Friday, June 12, 2015

TSA Week in Review: 56 Firearms, Swords, Inert Grenades, Fireworks and More

56 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 56 firearms discovered, 45 were loaded and 18 had a round chambered.
56 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 56 firearms discovered, 45 were loaded and 18 had a round chambered.The firearm pictured above was discovered at HOU.
Three swords
Three swords were discovered in carry-on bags this week. (Top to Bottom )An 18-inch sword was discovered at Detroit (DTW), a fencing sword was discovered at Washington Dulles (IAD), and a 13-inch sword was discovered at Charleston (CHS).
Fireworks
Fireworks were discovered in an unattended checked bag at Orlando (MCO). With Independence Day around the corner, please make a mental note that all fireworks are prohibited in both carry-on and checked baggage.
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 respond to resolve the alarm. Even if they are novelty items, you are prohibited from bringing them on the aircraft.

  • Five grenades were discovered this week. Four in carry-on bags at Baltimore (BWI), Cleveland (CLE), Mobile (MOB), and Norfolk (ORF), and one in a checked bag at Newbern (EWN).

Clockwise from top left, these inert/replica grenades were discovered at EWN, ORF, MCO, DEN, and BWI.
Clockwise from top left, these inert/replica grenades were discovered at EWN, ORF, MCO, DEN, and BWI.
Artfully Concealed Prohibited Items – Artfully concealed is a term used to describe an item that was intentionally hidden. It could be anything from a knife sewn into the lining of a bag to a sword hidden inside of a walking cane. If a concealed prohibited item is discovered in your bag or on your body, you could be cited and possibly arrested by law enforcement. Here are some examples from this week where artfully concealed items were discovered by our officers.

  • 5-6 pounds of heroin was discovered concealed underneath the lining of a carry-on bag at Phoenix (PHX). 
 
Knives & Throwing Star
Counterclockwise from top, these items were discovered at SLC, BWI, ORD, ORD, MEM, JAN, MDW, BOI, and BUR

Miscellaneous Prohibited Items – In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, 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. 

Compound Bow (LAS), Silencers (MCO)
Compound Bow (LAS), Silencers (MCO)



Stun Guns - 21 stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags. Five were discovered at Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), two at Atlanta (ATL), two at Dallas Love (DAL), two at Las Vegas (LAS), two at Portland (PDX), and the remainder were discovered at Denver (DEN), Eugene (EUG), Kansas City (MCI), Minneapolis (MSP), New Orleans (MSY), Oakland (OAK), Orlando (MCO), and Richmond (RIC).

Ammunition – When packed properly, ammunition can be transported in your checked baggage, but it is never permissible to pack ammo in your carry-on bag.
Loaded firearms discovered in carry-on bags.
Counterclockwise from top, firearms discovered at HOU, ATL, RNO, DAL, TRI, and PHX








Loaded firearms discovered in carry-on bags.
Clockwise from top, firearms discovered at BNA, MDW, SDF, ATL, GSP, and PHX
Loaded firearms discovered in carry-on bags.
Clockwise from top left, firearms discovered at STL, LBB, DAL, and BUR
56 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 56 firearms discovered, 45 were loaded and 18 had a round 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 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 $11,000. 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, 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. 

Read our 2014 Year in Review post! If you haven’t read them yet, make sure you check out our year in review posts for 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Follow @TSA on Twitter and Instagram! 

Bob Burns
TSA Social Media Team
 

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

47 comments:

SSSS for Some Reason said...

"...Silencers (MCO)"

REally? Do you understand that by itself it is little more than a metal tube?

Why would this be a prohibited item? Serious question... why is it on the prohibited list?

Anonymous said...

Another week passes in review, with the TSA's propagandists issuing the standard congratulatory statistical summary of the agency's effectiveness. This week the number was 56, which per to the latest independent undercover test means they missed at least 1064 firearms (along with an unspecified number of swords, inert grenades, fireworks, and more). And, as usual, the TSA's failure to find 95% of this contraband resulted in no actual harm to aviation.

Given the dismal performance on undercover testing (only the latest of numerous failures) that would seem to vindicate everything the TSA's critics have been saying for years about the uselessness of the TSA, we would at least expect Blogger Bob to post a response that gives us the official TSA line. He might attack the inspectors and inspection process as useless and dangerous, exhort us to ignore negative reports and maintain the Unquestioning Blind Faith in the TSA that's automatically expected of patriotic Americans, or otherwise paint a glowing picture of the TSA as a highly effective bulwark against terrorists. But there's not a word about it. Just business as usual.

