Friday, January 31, 2014

TSA Week in Review – 37 Firearms Discovered This Week (32 Loaded)



Firearm Discovered at OKC
Firearm Discovered at OKC

37 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 37 firearms, 32 were loaded and 18 had rounds chambered. See a complete list and more photos at the bottom of this post.
discovered replica grenades
Replica Grenades (L-R) DFW, ORD
Inert Ordnance and Grenades etc. - We continue to find inert hand grenades and other weaponry on a weekly basis. Please keep in mind that if an item looks like a realistic bomb, grenade, mine, etc., it is prohibited. When these items are found at a checkpoint or in checked baggage, they can cause significant delays in checkpoint screening. While they may be novelty items, you cannot bring them on a plane. Read here on why inert items cause problems.

  • A replica grenade was detected in the carry-on bag at Chicago O’Hare (ORD).
  • Five replica 40mm inert grenades were discovered in a checked bag at Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW).
Credit Card Knife (RAP)
Credit Card Knife (RAP)
Artfully Concealed Prohibited Items – 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 or on your body, 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 by our officers in strange places.
  • Three credit card knives were discovered this week at Albuquerque (ABQ), and Rapid City (RAP).

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…
   
Left to Right - Top to Bottom: Items discovered at CLE, OMA, ORD, JFK
Left to Right - Top to Bottom: Items discovered at CLE, OMA, ORD, JFK
Knives Discovered in One Passenger's Bag at CLT
Knives Discovered in One Passenger's Bag at CLT
Stun Guns12 stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags around the nation. Two were discovered at Minneapolis (MSP), two at Denver (DEN), two more at Las Vegas (LAS), and the remainder were found at Baltimore (BWI), Cleveland (CLE), Sioux Falls (FSD), Seattle (SEA), San Jose (SJC), and Sacramento (SMF).

Firearms Discovered This Week in Carry-On Bags 



Left to Right - Top to Bottom: Guns Discovered at MFR, SEA, TPA, HOU, SFB, SDF, MCO, TYS, CPR
Left to Right - Top to Bottom: Guns Discovered at MFR, SEA, TPA, HOU, SFB, SDF, MCO, TYS, CPR
37 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 37 firearms, 32 were loaded and 18 had rounds chambered.
*In order to provide a timely weekly update, date is compiled from a preliminary report. The year-end numbers will vary slightly from what is reported in the weekly updates. However, any monthly, midyear, or end-of-year numbers TSA provides on this blog or elsewhere will be actual numbers and not estimates.



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.

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.

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

The TSA of Today



Many of the TSA procedures and policies referenced in a recent opinion piece are no longer in place or are characterized inaccurately. Today’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) looks quite different.  Today’s TSA has moved away from a one-size-fits-all approach, and toward a risk-based security posture to better execute our vital mission.

TSA’s top priority is to protect the traveling public, and every policy and security procedure in place is designed to mitigate threats to passengers and the aviation sector – which we know our adversaries continue to target.  We are always taking steps to enhance our procedures, to most importantly stay ahead of evolving threats, and wherever possible to also improve the experience of the traveling public.  

Today’s TSA is expedited screening for passengers 12 and under and over 75 and Wounded Warriors, as well as providing every military member the ability to utilize TSA Pre™.

Since implementing risk-based procedures in 2011, more than 55 million passengers have experienced some form of expedited security screening – dramatically different than the procedures of years past. You can learn more about our expedited screening opportunities, like TSA Pre™ and how to apply, here.

Every passenger deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and TSA policy upholds this standard. TSA does not tolerate any form of unethical or unlawful behavior by its employees and takes swift disciplinary action if discovered.

In addition, over the last few years TSA has installed Automated Target Recognition software on every Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) unit in use, meaning the machines no longer produce or use passenger-specific images - and haven't for some time.

Most importantly, TSA has instituted one-step removal procedures in many cases for employees behaving unethically or unlawfully. We perform integrity testing every day to ensure the men and women entrusted to interact with the American public are honest and trustworthy. There is no room in today’s TSA for any employee who displays callous disregard for the dignity and respect of every single passenger. 

Every day, TSA helps to screen nearly two million travelers across the United States, so they can take advantage of the opportunity to travel freely and securely from America’s airports. Today’s TSA will continue to uphold our high standards as we carry out our vital homeland security mission.
 
