example.... What was the resolution of the situation? Was the passenger allowed to keep their printer in it's home-made carrying case? Were they detained long enough to miss their flight?

If you are going to try and use this blog as an attempt at specialized journalism you need to do a better job of actually reporting the information. An lie by omission is still a lie.

common sense said...

I am going to comment on the comments:

MacLeod - It is refreshing to read a common sense comment like this one. The bottom line is that we need security screening for air travel. For now that security is the TSA. The TSA was created by a republican administration with democratic support. Could a private sector security agency do a better job - "you betcha!" In the mean time, can the TSA do a better job? No answer is needed because this is a rhetorical question. Can just about any other federal (or state or city) agency be outdone by he private sector? Again, no answer needed.

While the TSA does it's share of mistakes - large and small - what is the alternative for the time being? Do they occasionally abuse their power? Of course they do but we have to remember that they screen a mind boggling number of people EVERY DAY. I think it is well over a million people EVERY DAY. This means that the number of screw ups they do is very small as compared to the number of people they deal with every day. Does this mean these mistakes excusable. No way!!

When we find mistakes, we must call them on it. This also means not to go over the top on just about everything they do.


SSSS - what is your point about the camping fuel? What happened to the camping fuel? It wasn't allowed on he flight - this is pretty simple and we (including you) should satisfied that it was not allowed on the flight. Would you be more satisfied if it was allowed and that caused the plane to go down? Of course not.

Was the passenger arrested? Of course not or else we would have read about it in the news. What is your point with this? The point the TSA is trying to make is to give us information which is the whole reason for this blog.

The PVC pipe point that you raised. Again what is your point? The PVC pipe and printer are not prohibited items so they probably went on the flight. Again I get the TSA point which is one of the goals of this blog. See the section about this blog - "to facilitate a dialogue about the checkpoint screening process."

I travel a lot and I get their points and I appreciate it. When I find something really Egregious, I will call it to their attention. I won't cry wolf on just about everything they do!

Anonymous said...

I am going to comment on common sense's comments:

The purpose of this blog ostensibly is to create dialogue, but there is NO dialogue: only preaching to the choir of those people who have chosen fear over their Constitutional rights (additionally, in my case, rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.)
Bob and his colleagues seem to think that repeating the same (ill)logic and activity over and over will make it inoffensive and legal, and that directly addressing serious questions about policies and procedures is unnecessary. Since we live in a nation where the government is "by the people, for the people," we should and must be critical of any government organization that disregards our rights for political purposes - and that, my friend, is what is happening here.
Bob and his colleagues continue to parrot policies that keep them employed rather than opening true dialogue or accepting real reform. Instead, they play the politics of fear and they NEVER apologize when they are caught doing something wrong (such as implementing AIT without the required public comment period, going against their own policies by forcing a disabled traveler to remove a brace, and sexually assaulting women who alarm on or opt out of AIT.)
In other words, Bob and his colleagues have proven lacking in any common sense while hiding under "layers of security," "standard operating procedures" which they admit actually change all the time, and a badge that means nothing other than mere employment.

SSSS for some reason said...

common sense asked..."... Was the passenger arrested? Of course not or else we would have read about it in the news. What is your point with this? The point the TSA is trying to make is to give us information which is the whole reason for this blog."

You asked the same question I did and neither the TSA nor you offered an answer.

It was reported that someone used a length of PVC pipe to protect a delicate electronic item. Why was this reported? I understand what it may have looked like on the scanner, but it doesn't answer the question of what happened to the passenger or the item. Is protecting delicate items with PVC a no-go issue now? Should we put our PVC Pipe protected items into their own grey bin for scanning?

What are we as passengers supposed to do when we need to transport more delicate items? And why does the TSA take the stance that we are all terrorists who simply haven't been caught yet? And when are we going to move the TSA into a more effective role of providing security in the same way that the FAA manages flights? When is the TSA going to move into a administrative role and not provide the actual security staffing and doing so in the most ineffective and inefficient means possible?

Anonymous said...

Thanks TSA, I appreciate all you do to help keep me and my family safe. Like any oher business you are not perfect and you must work with the guidekines provided. I am sure sometimes your agents go a little overboard at times.

A couple of comments on post I have read.

I do not not believe a private sector security firm could do better than TSA.

