Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Record Breaking 1,855 Firearms Discovered So Far This Year


Loaded Firearms


As of close of business Tuesday night, a record breaking 1,855 firearms had been discovered in carry-on bags at TSA checkpoints nationwide. Of those, 1,471 (79%) were loaded.

In a statement yesterday, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said: “This is an example of the good work the men and women of the Department of Homeland Security perform on behalf of the American people.”

With two months left in the year, the total number of firearms has already surpassed the 2013 total (1,813) by 42.

The top five airports for firearm discoveries are:

  • Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW) - 104
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL) - 90
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International (PHX) - 66
  • Houston George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) - 62
  • Denver International (DEN) - 61

Did you know that you can pack a firearm in your checked baggage? Here’s the basics:

  • Travelers must declare all firearms to the airline during the ticket counter check-in process.
  • The firearm must be unloaded.
  • The firearm must be in a hard-sided container.
  • The container must be locked. A locked container is defined as one that completely secures the firearm from being accessed. Locked cases that can be pulled open with little effort are not permitted.

If you plan on traveling with a firearm, download this handy document (PDF 459KB), or visit TSA.gov / TSA blog for all you need to know.

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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.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why is it good work when TSA is doing one of the most basic job functions?

Did the cannon fly or not?

Susan Richart said...

IOW, this blog has been an utter and complete failure at limiting the number of firearms that show up at your checkpoints.

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Anonymous said...

So have you found as many as the FAA wad finding in the 1980s, when a lot fewer people flew?

Hundred of millions of people flew this year. And you missed thousands of guns.

This is all statically insignificant. Zero of the guns you found and the guns you missed wee held by terrorists.

You have failed in your mission to terrify all flyers and have them cower in fear.

Anonymous said...

Statistically, if the number is going up, does that mean people feel mess secure flying, or TSA is getting better at detecting them? Perhaps an unfair question, since the answer may be jaded by the official TSA position.
I get the "forgotten" handgun, but rifles and hidden items are blatant attempts, IMO; one shudders to think how many are missed!!

Anonymous said...

Amazing......so many people showing a lack of gun safety procedures by attempting to take a loading firearm into a pressurized cabin. I can only hope the guns that were confiscated will not be returned to those lacking firearm skills. Furthermore, they should all be banned from owning a firearm from that point forward. I am a firearms owner and cannot imagine ever doing something like these people....or morons are doing.

SSSS for Some Reason said...

Wow! That sounds like a lot of firearms!

What is that number in context?

How many passengers did you screen to find all those firearms?

How many of those finds resulted in arrests? I know you don't do the arresting, but surely you have at least some report somewhere that would give us at least a partial number.

And this one is just my personal curiosity... why do you report unloaded firearm and loaded firearms separately, specifically why do you differentiate between a loaded firearm and a loaded and chambered firearm?

And then just to keep the momentum going.... how many of these firearms were found using the overly-expensive and questionably effective nudie-scanners?

Anonymous said...

Airplanes fly, cannons do not. Cannons only shoot things. I am glad that they at least pulled it and inspected it to make sure it still didn't have a ball and charge in it. If you watch Pawn Stars, you'd know that happens on antique weapons every once in a while. A cannon ball liberating itself from the cannon in the cargo hold of an aircraft would be a bad thing. Thanks TSA for what you do. While we all agree that most of the firearms infractions were probably not ill-intended, you just never know for sure what their intent was. I don't have a solution to this problem, but I do believe that responsible gun owners (which I am one of) should act accordingly. Know where your firearms are at all times.

Anonymous said...

And how many of these were found with the slow, invasive, and ineffective naked body scanners you improperly implemented as primary screening mechanisms in 2010?

Anonymous said...

If the purpose of this blog is to inform the flying public, and deter travelers from taking prohibited items with them on planes, it would be helpful to know what happens to those travelers who take prohibited items with them.

If we don't know that there are penalties for being stupid, this blog only serves as PR for the TSA.

Anonymous said...

Thank you TSA - you have a difficult mission and you are appreciated. Keep the faith and thanks for the informational blog.

SSSS for Some Reason said...