Could it be that the test results, which forced the TSA's acting director to resign, are simply so devastating in their condemnation that even Blogger Bob found himself unable to muster any remotely credible denial, excuse, or defense? If so, he may have taken the only feasible approach of ignoring it and pretending that the failure never happened. It's thus reasonable to infer from the silence that the assessment is correct, and the TSA is worse than useless because it wastes $7 billion dollars on pointless harassment.

Anonymous said...

As always, absolutely nothing you needed your slow, invasive, and ineffective naked body scanners to detect. Meanwhile, how many people suffered physical searches thanks to false alarms on these useless machines?

Why are Curtis Burns and West Cooper unwilling to address, let alone answer, that question?

How many weeks has it been since you last trumpeted something dangerous you found with the naked body scanners?

Anonymous said...

Did you find any of these items with the body scanners? It looks like they were all discovered with the metal detector or x-ray machine. Those machines have been around for decades and seem to be more effective than the fancy body scanners. It seems like the body scanners false alarm on things that aren't a threat or alarm on nothing. I witnessed the body scanner alarm on someone's bare arm. To compound the ridiculousness, the screener patted down the bare arm.

I'm not sure if I would brag about finding swords with a x-ray machine in light of recent test results. That can't be that difficult to see on a x-ray.

David Gayle said...

Jail time might make this better.

RB said...

In an effort to show TSA screeners skills at finding prohibited items we see the TSA Blog team claiming that an Arsenal Mens cologne bottle is an "inert/replica grenade". Note that this cologne comes in a 3.4oz/100ml bottle a size permitted under current TSA rules. Also note that the picture being used isn't to scale in an attempt to make the item appear much larger than it really is.

A replica must be an exact copy so note this small bottle has no spoon and is not made of metal. To be inert it must be the real deal but disarmed. This little bottle meets neither definition.

It's clear that TSA and its blog team have no understanding of what the term "inert or replica" means. Of course when TSA has to dig such a deep hole to find any kind of success its not surprising TSA would make such weak claims.

Focusing on harmless items like this cologne bottle which meets TSA's unreasonable liquid restrictions probably accounts for why TSA screeners missed 96% of target items used by the DHS OIG Auditors.

Is this what taxpayers are paying $8,000,000,000.00 each year for?

We can do much better than the TSA we had forced on us.

Feeling safe now?

Anonymous said...

So, you missed another thousand guns this week. Why aren't you touting that statistic?

How many bottles of water, shampoo, and tubes of toothpaste did TSA confiscate this week? This month? This year so far?

56 weapons found amongst 12,000,000 people this week on over 100,000 US flights. That's .00047% of all flyers and .056% of all flights.

Statistically insignificant. It's a waste of tax dollars for this blog team to cut/paste a weekly post about it.

Anonymous said...

Why are suppressors prohibited on planes? Unless attached to a gun, it's just a metal tube. And even attached to a gun, it doesn't make the gun anymore dangerous.

Anonymous said...

ROTFLMAO! The TSA thinks a dull dinner knife is worth posting about on this blog? Boy o boy! You must have had a really slow week!

Anonymous said...

Hey Bob, West, Lynn, and TSAnonymouses

Here is some light reading that you may enjoy:

June 5, 2015: Why are we spending $7 billion on TSA?

June 1, 2015: Understanding TSA Math

Anonymous said...

David Gayle said...
Jail time might make this better.

June 13, 2015 at 11:18 AM
--------------------------------------------------------
I'm inclined to agree. stop allowing incompetent TSA Administrators to resign. put them in jail instead. while we're at it, we should probably jail the majority of their work force for sommitting the massive waste, fraud, and abuse of the taxpayer that is their security theatre.

Anonymous said...

So the TSA confiscated another cologne bottle and claims it was a grenade, or at least a accurate replica?

This bottle, which is the allowed 3.4 oz, is 1.5 x 1.5 x 1.5 inches.

The TSA seized a cologne bottle that is less than TWO INCHES in size!

This is in no way a REPLICA grenade.

The TSA's War on Cologne continues.

Anonymous said...