I believe you should suspend the service dog for one week without pay for biting the woman.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that the purpose of the post regarding the PVC Pipe was to inform/remind people simple things such as electronics inside a pipe can cause a delay because they look like a bomb on the XRay.As for the passenger being arrested-probably not. They didn't have anything that was prohibited. Same thing with the camping fuel.

" Common Sense " had it right -call em' out when they get it wrong.

RB said...

" Common Sense " had it right -call em' out when they get it wrong.

May 20, 2013 at 9:38 AM
.................

TSA has it wrong everyday.

Treating travelers as potential terrorist until proven otherwise is the wrong path.

The likelihood of any one of the 1.5 million people who fly each day of being a terrorist approaches 0%. TSA's whole methodology is wrong and should be tossed out.

Anonymous said...

***Remember - we have absolutely no idea what an item "looks like" on a freaken x-ray scanner nor do we care. Don't they hand check all items found that look suspicious or unspecified anyway. How is it that we all are now responsible for how they think an item looks or how they feel about an item being carried aboard a flight. When they find an item to investigate further, for cause, they should go "good - it's not what I thought I saw". Learn from it and consider it as doing there job. The passenger didn't cause the delay, if any. The TSA agent did. If we cause a delay for a security concern, we are arrested for Disturbing a commercial airline or some such mess. Some people here are too agressive at going after the TSA for anything. The TSA, as a whole, is likewise too agressive at completing what they consider to be their mission. We need to all use our heads, please...Regards

Jim said...

Anonymous said ...
They didn't have anything that was prohibited. Same thing with the camping fuel.

I beg to differ. Though it is likely to cause delay, a printer inside PVC pipe is probably not prohibited. On the other hand, camping fuel most definitely is. Though I suspect that the camper had no ill intent,camping fuels are clearly prohibited per the TSA website. Even inadvertently packing a prohibited item could result in an arrest (or at least a significant period of questioning that could cause a passenger to miss a flight).

CliffOnTheRoad said...

PVC pipe causes delays. I don't care because never has a checked bag exploded. In the same light, inert hand grenades should also be allowed on the plane after the agent changes his pants. Checked bags only, since come idiot would display it inside the cabin.

Dear Moderator; when the freak R U going to change Anonymous to an IP address or random number generator.

Remember - some people have given darn good advice, and you should forward it up the ladder. Better displays of prohibited items is one such suggestion.

Or are you like a doctor reporting the # of sick people while not trying to cure anyone? Self importance.

GSOLTSO said...

RB sez - "Is pvc pipe prohibited?"
(There were also other comments of the same nature by other posters)

No, this was simply to let people that may use PVC pipe for similar reasons that they may encouonter some extra time at the checkpoint. It was sort of a public awareness advisement, since it seems to be a growing trend.

A.C. Macleod sez - "Keep up the good work. I for one appreciate the work that you are doing."

Thank you, we will certainly keep trying!

Anon sez - "They didn't have anything that was prohibited. Same thing with the camping fuel."

Actually, the camping fuel is on the prohibited list, as indicated in the original post, and you can also see other items on the prohib list here:
http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/prohibited-items

West
TSA Blog Team

@SkyWayManAz said...

I rarely jump on you guys for repeated posts about inert items resembling weapons, except in this case. Most of the time the point is that it looks like a weapon. If it looks like a weapon it shouldn't be in your bags period. If for no other reason than the amount of time it wastes figuring out the item isn't a problem. The problem I'm having is that if PVC pipe really is making you guys suspect it is a pipe bomb why isn't it a banned item? This is not an uncommon item that most people would not associate with a weapon. The post made no indication whether this was a checked bag or carry on so we have no idea if the passenger was there to open it up and show the screener there was no problem. I searched your app for PVC pipe and no matching items found. When I search for pipe I get the following results: epipen, metal pipe, steel pipe, tobacco pipe, pipe cleaners, smoking pipe, bagpipe, nothing at all about PVC pipe. This isn't the first time there has been a post on this issue guys. If you don't put it out there in a clear consistent way that there's a problem with PVC pipe you can't keep complaining the public should know better. You had a post about a water filter making much the same points. At least that item is in your app but it says permitted in checked and carry on so no help there.

Susan Richart said...

OK, Blogger Bob, we recently learned that the TSA will cease scanning amputees with prothestic limbs with CastScan.