Anonymous said...
I am glad that they at least pulled it [canon] and inspected it to make sure it still didn't have a ball and charge in it.

~~~~~~~

The question has nothing to do with pulling it for screening. It is a huge chuck of metal that would have alarmed any screening system so it is proper to have been screened.

The question is did it fly? The reason we ask is because the ray-gun belt buckle did not, the handgun patterned purse did not, and according to the TSA's own rules if it even looks like a weapon they can prohibit it from flying.

So the question is really simple.... did the canon fly or did it get stopped because of the 'if it looks like a weapon' policy?

The follow up question is, of course, if it did not fly why not? It was inspected and by your own admission it was deemed interesting but harmless.... so did it make it to its destination via commercial air travel?

Gun Runner said...

Why are making all of the "GUNS!! GUNS!!" blotter posts when Boss Pistole says finding guns is not a "primary mission" of the TSA?

RB said...

Anonymous said...
Amazing......so many people showing a lack of gun safety procedures by attempting to take a loading firearm into a pressurized cabin. I can only hope the guns that were confiscated will not be returned to those lacking firearm skills. Furthermore, they should all be banned from owning a firearm from that point forward. I am a firearms owner and cannot imagine ever doing something like these people....or morons are doing.

November 7, 2014 at 9:06 AM

...................
What are these "Gun Safety Procedures" that you speak about and what does a "Pressurized Cabin" have to do with it?

Surely you are not one of those that thinks people are going to get sucked out of a tiny hole in the airplane if a gun was fired are you?

IF that was the case FAM's and FFDO's would not be permitted firearms.

Oh, and if you didn't know no one can open the door or hatch of an airplane that is pressurized. NO ONE!

Anonymous said...

Is this an all time record or just from when the TSA was formed? I'm curious as to how the number of guns found compares to the years before the TSA took over.

Sadly, nothing can be done to reduce the number of guns found. Everybody know guns aren't permitted. Since I haven't heard of anybody being prosecuted as a terrorist, I assume these are just careless people who forgot they had a gun. I'm not sure what you can do to fix that. Although I bet you don't have very many repeat offenders.

Susan said...

I, for one, am thankful for the 'good work' that TSA is doing. How is keeping firearms off of a plane a bad thing as some of you indicate. Really?? This is all you have to talk about? I certainly would not want to fly next to the 1400 and some people with loaded guns on a plane. Thank you TSA.

A NEW DAY said...

So what this article proves is that TSA is not a deterrent.

Suddenly Not Susan said...

Susan, the TSA misses 7 guns for every 3 they find. So you would have flown next to 3267 guns so far this year. Still feel safe?

Glad to see even TSA supporters know it's security theater and puts 'good work' in quotes.

Anonymous said...

I continue to wait for some justification for active duty military being included in pre-check, but not retired military or holders of current DoD or LE background investigations. military retirees have at least 20 years documented service to this Nation, pretty much proving their lack of risk. both DoD and LE background investigations should reveal any risk factors. active duty military do not, necessarily, have a background check or any significant length of service. neither citizenship nor a background investigation is required to enlist in the military, in fact there are likely illegal immigrants serving. if it is really about safety, then why are potentially unscreened non-citizens allowed through? sounds like it is just pandering to an admirable group to get PR, not adjusting the rules to ease screening on those who present a lower likelihood of threat.
Let me be clear: pre-911 screening should be the norm. it is all that is required, now that cockpit doors have been reinforced and locked, and flight crews and passengers know that the rules have changed and passivity=death. however, if we are going to continue this massive waste of tax dollars on security theatre, at least have _some_ of the rules make sense.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, am thankful for the 'good work' that TSA is doing. How is keeping firearms off of a plane a bad thing as some of you indicate. Really?? This is all you have to talk about?...

Criticisms of TSA go beyond guns, but the blog chooses to focus on guns more than any other topic, even though TSA's leader said in a recent USA Today article that guns are a 'distraction' from the 'primary mission.' I assume TSA focuses on guns because the public responds more positively to that than to reports of finding large bottles of shampoo and plastic toy swords.

You might look up the TSA Red Team tests to get some perspective on how good TSA is at finding guns in the first place. (Briefly, they miss 70%.)

Susan said...

Hey Suddenly Not Susan --- where did you find the stats taht TSA misses 7 guns for every 3 they find?? I guess it's easy to make stuff up if you don't care for TSA and if you never fly!

SSSS for Some Reason said...

Susan said...
Hey Suddenly Not Susan --- where did you find the stats taht TSA misses 7 guns for every 3 they find?? I guess it's easy to make stuff up if you don't care for TSA and if you never fly!

A swing and a miss!

So close! Better luck next time.

If you actually paid attention to the conversation, read more than just the parts that appeal to you, you would know where those statistics come from. The numbers in question from your very own employer... the TSA.

Do a bit of research on TSA Red Team Tests. While the information is not exactly exciting, the lack of more recent findings is.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see this blog giving more context to the work TSA does. For instance I would like to see a stat for how many of these violations led to arrests where the charges were not dropped. Another for how many violators had a criminal background or were linked to organized crime/terrorist group. Another for how many had concealed weapons permits. A number by itself seems too easy to criticize by those opposing the TSA and too easy to be skewed by the TSA to justify their funding.