"...David Gayle said...
Jail time might make this better."

What law was broken? And under whose jurisdiction to intent to try the accused? You do know to jail people you have to try and convict them first, right?

Anonymous said...

Regarding TSA misses:

"As evidence of the toll this is taking, Kasprisin cited the results of agency tests in which undercover operatives try to sneak weapons or explosives through airport security. He said security employees are increasingly missing the contraband, with the frequency of failures reaching a “frightening” level."

http://tinyurl.com/m7ahhtk

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. now you're even allowing college kids (kaydets) to endure more reasonable screening, but those who sacrificed for 20+ have to take their bloody shoes and belts off!! it's pretty clear that TSA doesn't understand risk assessment or risk-based anything, much less security.

Anonymous said...

So, you missed another thousand guns this week. Why aren't you touting that statistic?
I know, based on a “test.” Everyone with any common sense knows those tests are a farce. But they make great fodder for those who already dislike TSA. The reality is they have absolutely know baring on the level of TSA security

How many bottles of water, shampoo, and tubes of toothpaste did TSA confiscate this week? This month? This year so far? none.TSA does not confiscate anything from anybody.

56 weapons found amongst 12,000,000 people this week on over 100,000 US flights. That's .00047% of all flyers and .056% of all flights. how many does it take? Seems to me it would only take one in the hands of the right…or wrong person.

Statistically insignificant. It's a waste of tax dollars for this blog team to cut/paste a weekly post about it.
zero terrorist attacks on an American based flight since the inception of TSA. Statistically significant.

Anonymous said...

So I notice you all have stopped adding the disclaimer about how you're not looking for drugs, but have to report them if you find them. Implicitly admitting that you are actually looking for drugs, are you?

Anonymous said...

Despite the dismal showing in the Red Team tests, the TSA is clearly not a failure. The TSA have indeed achieved several successes far more impressive and important than any weekly or annual tally of the (5% of) prohibited items they have detected and seized.

The TSA have succeeded in conditioning formerly freedom-loving Americans to unhesitatingly surrender their liberty, privacy, and even bodily integrity to uniformed federal "officers" who follow secret procedures. The TSA have conditioned formerly freedom-loving Americans to accept intrusive searches of their property and persons that, in the recent past, would have been reserved for convicted criminals in prison. And most importantly, the TSA have taught Americans to accept, and even welcome, a government bureaucracy that is not accountable to the public, but only to themselves.

To officials who might be seeking to remake the United States into a Security State, in which privacy and liberty must always yield completely to their claimed demands of security, the TSA's real successes are far more significant than their dubious claims to prevent terrorist attacks on aviation. For even if all objective data shows the TSA completely useless and ineffective at their stated mission, their success at getting Americans to willingly submit to arbitrary authority, and to secret rules and procedures, has done much to advance the needs of that Security State.

A queue of docile passengers standing like sheep at an airport checkpoint waiting to be nude-scanned and patted down may be the appropriate defining image of America in the 21st century Age of Terror. And can thank the TSA for that!

RB said...


Whistleblowers, GAO reveal TSA’s screening processes are a total joke


"U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, says there’s even worse information yet to be made public.

“The publicly available facts are disturbing, but the classified details are even worse,” Sasse wrote in an op-ed published Monday. “Millions of families will soon fly to summer vacations, but if moms knew what members of Congress have learned behind closed doors, they would march on Washington demanding an urgent, top-to-bottom reevaluation of airport security.”"


But thinks are looking up, TSA Screeners can confiscate a 3.4oz bottle of mens cologne and chalk it up to a successful day.

Feeling safe now?

GSOLTSO said...

SSSS sez - "Why would this be a prohibited item? Serious question... why is it on the prohibited list?"

I would venture it is because it is considered a "gun part", and according to the prohibs list, all "gun parts" are prohibited (unless properly packaged and declared for checked baggage). Alternately, it could have been a local law that came into play as well, as silencers are illegal in some locations.

David Gayle sez - "Jail time might make this better."

That is possible (as well as it might not be possible, I am certain both sides will have their supporters), however, this is something that is left up to the individual local LEOs, not TSA.

Anon sez - "Here is some light reading that you may enjoy: "

Thanks for the links!

Anon sez - "So I notice you all have stopped adding the disclaimer about how you're not looking for drugs, but have to report them if you find them. Implicitly admitting that you are actually looking for drugs, are you?"