We learned at the same time that some amputees were having up to 18 x-rays taken of their prosthesis!!!!

Who in heavens name ever thought that was a "safe" procedure and allowed such an abuse of x-rays to happen?

It looks like the Amputee Coalition finally stepped up to the plate and demanded that the TSA stop irradiating amputees. Good for them!

Now it's time that other advocacy groups, such as AARP and RAINN also approach that plate and start demanding decent treatment of those they serve.

The next question is: is CastScan going to go the way of the backscatter Nude Body Scanners and be totally abolished?

screen shot

RB said...

Are TSA Drug Dogs taught to bite people?

Chris Boyce said...

I would like to congratulate Bob on an important milestone. You have now invented a post that takes up an entire page, thereby ensuring that any bad news is almost immediately pushed out of view. You and your administrator must be proud.

Anonymous said...

<<< RB said...
" Common Sense " had it right -call em' out when they get it wrong.

May 20, 2013 at 9:38 AM
.................

TSA has it wrong everyday.

Treating travelers as potential terrorist until proven otherwise is the wrong path. >>

So, RB, is it wrong for companies to treat job applicants as potential 'drug users' for administering drug tests?




@SkyWayManAz said...

CliffOnTheRoad said...

"I don't care because never has a checked bag exploded."

You don't have to search very hard online to find numerous examples of checked bags that have exploded. I'd cite examples but locations cited have a way of getting my posts tossed in the delete-o-meter.

Common sense said...

I have more comments on some of these comments, the only problem is where do I start.

I'll start with a general comment. I have worked in management for many years including a long stint in retail for a fortune 500 company. When a legimate complaint came my way, I always looked at this as a gift and thanked the person making the complaint.

It is not possible for mgmt to be everywhere so complaints are always needed to make mgmt aware of what is going on when they are not looking. Also, many complaints are communication/information based. That is one of the purposes of this blog - communication.

To many of the posters on here including RB - you lose credibility when complain about everything. You lose even more credibility with a comment such as "The TSA has it wrong everyday."

WHAT THE TSA DOES EACH AND EVERY DAY IS TRUELY MIND BOGLING. THEY SCREEN WELL OVER 600,000,000 (that is 600 MILLION) PASSENGERS EVERY YEAR! THEY SCREEN APPROX 1,500,000,000 (that is 1.5 BILLION) BAGS A YEAR! To help put these numbers into perspective, this great nation that we live in has about 315 million people.

For the record, I strongly believe in a much smaller government. For the most part, the government "can't walk and chew gum at the same time."

While I respectively disagree with most of what "SSSS" posts, I do agree that the TSA should have an administrative role and oversee private security. I believe many federal agencies should just provide excellent oversight and leave the frontline work to the private sector.

Allow this being stated, an overwhelming number of TSA employees are doing a great job (note: look at the MIND-BOGLING numbers above). The TSA is staffed by (for the most part) by normal, regular people. There are moms, dads, aunts, uncles, college students, young, old and all races. Are there bad apples out there - "you betcha."

But you have to remember, they work under a myriad of gvmt rules and regulations. Do you know how long it takes to hire and fire federal employees? Do you know how hard it is to fire an incompetent federal employee? These realities are not the falult of the TSA. It is the fault of congress that writes these rules/regulations.

The TSA - give them a break when they deserve it (which is most of the time) and call them on questionable behavior and seek clarification on things you do not know or understand.

I look very forward to reading comments on my comments.

Have a great day while enjoying all that our GREAT nation has to offer - even with all of its faults.

Thank you to the TSA for all of the screening that you do (see #s above) and for working under the incredible conditions you work under. Also, thank you for dealing with the unreasonable people that you must deal with each and every day while you are ONLY TRYING TO JUST DO YOUR JOB,

Anonymous said...

@SkyWayManAz said...
If it looks like a weapon it shouldn't be in your bags period.

And how exactly are we, the traveling public, supposed to know what does and does not look like 'a weapon' to the TSA?