For instance in the TSA official statement given by Secretary Johnson there is a link to images of some of the weapons that were confiscated this year. One was labeled, "Live grenade discovered at Los Angeles International Airport." Seems kind of scarey. Yet when you find out the whole story, and realize the owner, a Stanford political science professor, didn't know the grenade was live. And that he was bringing home the belongings of his father, a retired Navy Veteran who had just died. When you know all the charges were dropped, and it truly was an accident, it seems a little less scarey. It provides the American people with a much clearer picture.

Is TSA funding justified? Perhaps. Should we have the same screenings at subways? Or should we put the funding toward education, emergency relief, and other important issues.


I just wish the article gave more context so I could feel good about the TSA funding.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see this blog giving more context to the work TSA does. For instance I would like to see a stat for how many of these violations led to arrests where the charges were not dropped. Another for how many violators had a criminal background or were linked to organized crime/terrorist group. Another for how many had concealed weapons permits. A number by itself seems too easy to criticize by those opposing the TSA and too easy to be skewed by the TSA to justify their funding.

For instance in the TSA official statement given by Secretary Johnson there is a link to images of some of the weapons that were confiscated this year. One was labeled, "Live grenade discovered at Los Angeles International Airport." Seems kind of scarey. Yet when you find out the whole story, and realize the owner, a Stanford political science professor, didn't know the grenade was live. And that he was bringing home the belongings of his father, a retired Navy Veteran who had just died. When you know all the charges were dropped, and it truly was an accident, it seems a little less scarey. It provides the American people with a much clearer picture.

Is TSA funding justified? Perhaps. Should we have the same screenings at subways? Or should we put the funding toward education, emergency relief, and other important issues.


I just wish the article gave more context so I could feel good about the TSA funding.

RB said...

Susan said...
Hey Suddenly Not Susan --- where did you find the stats taht TSA misses 7 guns for every 3 they find?? I guess it's easy to make stuff up if you don't care for TSA and if you never fly!

November 10, 2014 at 2:23 PM
...................
TSA failures are hardly made up. If you have been paying attention the increasing failure rates of TSA screeners remain a concern.

Perhaps you could start your education here.

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/loaded-gun-slips-past-tsa-screeners/story?id=12412458

Experts tell ABC News that every year since the September 11 terror attacks, federal agencies have conducted random, covert "red team tests," where undercover agents try to see just how much they can get past security checks at major U.S. airports. And while the Department of Homeland Security closely guards the results as classified, those that have leaked in media reports have been shocking.

Anonymous said...

Could we update the collage? Some of dates on those guns are pretty old.

also not Susan said...

Susan said...
"Hey Suddenly Not Susan --- where did you find the stats taht TSA misses 7 guns for every 3 they find?? I guess it's easy to make stuff up if you don't care for TSA and if you never fly!"

TSA's own numbers, confirmed by GAO reports. Try looking it up.

Suddenly Not Susan said...

Hey Susan!

Try Google. The TSA said it itself. Look up the Red Team's tests that TSA screeners failed miserably. The TSA then stopped releasing stats, but they had to admit to Congressional oversight that their failure stats haven't changed over the years. So yes, the TSA misses 7 guns for every 3 it finds. Therefore, you would have flown with over 3000 guns this year. Will you now answer my question, "Still feel safe?"

Commenters here have provided links several times on this blotter, so you can search here too.

Where did you get the silly idea that I don't fly? Even if I didn't, We all know people who do, and I am quite capable of caring about the abuse of others.

GSOLTSO said...

SSSS sez - "Wow! That sounds like a lot of firearms!

What is that number in context?

How many passengers did you screen to find all those firearms?

How many of those finds resulted in arrests? I know you don't do the arresting, but surely you have at least some report somewhere that would give us at least a partial number.

And this one is just my personal curiosity... why do you report unloaded firearm and loaded firearms separately, specifically why do you differentiate between a loaded firearm and a loaded and chambered firearm?

And then just to keep the momentum going.... how many of these firearms were found using the overly-expensive and questionably effective nudie-scanners? "

It is more than last year at this point, so it is showing an increase.

The last posted number I saw was roughly 1.5 million passengers per week (it varies, so exact numbers elude me).

As far as the arrests, that is not something that TSA is really concerned with - seriously, we are merely concerned with preventing the WEI items from getting onto the planes. Once we report the information to the local LEOs, they handle everything from there. I have not seen any sort of compilation of arrest records for these discoveries, so I am unable to give you arrest numbers in any way, shape, or form.

I am not certain of the exact reasoning for listing as loaded/unloaded from the TSA point of view. It may have something to do with possible fines, it could have something to do with juridictional differences in charges and responses (as some areas have a more strict set of charging guidelines based upon whether a firearm is loaded or not) - or it could simply be another data point they add in.

