Friday, March 29, 2013

TSA Week in Review: A Look at Some of the More Interesting Items our Officers Found This Week

Replica Grenade (CLT)
Replica Grenade (CLT)
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.

  • There were two separate incidents this week at Seattle (SEA) where inert items used for training (not TSA) about explosives were discovered in checked baggage. Electric detonators were discovered in one incident, and a block of inert C4 with duct tape and wires protruding in another. These items are never permitted on commercial aircraft. Other preparations must be made to have your training aids at your destination.
  • A replica WWII German “Potato Masher” grenade was discovered in checked baggage at Charlotte (CLT). It was a gift for the passenger’s son. I would have loved to have had one of these when I was a kid. But… a commercial airliner is not the right place to transport anything that looks like a real grenade.

32 Firearms Discovered This Week – of the 32 firearms, 27 were loaded and five had rounds chambered. See a complete list and more photos at the bottom of this post.

Loaded Pistol (DEN)
Loaded Pistol (DEN)
Ammunition – Ammo is ok to be transported within checked baggage as long as you follow the proper guidelines, but it is never permitted in carry-on baggage. Here are a couple of photos of ammunition our officers found in carry-on bags this week.


Stun Guns – Ten stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags around the nation.  Two were discovered at San Francisco (SFO), and the others at Atlanta (ATL), Burlington (BTV), Denver (DEN), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Kansas City (MCI), Mercedita (PSE), New York LaGuardia (LGA), and San Diego (SAN).

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 flying out of San Juan told the ticket agent that her bag contained a bomb and she was going to blow up the plane. After it was all said and done, her bag didn’t have a bomb, but as a result of her threat, the ticket counter, checkpoint, and terminal were closed for nearly an hour. There were consequences.

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.
2 loaded firearms.

6 loaded firearms.

32 Firearms Discovered This Week – of the 32 firearms, 27 were loaded and five 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.