I mean, they ban WATER because they think it might be a bomb. They make us take off our SHOES, because they might be bombs. They stopped a woman from carrying a CUPCAKE because it might be a bomb. Here, lady, drink your BREASTMILK- it might be a bomb! Can't take that PURSE with an embroidered gun on the side on the plane, people might think it's a real weapon. Can't carry a POCKETKNIFE, but feel free to take 10 inch steel knitting needles. No NAIL CLIPPERS (that 1 inch file/blade is dangerous!), but you can take scissors with 4 inch blades. Here- gimme grandpa's ASHES and let me poke around in them- his remains might be a bomb! Hey, lady, here's some pliers, pull out those NIPPLE PIERCINGS- they might be weapons!

How exactly are we supposed to know what they will think is a weapon/bomb next?

Susan Richart said...

Chris Boyce wrote: "....You have now invented a post that takes up an entire page, thereby ensuring that any bad news is almost immediately pushed out of view....."

Thanks for bringing this to the fore. I'd noticed the same thing.

@Common Sense:

I for one applaud RB for keeping many important issues with the TSA in our sight. Without his constant reminders, many would forget about the multitude of TSA transgressions and the fact that this blog is nothing about "dialogue."

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RB said...

Common sense said...
I have more comments on some of these comments, the only problem is where do I start.

I'll start with a general comment. I have worked in management for many years including a long stint in retail for a fortune 500 company. When a legimate complaint came my way, I always looked at this as a gift and thanked the person making the complaint.

It is not possible for mgmt to be everywhere so complaints are always needed to make mgmt aware of what is going on when they are not looking. Also, many complaints are communication/information based. That is one of the purposes of this blog - communication.

To many of the posters on here including RB - you lose credibility when complain about everything. You lose even more credibility with a comment such as "The TSA has it wrong everyday

............................
Common sense you claim that I lose credibility but the fact of the matter is that TSA has ZERO credibility.

My issues with TSA revolve around two incidences that TSA took absolutely no action to investigate. One involved an attempted theft by a TSA screener at a FLL Checkpoint. I made TSA aware of this incident and the FLL FSD covered up the issue.

The second was at DFW and a TSA screener became so angry that I thought he was about to strike me. I made TSA aware of that incident and again nothing was done.

The day that TSA takes steps to effectively deal with complaints from the public is the day I might lay off of my continuing commentary against TSA.

TSA needs to learn that the traveling public is not the enemy.

Anonymous said...

Nude body scanners were not needed to detect any of these items.

The federal government is asking for the public's comments on nude body scanners here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=TSA-2013-0004.

(Screenshot taken in case this comment is censored because I called a spade a spade.)

cape town airport said...

those are really good tips but if you are flying dont think you are allowed half of the stuff there.

Wintermute said...

RB said...

"TSA needs to learn that the traveling public is not the enemy."

This is the single most reasonable anyone has ever said on this blog, period. It cuts straight to the crux of the problem. The TSA views us, the travelling public, as the enemy. Even if they claim they do not, their actions prove otherwise. And, of course, the rights we hold so dearly (well, some of us do. Others seem to take them for granted or worse, just toss them aside as unimportant to them) don't apply to the enemy.

Anonymous said...

Wintermute said...

RB said...

"TSA needs to learn that the traveling public is not the enemy."

This is the single most reasonable anyone has ever said on this blog, period. It cuts straight to the crux of the problem. The TSA views us, the travelling public, as the enemy. Even if they claim they do not, their actions prove otherwise. And, of course, the rights we hold so dearly (well, some of us do. Others seem to take them for granted or worse, just toss them aside as unimportant to them) don't apply to the enemy. May 28, 2013 at 11:58 PM


The TSA has had over ten years to figure out the flying public is not the enemy. They choose to continue to view, and treat, us that way.

The TSA has set up a hostile environment for their employees and their customers, the flying public. They intentionally created a disgusting Catch-22 situation for every single flyer - have a naked picture taken of you or be sexually assaulted...or both.

By not allowing checked baggage to be properly locked, the TSA has made it convenient for TSA and airport employees to be thieves. Even though the thieves may be a small percentage of the overall tens of thousands of baggage handling/groping employees, all must now be suspect in the eyes of the flying public due to TSA rules.

Finally, this blog and the "public relations" team for the TSA has done so much to damage the department's reputation by lying, obfuscating, and blaming the flying public, it must be department policy that to the TSA, the flying public is the enemy.

This is so sad and never had to be this way.

screenshot

Anonymous said...

Whats the point of all the arguing about guns.