West
TSA Blog Team

RB said...

GSOLTSO said...
SSSS sez - "Wow! That sounds like a lot of firearms!

What is that number in context?

How many passengers did you screen to find all those firearms?

How many of those finds resulted in arrests? I know you don't do the arresting, but surely you have at least some report somewhere that would give us at least a partial number.

And this one is just my personal curiosity... why do you report unloaded firearm and loaded firearms separately, specifically why do you differentiate between a loaded firearm and a loaded and chambered firearm?

And then just to keep the momentum going.... how many of these firearms were found using the overly-expensive and questionably effective nudie-scanners? "

It is more than last year at this point, so it is showing an increase.

The last posted number I saw was roughly 1.5 million passengers per week (it varies, so exact numbers elude me).

As far as the arrests, that is not something that TSA is really concerned with - seriously, we are merely concerned with preventing the WEI items from getting onto the planes. Once we report the information to the local LEOs, they handle everything from there. I have not seen any sort of compilation of arrest records for these discoveries, so I am unable to give you arrest numbers in any way, shape, or form.

I am not certain of the exact reasoning for listing as loaded/unloaded from the TSA point of view. It may have something to do with possible fines, it could have something to do with juridictional differences in charges and responses (as some areas have a more strict set of charging guidelines based upon whether a firearm is loaded or not) - or it could simply be another data point they add in.

West
TSA Blog Team

November 12, 2014 at 9:06 AM
...................

Why does TSA put so much attention on these firearms if they are just a distraction as stated by TSA Administrator Pistole?

Why does TSA have an official TSA Photography Record document, as seen in one of the blog pictures, if guns are just a distraction and the main purpose is just keeping weapons off the airplanes?

And if the main purpose is to just keep weapons off of airplanes why does TSA expend the manpower and man hours to take picture of these weapons and then apparently forward these pictures to HQ? Really these guns are just a distraction.

Isn't TSA's job done once a weapon is identified and local police called for disposition?

Sorry West, but you are talking out of both sides of your mouth.

SSSS for Some Reason said...

GSOLTSO said...
"...SSSS sez - "Wow! That sounds like a lot of firearms!

What is that number in context? "

The last posted number I saw was roughly 1.5 million passengers per week (it varies, so exact numbers elude me).

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you, that is enough data to provide at least this much context:

Roughly 1.5 million passengers per week, roughly 40 weeks into this year, so we are looking at about 60 million passengers screened.

Roughly, to be sure.

That works out to 0.00003 percent of the travelling public for the number of firearms discovered at the security check point.

Yes, that is four zero's before that three.

That is roughly 3 out of every million passengers carrying a firearm through security. Hardly a epidemic of rootin-tootin-gun-slingers trying to get on aircraft.

And I won't even go there with the possible number of firearms that were missed and instead just point out that each firearm listed cost about 4 million TSA dollars to find.

Which, I admit, is a data point out of context because I can't find any information about how much security cost before the TSA to compare pre- and post- TSA data.

RB said...

Anonymous SSSS for Some Reason said...
GSOLTSO said...
"...SSSS sez - "Wow! That sounds like a lot of firearms!

What is that number in context? "

The last posted number I saw was roughly 1.5 million passengers per week (it varies, so exact numbers elude me).

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you, that is enough data to provide at least this much context:

Roughly 1.5 million passengers per week, roughly 40 weeks into this year, so we are looking at about 60 million passengers screened.

Roughly, to be sure.

That works out to 0.00003 percent of the travelling public for the number of firearms discovered at the security check point.

Yes, that is four zero's before that three.

That is roughly 3 out of every million passengers carrying a firearm through security. Hardly a epidemic of rootin-tootin-gun-slingers trying to get on aircraft.

And I won't even go there with the possible number of firearms that were missed and instead just point out that each firearm listed cost about 4 million TSA dollars to find.

Which, I admit, is a data point out of context because I can't find any information about how much security cost before the TSA to compare pre- and post- TSA data.

November 12, 2014 at 4:45 PM

...............
West's 1.5 million per week is flawed.

How many people fly domestically in the United States each day?

"According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (http://www.transtats.bts.gov/), a total of 631,939,829 passengers boarded domestic flights in the United States in the year 2010. This averages to 1.73 million passengers flying per day."

GSOLTSO said...

Rb is correct, I stated earlier it was 1.5 million per week, the stat was actually 1.5 (or so) per day, my mistake!

West
TSA Blog Team

RB said...

GSOLTSO said...
Rb is correct, I stated earlier it was 1.5 million per week, the stat was actually 1.5 (or so) per day, my mistake!

West
TSA Blog Team

November 13, 2014 at 12:26 PM
....................

Actually in 2010 the number averaged 1.73 million people per day.

I realize a couple of a hundred thousand might not mean much to an agency that piddles away $8,000,000,000.00 of taxpayer dollars each year.

SSSS for Some Reason said...

GSOLTSO said...
Rb is correct, I stated earlier it was 1.5 million per week, the stat was actually 1.5 (or so) per day, my mistake!

West
TSA Blog Team