LuAnn Canipe, Assistant Administrator, Transportation Security Administration

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

TSA Travel Tips Tuesday: Super Bowl XLVIII



Football on field.
Photo Courtesy of www.goodyearaz.gov
With masses of people expected to travel to and from the New York area for Super Bowl XLVIII, I thought that a few tips on getting in and out of the area as conveniently as possible would help.

Thousands of additional football fans are expected to travel to and from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) this weekend for Super Bowl XLVIII. Arrivals will steadily increase as game day approaches, with the busiest travel days being Friday through Saturday. While the bulk of additional travelers likely will be at EWR, passengers should also plan to see an increase at both JFK and LGA.

The busiest day is expected to be on Monday when football fans begin their journey home. But don’t let the word “busiest” worry you. TSA will be operating on a 24/7 schedule so passengers can clear security and reach their gates as quickly and securely as possible. We’re also bringing in about 200 additional officers from around the country, including JFK and LGA so we can increase the number of open lanes at the checkpoint at EWR. Speaking of checkpoints, a new four-lane checkpoint just opened at EWR on Monday. 

Items you may WANT to bring on the plane; but CAN’T… (Also take a look at our “Can I Bring My…” tool, and permitted/prohibited items list for more info)

  • Air horns: Air horns are prohibited in both carry-on and checked baggage. It’s a compressed can of air which is prohibited, but can you imagine the reaction from passengers if one of those things went off in the cabin?
  • Concealment flasks: We’ve seen them all. Binocular flasks, beer bellies, cell phone flasks, cane flasks, pen flasks, flip-flop flasks, you name it… You may be able to sneak these into concerts and sporting events, but we’ll detect them at the airport. Please purchase your libations in New Jersey if you’re not going to check them in your baggage. You can however have 3.4 oz. or less bottles of approved liquids in a baggie per liquids guidelines. Read here for information on traveling with alcohol.
  • Propane tanks: Propane tanks contain a compressed flammable gas that can’t be brought on the plane at all.
  • Gas heaters and stoves: These are popular items at tailgating events, but if gasoline can be smelled, the item won’t be permitted. For propane powered items, see above.
  • Food Items: Here is a list of items that should be placed in your checked bags instead of your carry-on bags to comply with our liquids guidelines: Creamy dips and spreads, BBQ sauce, cheeses, peanut butter, salsa, jams, salad dressings, jellies, maple syrup, sauces, soups, wine, liquor and beer.

Super Bowl fans may encounter TSA Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams on local transportation venues, including commercial and general aviation facilities and mass transit. Teams augment other federal, state, and local transportation and law enforcement to reduce potential terrorist risks to the traveling public.

Most fans are getting to the stadium via mass transit where TSA officers will be conducting security screening at on the way to the game. So build in an extra few minutes to your travel schedule when headed for the stadium.

Fans are encouraged to report potentially dangerous situations to law enforcement or someone in authority. The Department of Homeland Security’s “If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign reminds the American public that security is a shared responsibility. "If You See Something, Say Something™" used with permission of the NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 

Follow @TSABlogTeam on Twitter and Instagram!  

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.

Friday, January 24, 2014

TSA Blog Year in Review: 2013


Every day, Transportation Security Officers interact with nearly two million travelers across the United States with a single goal in mind – ensuring the safety of the traveling public.

TSA had a busy year in 2013, screening 638,705,790 passengers in 2013 (over 1,700,000 per day), which is  1,123,668 more passengers than last year.

Sadly, this year marked the first incident where a TSA officer, Gerardo I. Hernandez, was killed in the line of duty at Los Angeles International Airport. 

In many ways, Transportation Security Officers are the public face of our nation’s security. It is difficult work, requiring patience, stamina, and great attention to detail. It requires extensive training and constant vigilance. This year’s tragic incident reminds us that being on the frontline also comes with a great risk. It is a risk that the men and women of TSA undertake willingly knowing that in doing so they are serving a higher cause, and a noble one – protecting the men and women of the United States every day.

We wanted to share with you examples of the continued vigilance of TSA officers in protecting our nation’s transportation systems, including some of the most unusual items TSA caught at the checkpoints this year. 

1,813 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging nearly five firearms per day. Of those, 1,477 (81%) were loaded. Firearms were intercepted at a total of 205 airports with Atlanta (ATL) on top of the list for the most firearms intercepted (111) in 2013. 

There was a 16.5% increase (257) in firearm discoveries from last year’s total of 1,556. 

