Friday, April 12, 2013

TSA Week in Review: Inert Land Mine, Stun Cane, Guns, and More

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.
Inert IED Components (ORF)
Inert IED Components (ORF)

  • A passenger at Norfolk (ORF) had six inert pressure plates, 50 inert initiators, an inert land mine, inert explosives, and two initiation systems in the his bag. The passenger stated he was a military instructor. Remember, even though these are training items, they are designed to look like the real deal. We don’t know they’re inert and we can’t take the passenger’s word for it. A commercial aircraft is not the proper way to transport inert explosive training items or anything that looks like an explosive for that matter. 
  • An inert grenade was discovered in a passenger’s carry-on bag at Dallas Love Field (DAL).

Inert Hand Grenade (DAL)
Inert Hand Grenade (DAL)
44 Firearms Discovered This Week – of the 44 firearms, 38 were loaded and 13 had rounds chambered. See a complete list and more photos at the bottom of this post.

Loaded Firearm (ATL)
Loaded Firearm (ATL)
Stun Guns – Nine 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), Baltimore (BWI), Kansas City (MCI), Los Angeles (LAX), Manchester (MHT), Richmond (RIC), and Shreveport (SHV).

Assorted knives discovered at checkpoints around the country.

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 stun gun built into a cane was discovered at Los Angeles (LAX).
  • A belt buckle knife was discovered at New York (JFK).
  • A knife concealed in a cane was discovered at McGhee Tyson (TYS).

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:

  • After being asked by a ticket agent if he had packed his own bag, a passenger at San Juan (SJU) stated: “I packed my own bag and put a bomb in it.”
  • A passenger at New York (JFK) stated that he had a bomb. Port Authority Police responded and interviewed the passenger who stated that he was 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… 

Firearms Discovered This Week

Five loaded handguns.

Four loaded handguns.

44 guns discovered at checkpoints. 38 loaded.
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.

Explaining The Public Comment Period for Proposed Regulations

The Federal Register is the official daily journal of the United States Government and is the designated vehicle for letting the public know about countless notices every year of proposed rulemaking from all federal agencies. 

Last month, the TSA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register regarding the use of Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT)  as a screening method for commercial travel.  As the proposed rule explains, individuals can submit comments via the online federal rulemaking docket, This process for proposed rules and soliciting comments is used government-wide and is the first step in promulgating regulations.  TSA will review and analyze the public comments to develop a final rule related to the screening process using AIT.

As we have said before, AIT is the best technology currently available to detect non-metallic objects and devices hidden on a passenger (while also detecting metallic and other threats), and is an important part of TSA’s multi-layered security effort.

You can read and comment at the Federal eRulemaking portal  through June 24, 2013.

TSA Blog Team

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