Friday, July 18, 2014

TSA Week in Review – 38 Loaded Firearms Discovered in Carry-on Bags This Week (And Other Items of Note)

Loaded firearm discovered in a carry-on bag at Medford (MAF).
Loaded firearm discovered in a carry-on bag at Medford (MAF).

43 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 43 firearms, 38 were loaded and eight had rounds chambered.

Inert Ordnance and Grenades etc. – We continue to find inert grenades and other weaponry on a weekly basis. Please keep in mind that if an item looks like a real bomb, grenade, mine, etc., it is prohibited. When these items are found at a checkpoint or in checked baggage, they can cause significant delays because the explosives detection professionals must resolve the alarm to determine the level of threat. Even if they are novelty items, you cannot bring them on a plane.  Read here on why inert items cause problems.
  • A realistic replica grenade was discovered in a carry-on bag at Bradley (BDL).
  • An inert grenade was discovered in a checked bag Syracuse (SYR).
  • An inert grenade was discovered in a carry-on bag at El Paso (ELP).
Inert grenade discovered in a checked bag at Syracuse (SYR).
Inert grenade discovered in a checked bag at Syracuse (SYR).
Artfully Concealed Prohibited Items – It’s important to examine your bags prior to traveling to ensure prohibited items are not inside. If a prohibited item is discovered in your bag or on your body, you could be cited and 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. 
  • Credit Card Knives - 63 credit card knives were discovered this week. 11 were discovered at Tampa (TPA), 10 at Minneapolis (MSP), nine at San Francisco (SFO), six at Knoxville (TYS), six at Nashville (BNA), four at Chicago O’Hare (ORD), three at Minot (MOT), two at Medford (MFR), two at Providence (PVD), two at Rochester (RST), and the remainder were discovered at Billings (BIL), Columbia (CAE), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Grand Rapids (GRR),San Jose (SJC), Traverse City (TVC), Tri-Cities (TRI), and Wilmington (ILM). Check out this blog post for more information on credit card knives.
  • A stun cane was discovered at Tampa (TPA).
  • An 8½-inch knife was detected in the lining of a carry-on bag at Chicago O’Hare (ORD).
  • Three utility knife-blades were discovered inside the lining of a shoe in a carry-on bag at Salt Lake City (SLC).
  • A 9-inch double-edged shank was detected concealed inside the lining of a zipper compartment in a carry-on bag at Medford (MFR).
  • A comb-knife was discovered in a carry-on bag at Guam (GUM).
Stun cane discovered at Tampa (TPA).
Stun cane discovered at Tampa (TPA).
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 many other prohibited items too numerous to note.

Stun Guns – 16 stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags around the nation: Three were discovered at San Francisco (SFO), two at Denver (DEN), and the remainder were discovered at Baltimore (BWI), Chicago Midway (MDW), Dallas Love (DAL), Sacramento (SMF),  Baltimore (BWI), Denver (DEN), Tampa (TPA), El Paso (ELP), Las Vegas (LAS), Nashville (BNA), Orange County (SNA), Pensacola (PNS), Phoenix (PHX), and Sacramento (SMF).

Airsoft Guns – An Airsoft gun was discovered this week in a carry-on bag at the Denver (DEN) airport. Airsoft guns are prohibited in carry-on bags, but allowed in checked baggage. Airsoft grenades are not permitted in checked or carry-on bags. Read this post for more information: TSA Travel Tips Tuesday: Traveling with Airsoft Guns

Firearms Discovered at: (Left - Right / Top to Bottom) FLL, HOU, TYS, ATL, SPS & FNT
Firearms Discovered at: (Left - Right / Top to Bottom) FLL, HOU, TYS, ATL, SPS & FNT

43 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 43 firearms, 38 were loaded and eight had rounds chambered.

*In order to provide a timely weekly update, this data 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 line 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. 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 TSA Blog Year in Review for 2013. You can also check out 2011 & 2012 as well.

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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.

Traveling With Style and Beauty Products Through the Checkpoint

makeup items

I hate to admit it, but I’m a bit of product junkie. When it comes to traveling, I don’t like to skimp on my favorite personal care products in exchange for travel sized brands. 

While I know I can stuff my checked bag full of products, my frugal side tells me to pack it all in my carry-on. 

When you spend your hard-earned money on beauty products that you really like, you certainly don’t want to have to toss them at the checkpoint, so I wanted to share some tips to ensure your products make it to your destination with you.

Even though the rule has been in effect since 2006, officers still continue to find liquid, gel and aerosol items in carry-on bags, often from passengers who haven’t traveled in a long time or who didn’t realize that their perfume or face cream is a liquid.  Our officers often hear”  “But this isn’t a liquid – it’s shampoo!”  Officers don’t enjoy telling passengers that their liquids can’t go through the checkpoint, so we’d much rather you pack them correctly.

Perfumes, lotions, shampoos and other liquid or cream cosmetics fall under TSA’s 3-1-1 rule. The 3-1-1 rule goes like this:  to be taken in a carry-on bag, all liquids, gels and aerosols must be in 3.4 ounce or smaller containers that fit in 1 sealed zip-top plastic bag, with only 1 bag per passenger. 
  • Use refillable perfume dispensers. There’s no need to pack your entire bottle of perfume or cologne as it’s likely over the 3.4 oz. limit. Instead, if you’re a frequent traveler, you can purchase a refillable travel-size  perfume bottle that meets 3-1-1 requirements. 
  • Pack your liquids, gels and aerosols separate from other toiletries. For many people, it makes sense to  pack your toothbrush with your toothpaste, and powder blush with liquid foundation to keep things all to one bag. It makes more sense to pack your liquids in the zip-top bag and put your razor, toothbrush, floss, lipstick and your solid deodorant in a separate bag. 
  • Pack oversize liquids in your checked bag. If you’re checking a bag, you can pack unlimited quantities of liquids in it. One tip I suggest to protect the other items in your bag is to put any shampoo, lotions, etc, in a cosmetics bag or zip-top bag, just in case anything opens in flight. That will prevent anything leaking onto your clothes. Many toiletry items, like liquid foundation or moisturizer with a pump, allows you to turn the pump in one direction to lock it.
  • You don’t have to throw it away. If you find yourself at the checkpoint with a 6 ounce jar of expensive face cream, throwing it away isn’t your only option. In many airports, there are kiosks where you can ship an item to your destination or back to your home.  You can also ask to leave the checkpoint and see if a store in the airport has a smaller container to put your product into, and then put that container in your zip-top bag and go back through security.  Another option would be to go back to the ticket counter and check your bag. Yes, these options cost money, but they are options for any traveler who would rather not throw out an expensive product. 
When in doubt, check it, ship it or buy it after arriving at your destination. I’ve done them all, and it’s worth it. Packing smarter on the front end reduces your chances of having to leave behind or pay to ship products when you’re at the airport. 

TSA Guest Blogger

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