Not at all, the regulations/laws for discovery of "drugs" is exactly the same as it has been (in my personal experience, the last ten + years). We do not search specifically for "drugs", however, if "drugs" are found during a search to clear a possible threat item, they are to be reported to the local LEOs. After that point, it is entirely up to the local LEOs what happens.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

West, the questions about false positives on your AITs seem pretty darn relevant, especially given your agency's 95% failure rate. Why don't you answer them and not just the ones you cherry-pick?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Despite the dismal showing in the Red Team tests, the TSA is clearly not a failure.The TSA have indeed achieved several successes far more impressive and important than any weekly or annual tally of the (5% of) prohibited items they have detected and seized.

It wasn't Red Team Tests that TSA failed at a 96% rate, it was Auditors out of the DHS OIG's office. Please highlight some of the successes that you call "impressive and important".

The TSA have succeeded in conditioning formerly freedom-loving Americans to unhesitatingly surrender their liberty, privacy, and even bodily integrity to uniformed federal "officers" who follow secret procedures. The TSA have conditioned formerly freedom-loving Americans to accept intrusive searches of their property and persons that, in the recent past, would have been reserved for convicted criminals in prison. And most importantly, the TSA have taught Americans to accept, and even welcome, a government bureaucracy that is not accountable to the public, but only to themselves.

This we both agree on. That it could be termed a success is sad for our nation.

To officials who might be seeking to remake the United States into a Security State, in which privacy and liberty must always yield completely to their claimed demands of security, the TSA's real successes are far more significant than their dubious claims to prevent terrorist attacks on aviation. For even if all objective data shows the TSA completely useless and ineffective at their stated mission, their success at getting Americans to willingly submit to arbitrary authority, and to secret rules and procedures, has done much to advance the needs of that Security State.

I'm afraid we have already crossed the line of no return when looking at the privacy and liberties that citizens of a once free America have lost to TSA and other federal agencies.

A queue of docile passengers standing like sheep at an airport checkpoint waiting to be nude-scanned and patted down may be the appropriate defining image of America in the 21st century Age of Terror. And can thank the TSA for that!

June 15, 2015 at 8:46 PM

We can look to history less than years old to see actions similar to what TSA is subjecting Americans too.

RB said...

GSOLTSO said...
SSSS sez - "Why would this be a prohibited item? Serious question... why is it on the prohibited list?"

I would venture it is because it is considered a "gun part", and according to the prohibs list, all "gun parts" are prohibited (unless properly packaged and declared for checked baggage). Alternately, it could have been a local law that came into play as well, as silencers are illegal in some locations.

You would venture that a silencer is a gun part? Don't you know are or you just guessing? Seems TSA would (should?) have clear and defined guidance on what is or is not permitted. Such as Realistic Replicas or Inert Grenades, surely TSA has very specific guidance on what would fit this definition, that's why we see screeners confiscating men's and women's cologne from time to time, right?

David Gayle sez - "Jail time might make this better."

That is possible (as well as it might not be possible, I am certain both sides will have their supporters), however, this is something that is left up to the individual local LEOs, not TSA.

Anon sez - "Here is some light reading that you may enjoy: "

Thanks for the links!

Anon sez - "So I notice you all have stopped adding the disclaimer about how you're not looking for drugs, but have to report them if you find them. Implicitly admitting that you are actually looking for drugs, are you?"

Not at all, the regulations/laws for discovery of "drugs" is exactly the same as it has been (in my personal experience, the last ten + years). We do not search specifically for "drugs", however, if "drugs" are found during a search to clear a possible threat item, they are to be reported to the local LEOs. After that point, it is entirely up to the local LEOs what happens.

How does the public know that a TSA screener isn't on a fishing expedition when a search appears to be tuned to finding of drugs? We already know that TSA employees are lacking in both honesty and integrity. I tend to believe that drug finds are exactly that, TSA employees violating the law searching for things that are not WEI.

West
TSA Blog Team


June 17, 2015 at 6:01 AM

Anonymous said...

zero terrorist attacks on an American based flight since the inception of TSA. Statistically significant.

