Friday, April 26, 2013

TSA Week in Review: 40 Firearms Discovered This Week. Human Skull Fragments Too!

40 Firearms Discovered This Week – of the 40 firearms, 31 were loaded and six had rounds chambered. See a complete list and more photos at the bottom of this post.

Loaded Firearm Discovered at AGS
Loaded Firearm Discovered at AGS
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 knife was discovered concealed in the battery compartment of a laptop computer in a carry-on bag at Oakland (OAK).
Skull Fragments - If you are a regular reader of this weekly report, you know that our officers find some of the strangest things. Well… get ready for this one. While searching clay pots in a checked baggage location at Fort Lauderdale (FLL), our officers discovered human skull fragments! While the fragments weren’t a security threat, they did slow screening down a bit since the area quickly became a crime scene! The passengers had just purchased the pots, they said, stating that they had no idea skull fragments were inside.
Skull Fragments Discovered at FLL
Skull Fragments Discovered at 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.

  • A replica grenade was discovered in a checked bag at Phoenix (PHX). 
Stun Guns – Eight stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags around the nation.  Two were discovered at Las Vegas (LAS), and the others at Burbank (BUR), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Memphis (MEM), New Bern (EWN), Northwest Florida Regional (VPS), 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:

  • A passenger at Miami (MIA), on his way to the restroom told the Sky Lounge bartender: “Take care of my briefcase, there is a bomb inside.” Two flights were delayed for one hour, affecting 280 passengers. This person was arrested on a state charge.
  • During a bag search at Minneapolis St. Paul (MSP), a passenger stated: “Go ahead, and check my bag. There may be a bomb in it.” Police Officers responded and determined the passenger was intoxicated and cited him on a local charge. 
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…

Sword Discovered in Carry-on Bag at LAX

Guns Discovered at (L-R) DEN, CLT, IAH, IAD, LAS, PIT, MSY
Guns Discovered at (L-R) DEN, CLT, IAH, IAD, LAS, PIT, MSY
Guns Discovered at (L-R) MAF, SHV, TUL, CLT, HSV
Guns Discovered at (L-R) MAF, SHV, TUL, CLT, HSV

40 Firearms Discovered This Week – of the 40 firearms, 31 were loaded and six 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.

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