~~~~~~~~

Thank you. And thank you to RB for the updated information.

The updated numbers become 420 million passengers so far this year, roughly. I rounded down a bit to get easier numbers.

420 million passengers so far, 1,855 firearms so far, that makes it 0.000004 percent of travelers taking firearms through security.

Yes, six zeros in that number. That is, what, one in 30 million passengers. Ish, the numbers get hard to work with when there are this many decimal points.

The point still stands that the number if firearms found is so incredibly insignificantly small as to be laughable when seen in context.

An even smaller percentage of those rootin-tootin-gun-slinging-proto-terrorists trying to get through security than originally posted.

RB said...

SSSS for Some Reason said...

Thank you. And thank you to RB for the updated information.

The updated numbers become 420 million passengers so far this year, roughly. I rounded down a bit to get easier numbers.

420 million passengers so far,


............................
Not to nitpick but.....Based on my calendar we are at day 318 of the year on 11/14/14. So 1.73 million people per day times 318 days equals 550.14 million people who have traveled this year.

Rounding down to 550 million people minus a couple of days still makes the number of people found with guns to be an insignificant percentage of total travelers.

Anonymous said...

Actually, you need to move the decimal over two spaces to get percentage, but you still get 0.00004% of all passengers were found carrying a gun.

Not statistically significant. And as Lame Duck Boss Pistole says, "a distraction from the TSA's primary mission."

CrisisMaven said...

What I still can't figure out: a) are all these people really oblivious of the prohibitions to bring firearms onto planes? b) Are these just confiscated and the bearers prosecuted and c) is there ever any hint that one of them actually wanted to use them on the planes in an unlawful way or are these just "mindless" mishaps?

SSSS for Some Reason said...

CrisisMaven said...
What I still can't figure out: a) are all these people really oblivious of the prohibitions to bring firearms onto planes? b) Are these just confiscated and the bearers prosecuted and c) is there ever any hint that one of them actually wanted to use them on the planes in an unlawful way or are these just "mindless" mishaps?


A - Possibly. Some people carry a firearm every day. It is just like you or I carrying our wallet or our glasses, it is just something you have with you every day everywhere you go. Since it something done everyday it becomes something like putting your glasses up on your head and then looking for your glasses. So if it is such a normal everyday thing to do carrying a firearm there wouldn't be any thought to it being a problem when you got to the airport. And, really, why should it be. It is perfectly acceptable to carry your firearm in every other part of the airport so until you got to the security line there is nothing that would 'trigger' your need to remove your firearm.

Just one possibility. One of many, many possibilities.

B - Some of the handguns are confiscated, some of them are returned to the owners, it is up to the local police. The TSA has no legal authorities and can not arrest or detain people so when they find whatever they find they give it over to the real police. The real police make the decision of confiscations, fines, or arrests. A casual search on the internets doesn't turn up more than a couple of arrests so it would seem like most cases are fined or less.

C - So far there has been not even a hint of any of these firearm finds being a threat to aviation. Based on the actions of the TSA and the media presentation on this blog it is a safe assumption that if there were even the slightest possibility of a nefarious plot being foiled it would be heralded from the highest control tower and pointed to for months and months, years even, as proof of the need of the TSA. No trumpeting of a foiled plot means that no credible plots have been foiled.

It is possible that some lone-wolf-terrorist had a vision of doing some damage and the TSA stopped it from happening. But, honestly, if someone really wanted to do some damage there is nothing the TSA could do about it because they only protect a tiny portion of the airport and then not very effectively. Even just reading through the comment sections here on this blog you could discover a dozen or more different ways to get around or through the security checkpoint with out even trying that hard.