-------------------

There has also been zero tiger attacks near me since I started carrying my tiger repellent rock. I think terrorists haven't been trying. They probably would have succeeded at least once if they were trying because the TSA failure rates in those tests are dismal. Millions have flown using the Pre Check lines without having the Pre Check background checks. No planes fell from the sky because of that. We could go let everyone go through the Pre Check line with some random additional screening and be just as safe.

GSOLTSO said...

Rb sez - "You would venture that a silencer is a gun part? Don't you know are or you just guessing? Seems TSA would (should?) have clear and defined guidance on what is or is not permitted. Such as Realistic Replicas or Inert Grenades, surely TSA has very specific guidance on what would fit this definition, that's why we see screeners confiscating men's and women's cologne from time to time, right?"

Yes, I would venture that. The question was not whether a silencer is or is not a gun part, but what reasoning was given for why it would not be allowed to go... I venture because it was a gun part, and also presented a secondary reasoning that could be used as well. We do have specific guidance on what constitutes a gun part - please consult the firearms and ammunition page for more info on guns, gun parts and how they can be transported.

West
TSA Blog Team

RB said...

GSOltso said...
Rb sez - "You would venture that a silencer is a gun part? Don't you know are or you just guessing? Seems TSA would (should?) have clear and defined guidance on what is or is not permitted. Such as Realistic Replicas or Inert Grenades, surely TSA has very specific guidance on what would fit this definition, that's why we see screeners confiscating men's and women's cologne from time to time, right?"

Yes, I would venture that. The question was not whether a silencer is or is not a gun part, but what reasoning was given for why it would not be allowed to go... I venture because it was a gun part, and also presented a secondary reasoning that could be used as well. We do have specific guidance on what constitutes a gun part - please consult the firearms and ammunition page for more info on guns, gun parts and how they can be transported.

West
TSA Blog Team

June 18, 2015 at 12:37 PM

............
The page you gave as reference does not specifically identify a silencer as being a prohibited gun part. But interestingly enough a rifle scope is permitted in both carry on and checked baggage. " Rifle scopes are permitted in carry-on and checked bags." I think a strong case can be made that a rifle scope is indeed a gun related part just as is a silencer. Neither are very usefull without the attached weapon and are completely harmless on their own. So once again the TSA seems to be confused on what it is trying to accomplish.

I'm starting to understand why TSA screeners are non-functional.

Feeling Safe Now?

Susan Richart said...

Oh Great One wrote in the thread below this:

"if the public only knew what the government doesnt report...."

That's right. And here's what Rep. Ben Sasse wrote on that subject:

"The publicly available facts are disturbing, but the classified details are even worse."

Now I do believe that Sasse has jumped on the fear-mongering bandwagon, but I also believe that the actual report is far worse than what we already know. Mica has been saying the same thing for many years, i.e., the TSA failures are worse than we know.

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Anonymous said...

GSOLTSO said...
We do not search specifically for "drugs", however, if "drugs" are found during a search to clear a possible threat item, they are to be reported to the local LEOs.

Exactly what "possible threat items" do drugs look like?

GSOLTSO said...

RB sez - "The page you gave as reference does not specifically identify a silencer as being a prohibited gun part."

Correct, it states the following - "All firearms, ammunition and firearm parts, including firearm frames, receivers, clips and magazines are prohibited in carry-on baggage."

It then goes on to state "Rifle scopes are permitted in carry-on and checked bags.", which is actually a logical point, because scopes can be used as an visual assist device, sort of like binoculars but one eye at a time. I have a 3X that I used to carry with me hiking because I had a tube that it fit in, and the tube fit nicely in my pack... binos, not so much.

Anon sez - "Exactly what "possible threat items" do drugs look like?"

As I can not disclose exactly what something looks like on the Xray, it may not even be that the "drugs" look like anything specific at all, it may simply be in, on, or near an item that is deemed a possible threat. Either way, if drugs are discovered during a bag search, the local LEOs are to be contacted.

West
TSA Blog Team

SSSS for Some Reason said...

GSOLTSO sez "...It then goes on to state "Rifle scopes are permitted in carry-on and checked bags.", which is actually a logical point, because scopes can be used as an visual assist device, sort of like binoculars but one eye at a time. "

No, that *doesn't* make sense.

You can't bring a silencer because it is part of a gun. But you can bring a scope because it is part of a gun.

A silencer without an accompanying firearm is a metal tube. A scope without the accompanying firearm is a metal tube with some glass in it. Why is one permitted and one not?

