Friday, March 22, 2013

TSA Week in Review: Firearms, Grenades, Stun Guns, and More



Non-Metallic Tactical Spike Found With AIT  (DSM)
Non-Metallic Tactical Spike Found With AIT  (DSM)

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.

  • Officers at Des Moines (DSM) discovered an 8-inch non-metallic tactical spike in a passenger’s sock after he alarmed Advanced Imaging Technology.
  • A passenger at Philadelphia had forgotten about the switchblade in his pocket. Our officers reminded him about the knife after it was detected by Advanced Imaging Technology.
  • A 4-inch knife was discovered concealed under the bag lining in the pull handle mechanism at Westchester (HPN).
  • A passenger at Washington Dulles (IAD) was as surprised as our officers were when they discovered a knife inside her cane. She said that she bought the cane at an antique store and had no idea the blade was concealed inside.

3 large knives.

32 Firearms Discovered This Week – of the 32 firearms, 23 were loaded and seven had rounds chambered. See a complete list and more photos at the bottom of this post.

Loaded Firearm (MDW)
Loaded Firearm (MDW)
A total of eight inert/novelty/replica grenades were found this week in checked baggage. Two were discovered at Medford (MFR), two more at South Bend (SBN), and the others were found at Phoenix (PHX), Anchorage (ANC), Tulsa (TUL), and Las Vegas (LAS).

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.

  • A total of eight inert/novelty/replica grenades were found this week in checked baggage. Two were discovered at Medford (MFR), two more at South Bend (SBN), and the others were found at Phoenix (PHX), Anchorage (ANC), Tulsa (TUL), and Las Vegas (LAS).

Stun Guns – Eight stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags around the nation at Baltimore (BWI), Burbank (BUR), Burlington (BTV), Denver (DEN), Kansas City (MCI), Minneapolis (MSP), San Diego (SAN), and San Francisco (SFO).

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:

  • An Amarillo (AMA) passenger arrived to the checkpoint visibly upset and during screening, he told the officer: “I don’t have any bombs, at least not yet.”

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.
7 loaded firearms.


32 Firearms Discovered This Week – of the 32 firearms, 23 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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