Friday, March 15, 2013

TSA Week in Review: Smoke Grenade, Flare Gun & More

Flare Gun (HOU)
Flare Gun (HOU)

Flare Gun – A passenger at Houston Hobby (HOU) had an unusual item in his carry-on bag: A flare gun and six loose flares! 

21 Firearms Discovered This Week – of the 21 firearms, 20 were loaded and seven had rounds chambered. Here are pictures of some of the firearms. See a complete list and more photos at the bottom of this post.

Loaded Gun (FLL)
Loaded Gun (FLL)
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.

Live Smoke Grenade (IAD)
Live Smoke Grenade (IAD)

  • A live smoke grenade was discovered under the lining of a carry-on bag at Washington Dulles (IAD).
  • Three inert/replica/novelty grenades were discovered this week in carry-on bags at Medford (MFR), El Paso (ELP), and Harrisburg (MDT).

Two inert grenades.

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 3-inch belt buckle knife was discovered at Newark (EWR).
  • A 3-inch knife was discovered in a passenger’s belongings at Boise (BOI). The TSA Officer allowed him to exit the checkpoint so he could give the knife to a non-traveling friend. When the passenger made his return trip through the checkpoint, the knife was discovered concealed inside his shoe.

Belt Buckle Knife (EWR)
Belt Buckle Knife (EWR)

Stun Guns – Nine stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags around the nation: Two were discovered at Baltimore (BWI) and six others were discovered at Charlotte (CLT), Lincoln (LNK), Los Angeles (LAX), Northwest Florida Beaches (ECP), Seattle (SEA), Savannah (SAV), and Washington Dulles (IAD).

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:

  • A passenger at San Juan (SJU) told the gate agent that she had an atomic bomb in her bag. She had to explain to Puerto Rico Port Authority Police, FBI, and TSA that she was just joking.

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…

8 large knives.

                                                    Firearms Discovered This Week

3 loaded firearms.
6 loaded firearms.

21 Firearms Discovered This Week – of the 21 firearms, 20 were loaded and seven 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.

Bob Burns 
TSA Blog Team 

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