And, no, it's not because they are illegal in some places. There is plenty of case law already on the books about transporting things between two places where that thing is legal in the starting and ending points of the journey.

Anonymous said...

GSOLTSO said...
it may not even be that the "drugs" look like anything specific at all, it may simply be in, on, or near an item that is deemed a possible threat.


So, it's the TSA's procedure to search things that are "on, or near" something which is determined by your :ahem: highly trained staff :ahem: to be a 'threat item'?

Considering you're talking about hand luggage here, anything in the bag in question could be considered "near" anything else in the bag. So, basically, you have carte blanche to search the entire bag.

God, I hate the TSA.

Anonymous said...

I've seen many opinions here and, whether or not you agree with procedures, is it not amazing that in this day and age, with all of the information on what is and isn't allowed on a plane, people still bring these things with them? Many have sited that a large amount of illegal items are not detected. Should this not alarm you? Really, people.

Anonymous said...

Uh, West, the flying public can see what items look like on TSA's xray machines because we can see the screens that screeners view as we stand there, waiting for our stuff to come down the belt.

It is not a secret, therefore is not SSI.

Share away!

Anonymous said...

West, why are you "venturing" anything? The screener was following the policy you linked to above when confiscating the silencer, right? There is no other policy that applies to silencers, right? The screener wasn't just deciding on a whim that a silencer wasn't allowed, right?

So why are you "venturing"?

RB said...

GSOLTSO said...
RB sez - "The page you gave as reference does not specifically identify a silencer as being a prohibited gun part."

Correct, it states the following - "All firearms, ammunition and firearm parts, including firearm frames, receivers, clips and magazines are prohibited in carry-on baggage."

It then goes on to state "Rifle scopes are permitted in carry-on and checked bags.", which is actually a logical point, because scopes can be used as an visual assist device, sort of like binoculars but one eye at a time. I have a 3X that I used to carry with me hiking because I had a tube that it fit in, and the tube fit nicely in my pack... binos, not so much.

I clearly stated in my post that the web guidance said that scopes are allowed in both checked and carry-on baggage. My question is why? Scopes are certainly part of a firearm.

Anon sez - "Exactly what "possible threat items" do drugs look like?"

As I can not disclose exactly what something looks like on the Xray, it may not even be that the "drugs" look like anything specific at all, it may simply be in, on, or near an item that is deemed a possible threat. Either way, if drugs are discovered during a bag search, the local LEOs are to be contacted.

If organics are flagged by the newer x-ray systems it seems fairly clear that drugs can be and are being targeted by TSA screeners. I suspect that during training TSA screeners are taught exactly what to look for when conducting an illegal search for drugs as well as how to not incriminate themselves with statements about the nature of search.

West
TSA Blog Team

June 21, 2015 at 11:02 AM

GSOLTSO said...

SSSS sez - "You can't bring a silencer because it is part of a gun. But you can bring a scope because it is part of a gun."

A scope is an ocular assistive device - the primary purpose is to provide better vision at a distance. It can function as a visual assistive device independent of the firearm - at least that is the common sense reasoning I have been told before. I did not write the regulations on this, so I can not give you a specific reasoning for the rules on scopes past a common sense explanation (which is reiterated above).

Anon sez - "So, it's the TSA's procedure to search things that are "on, or near" something which is determined by your :ahem: highly trained staff :ahem: to be a 'threat item'?"

Yes, how else would you clear an item in the bottom of the bag without moving the things on top of it, covering it, adjoining it? If we see "drugs" while screening the baggage, we are to contact the local LEOs - whether it is on top of a possible threat item, if it is the first item sitting on top as you open the bag or if it is the actual possible threat item.

Anon sez - "Uh, West, the flying public can see what items look like on TSA's xray machines because we can see the screens that screeners view as we stand there, waiting for our stuff to come down the belt."

Uhh, nice try, but I will stick to what the regulations say I can share!

West
TSA Blog Team.

Anonymous said...

GSOLTSO said...
SSSS sez - "You can't bring a silencer because it is part of a gun. But you can bring a scope because it is part of a gun."

A scope is an ocular assistive device - the primary purpose is to provide better vision at a distance. It can function as a visual assistive device independent of the firearm


And a silencer can act as a straw.

