Friday, May 17, 2013

TSA Week in Review: 25 Loaded Firearms Discovered This Week - And Other Items of Note



Firearm and Ammunition (ABQ)
Loaded Firearm and Ammunition (ABQ)
31 Firearms Discovered This Week – of the 31 firearms, 25 were loaded and 13 had rounds chambered. See a complete list and more photos at the bottom of this post. 

Camping Stove Fuel – A camping stove fuel bottle with fuel inside was discovered in a passenger’s carry-on bag at San Francisco (SFO).  The passenger was returning from a camping trip and forgot the fuel was in his bag. If you missed my post on travel tips for campers and fishers, you can check it out here.

Camping Stove Fuel Bottle (SFO)
Camping Stove Fuel Bottle (SFO)
Swords and knives discovered at Oakland.
Plethora of Pointy Things (OAK)

Plethora of Pointy Things – One passenger at Oakland (OAK) had the following in his carry-on bag: two swords, an 11-inch hunting knife, a six-inch throwing knife, two throwing stars, a grappling hook, a credit card knife, a straight razor, and two pocketknives.

PVC Pipe & Printer (ATL)
PVC Pipe & Printer (ATL)

PVC Pipe – I’ve heard that people are using PVC pipes to help protect items from getting damaged while they travel.  While it is a great low-cost way to protect fragile items, it can cause problems at the checkpoint or in checked baggage screening areas and even delays.  PVC pipe (or any kind of pipe) with end caps can resemble a pipe bomb when viewed on the X-ray monitor, especially when there are electronic or other items stuffed inside of it. This is a picture of a PVC pipe with end caps used to protect a portable printer discovered in Atlanta (ATL). 

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.

  • Six inert/replica/novelty grenades were discovered across the nation this week. Four were found in checked baggage at Gulfport (GPT), Honolulu (HNL), and Syracuse (SYR), and two were discovered in carry-on bags at Tampa (TPA) and Salt Lake City (SLC).

Grenades Discovered at (L-R) GPT, HNL, SLC, SYR, TPA
Grenades Discovered at (L-R) GPT, HNL, SLC, SYR, TPA
Stun Guns – Eight stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags around the nation.  Two were discovered at Omaha (OMA), two more at Las Vegas (LAS) and the others at Baltimore (BWI), Atlanta (ATL), San Francisco (SFO), and Omaha (OMA).

Stun Guns Discvoered at (L-R) ATL, OMA, SFO
Stun Guns Discvoered at (L-R) ATL, OMA, SFO
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 double-edged 10-inch carving knife was detected under the lining and the handle of a  carry-on bag at Albuquerque (ABQ).
  • A belt buckle knife was discovered at Los Angeles (LAX).
  • A knife was discovered in a carry-on bag at Bradley (BDL) wrapped in paper and concealed in a thermos.

Seven Knives
Knives Discovered at (L-R) MEM, STL, DEN, DTW, JFK, LAX, ABQ
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… 

                                      Firearms Discovered This Week in Carry-On Bags
8 loaded guns.
Discovered at (L-R) DAL, FLL, CRW, ATL, RSW, TYS, ATL, PDX
6 loaded guns.
Discovered at (L-R) CHS, FLO, GTF, DAB, MCO, VPS
2 loaded guns.
Discovered at (Top to Bottom)  MSY, TPA
31 Firearms Discovered This Week – of the 31 firearms, 25 were loaded and 13 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. 

Bob Burns 
TSA Blog Team 

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