Top Five Airports for Gun Catches in 2013


Some of the Loaded Firearms Discovered in Carry-on Baggage in 2013
Some of the Loaded Firearms Discovered in Carry-on Baggage in 2013
  1. (ATL) - 111 Guns Discovered
  2. (DFW) - 96 Guns Discovered
  3. (IAH) - 68 Guns Discovered
  4. (PHX) - 66 Guns Discovered
  5. (DEN) - 51 Guns Discovered

Here are a few of the more notable firearm incidents: 

Loaded Gun (BDL)
Loaded Gun (BDL)
A loaded .380 pistol with eight rounds was discovered on the lower left leg of a passenger at Bradley Hartford (BDL) after the weapon alarmed the Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT). 

A loaded .45 caliber pistol with six rounds and one chambered was discovered strapped to the ankle of a Pittsburgh (PIT) passenger during a pat-down after he had opted out of AIT. 

 
Loaded Gun (PIT)
Loaded Gun (PIT)
A .25 caliber firearm loaded with 10 rounds was discovered hidden under the lining of a carry-on bag at Cedar Rapids (CID).


A passenger at Salt Lake City (SLC) received a pat-down after an anomaly was detected during advanced imaging technology screening. 

During the pat-down, officers discovered a fully loaded .22 caliber firearm inside his boot.
Loaded Gun (CID)
Loaded Gun (CID)

Using imaging technology, a .380 pistol loaded with seven rounds and one chambered was discovered in the pocket of a passenger at Dallas Fort Worth (DFW).

While resolving an alarm on checked baggage, officers at Boston Logan (BOS) discovered a fully disassembled 30-30 rifle concealed within the lining of the bag and taped to the straps. Police responded and ran a check on the serial number of the rifle, revealing that it had been stolen.

In what was believed to be an attempt to avoid declaring his firearms, a passenger at Houston (IAH) wrapped two guns in newspaper and placed them in a box of detergent powder in his checked baggage.  

Seven undeclared firearms were found concealed in a checked toolbox at Miami (MIA).

A shotgun was discovered in a checked golf bag at Detroit (DTW).

An unloaded .45 caliber pistol and four magazines were hidden in a cassette deck in checked baggage.

Left to Right: Unassembled Rifle (BOS), Shotgun in Golf Bag (DTW), Seven Firearms in Toolbox (MIA), Guns In Detergent (IAH)
Left to Right: Unassembled Rifle (BOS), Shotgun in Golf Bag (DTW), Seven Firearms in Toolbox (MIA), Guns In Detergent (IAH)
In addition to firearms discovered this year, there were many unsafe items that passengers attempted to travel with this year including:
24 Pounds of Black Powder (MDW)
24 Pounds of Black Powder (MDW)

Ten canisters containing 24-pounds of black powder were discovered in checked baggage at Chicago Midway (MDW). 

A live blasting cap was discovered along with an M60 fuse lighter in a passenger’s checked bag at the Manhattan Regional Airport (MHK) in Kansas.

Over nine ounces of black powder was discovered in a carry-on bag at Cleveland (CLE).
Blasting Cap and Fuse Initiator (MHK)
Blasting Cap and Fuse Initiator (MHK)

A camping stove fuel bottle with fuel was discovered in a passenger’s carry-on bag at San Francisco (SFO).

After causing an alarm in checked baggage, Officers found a 3.2 ounce flask of black powder, 22 feet of fuse, a large empty CO2 cartridge, and miscellaneous ammunition in a passenger’s bag at Anchorage (ANC).

While resolving an alarm in a checked bag at Honolulu (HNL), a TSA officer discovered two one-pound cans of black powder.
 
Left - Right / Top - Bottom: Black Powder & Fuse (ANC), Two Pounds of Black Powder (HNL), Nine Ounces of Black Powder (CLE), and Camping Stove Fuel (SFO)
Left - Right / Top - Bottom: Black Powder & Fuse (ANC), Two Pounds of Black Powder (HNL), Nine Ounces of Black Powder (CLE), and Camping Stove Fuel (SFO)
TSA officers also find inert items that look very real. The problem with these types of items is that we don’t know if they are real, toys or replicas until we call out the explosive experts. Inert items can lead to disruption, closed terminals and checkpoints, which often result in canceled or delayed flights. Here are some of the more interesting inert items we’ve found so far this year:  

Inert Suicide Vest (IND)
Inert Suicide Vest (IND)
After alarming in checked baggage, our officers discovered an inert suicide vest. The vest was a training aid used by an explosives instructor.

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.An inert Claymore mine was discovered in a checked bag at San Jose (SJC). 
Inert IED (ORD)
Inert IED (ORD)

An inert bandolier line charge was discovered after it alarmed in checked baggage at Norfolk (ORF). 

Seven inert blasting caps were discovered in checked baggage at Greenbrier County Airport (LWB). 

Electricdetonators and a blockof inert C4 with duct tape and wires protruding were discovered in two separate incidents at Seattle (SEA) in checked baggage.
Inert Claymore Mine (SJU)
Inert Claymore Mine (SJU)

A gag retirement gift designed to look like an improvisedexplosive device was discovered on the X-ray at St. Petersburg / Clearwater (PIE). 

Two inert C4 demolition explosives were discovered in the carry-on bag of a passenger at Honolulu (HNL).

An inert Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) training kit was discovered at Norfolk (ORF). 

Two battery-charged initiators were discovered in a carry-on bag at Minneapolis (MSP).
Inert Bazooka Round (ORD)
Inert Bazooka Round (ORD)

A WWIIera inert bazooka round was discovered in a checked bag at Chicago O’Hare (ORD).

An inert 20mm artillery round was detected in the carry-on bag at San Diego (SAN).  

136 inert/novelty/replica grenades were discovered this year at TSA checkpoints and checked baggage locations. 

Just A Few of the 136 Inert/Novelty/Replica Grenades Discovered in 2013
Just A Few of the 136 Inert/Novelty/Replica Grenades Discovered in 2013
Left - Right / Top - Bottom: Battery Charged Initiator (MSP), IED Training Kit (ORD), Inert Blasting Caps (LWB), Inert C-4 (HNL), Gag Gift (TPA)
Left - Right / Top - Bottom: Battery Charged Initiator (MSP), IED Training Kit (ORD), Inert Blasting Caps (LWB), Inert C-4 (HNL), Gag Gift (TPA)
Live Smoke, Stun, and Incendiary Devices:
Smoke Grenade (IAD)
Smoke Grenade (IAD)
A live smoke grenade was discovered under the lining of a carry-on bag at Washington Dulles (IAD).

A live flashbang grenade was discovered in a carry-on bag at Portland (PDX). 

A live smoke grenade was discovered in checked baggage at Washington Dulles (IAD).
Flash Bang Grenade (PDX)
Flash Bang Grenade (PDX)

A live “sting ball” riot control grenade was discovered in checked baggage at John Wayne (SNA). 
  
Live smoke and flare canisters were discovered in a checked bag at Phoenix (PHX).
Flare Gun (HOU)
Flare Gun (HOU)

A 3-ounce Can of CS Teargas was discovered in a carry-on bag at Atlantic City (ACY).

A passenger at Houston Hobby (HOU) had a flare gun and six loose flares in his carry-on bag. 

562 stun guns were discovered in carry-on bags in 2013.


Left - Right: Smoke and Flare Canisters (PHX), Flare Gun (MDW), Teargas (ACY), Flare (JNU), Smoke Grenades (PWM)
Left - Right: Smoke and Flare Canisters (PHX), Flare Gun (MDW), Teargas (ACY), Flare (JNU), Smoke Grenades (PWM)
Here are a few of the more notable knife incidents:
Non-metallic Dagger (SLC)
Non-metallic Dagger (SLC)
A non-metallic dagger was discovered on a passenger at Salt Lake City (SLC) after he alarmed Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT). During the pat-down, the dagger was found hanging by fishing line around his neck and under his shirt.  

Tactical Spike (DSM)
Tactical Spike (DSM)
Officers at Des Moines (DSM) discovered an 8-inch non-metallic tactical spike in a passenger’s sock after he alarmed Advanced Imaging Technology.
Knife (BUR)
Knife (BUR)

A knife was discovered concealed in the lower back area of a passenger who alarmed the advanced imaging technology at Burbank (BUR). 


Some Of The Throwing Knives and Stars Discovered in 2013
Some Of The Throwing Knives and Stars Discovered in 2013
Some of The Knives and Swords Discovered in 2013
Some of The Knives and Swords Discovered in 2013

The year also provided the need for travelers to surrender a few odd items:

Human Skull (FLL)
Human Skull (FLL)
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!

A mace was discovered in a carry-on bag at Chicago Midway (MDW). This wasn’t a plastic mace; it was solid wood and metal.

A traveler’s checked bag blew open with three foot high flames and smoke at Atlantic City (ACY) . The cause? A large leaking can of hairspray was ignited by the spark of a lighter when the bag was loaded onto the rollers. No one was injured.

Mace (ACY)
Mace (ACY)
There were many instances last year where travelers attempted to hide items, or the items they packed were disguised to look like other items. Our officers regularly find sword canes, credit card knives, belt buckle knives, comb/brush knives, knives hidden in shoes, knives hidden in thermoses, and knives hidden under the bag lining near the handle mechanism. But, here are a few of the instances that stood out: 

Pen Knife (DFW)
Pen Knife (DFW)
A knife concealed within an ink pen was discovered at Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW). 

A multi-tool was discovered inside a computer hard drive at Birmingham (BHM).
Pen Knife (DFW)
Multi-tool In Hard Drive (BHM)

A knife was sewn into the lining of a bag at Dulles (IAD).

A bladed multi-tool was found in a package of socks at Albuquerque (ABQ).
Ammunition Hidden Under Pull Handle (ORF)
Ammunition Hidden Under Pull Handle (ORF)

Nine rounds of .45 caliber ammunition were found in the pull-handle of a carry-bag at Norfolk (ORF).

Pepper spray designed to look like a lipstick case was discovered in Phoenix (PHX). 

A stun gun concealed in a cane was discovered at Los Angeles (LAX).
Pepper Spray Lipstick (PHX)
Pepper Spray Lipstick (PHX)

A knife was found in a toothbrush holder at Lihue (LIH).

A knife was discovered in the battery compartment of a laptop computer at Oakland (OAK).

A knife was discovered inside a pillow at Midland (MAF).
Knife In Knee Brace (IAH)
Knife In Knee Brace (IAH)

A lipstick knife was discovered at San Antonio (SAT). 

A knife was discovered inside a passenger’s knee brace at Houston (IAH).

Two kitchen knives were discovered in an automotive air filter box wrapped in plastic with the air filter at Houston Intercontinental (IAH).

An 8-inch knife and a 6-inch knife were detected wrapped in plastic bags under a false bottom in a carry-on bag at Guam (GUM).

A stun gun disguised to look like lipstick was discovered at St. Louis (STL).


Some Of The Cane Swords Discovered In 2013
Some Of The Cane Swords Discovered In 2013
Left to Right / Top to Bottom: Cigarette Pack Stun Gun (MCO), Brush Dagger(OGG), Knives Concealed in Air Filter (IAH), Credit Card Knife (ABQ), Lipstick Knife (SAT), Comb Knife (DTW), Knife in Shoe (IAD), Belt Buckle Knife (EWR), Stun Gun Cell Phone (JAN), Comb Knife (CHS), Lip Stick Stun Gun (LAS), Key Knife (IAD), Razor Concealed in Cell Phone (TPA), Credit Card Knife (BWI), Lipstick Stun Gun (STL), Stun Gun Cell Phone (LAX), Knife in Shoe (SAN), Cell Phone Stun Gun (DEN)
Left to Right / Top to Bottom: Cigarette Pack Stun Gun (MCO), Brush Dagger(OGG), Knives Concealed in Air Filter (IAH), Credit Card Knife (ABQ), Lipstick Knife (SAT), Comb Knife (DTW), Knife in Shoe (IAD), Belt Buckle Knife (EWR), Stun Gun Cell Phone (JAN), Comb Knife (CHS), Lip Stick Stun Gun (LAS), Key Knife (IAD), Razor Concealed in Cell Phone (TPA), Credit Card Knife (BWI), Lipstick Stun Gun (STL), Stun Gun Cell Phone (LAX), Knife in Shoe (SAN), Cell Phone Stun Gun (DEN)
Miscellaneous Items - Left to Right / Top to Bottom: Compound Bow in Carry-on (PHX), Finger Spikes (BHM), Bang Stick (KOA), BB Machine Gun (EWR), Novelty Bomb (PHX), Stun Knuckles (DEN), Gun Clock (SEA)
Miscellaneous Items - Left to Right / Top to Bottom: Compound Bow in Carry-on (PHX), Finger Spikes (BHM), Bang Stick (KOA), BB Machine Gun (EWR), Novelty Bomb (PHX), Stun Knuckles (DEN), Gun Clock (SEA)
You can also read more about important steps TSA has taken to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to security, and towards a more risk-based security posture in our year-end blog post, TSA Reflects on 2013.  

Follow @TSABlogTeam on Twitter and Instagram! 

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.