Anon sez - "So, it's the TSA's procedure to search things that are "on, or near" something which is determined by your :ahem: highly trained staff :ahem: to be a 'threat item'?"

Yes, how else would you clear an item in the bottom of the bag without moving the things on top of it, covering it, adjoining it?


"Moving the things on top of it" is way different than "searching the things on or near it". You can "move" something without opening it and searching it.

SSSS for Some Reason said...

"...Blogger GSOLTSO said...
SSSS sez - "You can't bring a silencer because it is part of a gun. But you can bring a scope because it is part of a gun."

A scope is an ocular assistive device - the primary purpose is to provide better vision at a distance. "

And a Silencer is an auditory assistive device - the primary purpose is to suppress the noise of a firearm (and no, they don't make guns go pfuit like in the movies).

Why is one prohibited for being part of a firearm but the other allowed when it is part of a firearm? You either prohibit firearm parts or you don't. If you allow exceptions for this what other exceptions are available to the travelling public?

GSOLTSO said...

RB sez - "I clearly stated in my post that the web guidance said that scopes are allowed in both checked and carry-on baggage. My question is why? Scopes are certainly part of a firearm."

See my above comments.


Rb also sez - "If organics are flagged by the newer x-ray systems it seems fairly clear that drugs can be and are being targeted by TSA screeners. I suspect that during training TSA screeners are taught exactly what to look for when conducting an illegal search for drugs as well as how to not incriminate themselves with statements about the nature of search."

Obviously, you have not operated an xray machine of this nature on a consistent basis, and I am unable to discuss the operation of said xray machine. I suspect that your suspicion is completely incorrect - as I have had bag search training for 10 years and have never once had any instruction on how to find "drugs", much less how to "not incriminate" myself while doing so. TSOs are taught how to search a bag in order to clear it for possible threat items. They are also informed that if they happen across "drugs" while searching for said possible threat items, they are to contact the STSO/LEOs. It really is that simple.

SSSS sez - "Why is one prohibited for being part of a firearm but the other allowed when it is part of a firearm? You either prohibit firearm parts or you don't. If you allow exceptions for this what other exceptions are available to the travelling public?"

I have already stated above that I can give you no specific reasoning behind that rule (I can give the common sense opinion that it can be used as a vision assitive device outside of being attched to a firearm), as I was not involved with writing it nor implementing it. As for what other exceptions there are, they are myriad. Canes are a dual use item, it can be a club or a mobility assistive device.A wrench under 7 inches is allowed, but a wrench over 7 inches is considered too large. Again, I can give you no specific reasoning behind these decisions, as I am not a policy maker. Some of these decisions boil down to common sense (even though it may not appear that way very often), some of them are made for reasons I do not know or understand (and some of those decisions are made based upon intelligence and research). I have no better answer to give you (at this point) than scopes can function as a sight assistive, a silencer is only a silencer and serves no other apparent reason.


Anon sez - "And a silencer can act as a straw."

Evidently you have used very few silencers. They would be fairly inefficient as a straw.

West
TSA Blog Team

SSSS for Some Reason said...

GSOLTSO said... Again, I can give you no specific reasoning behind these decisions, as I am not a policy maker. Some of these decisions boil down to common sense (even though it may not appear that way very often), some of them are made for reasons I do not know or understand (and some of those decisions are made based upon intelligence and research). I have no better answer to give you (at this point) than scopes can function as a sight assistive, a silencer is only a silencer and serves no other apparent reason."

Thank for at least trying. I know you can't answer the questions because of some sort of silly SSI nonsense, but I do appreciate you putting at least some effort into your response.

And as to the scope -vs- silencer issue and gun parts.... if I can provide some sort of additional utility for the silencer could it be moved to the allowed list even though it is a gun part? I am asking seriously. What level of utility of an item is required to move it from the prohibited list to the allowed list?

RB said...

GSOLTSO said...

"as I have had bag search training for 10 years"

West
TSA Blog Team

June 23, 2015 at 12:42 PM

....................
I have read that the newer versions of baggage x-ray equipment flag organics and some other items. I have seen screens at airports that back up my readings but have not had a chance to understand everything that the x-rays display.

I am a bit surprised to learn that TSA BDO's are being trained on baggage x-ray operations. Or have the smaller airports like GSO eliminated the BDO position?


RB said...

WestTSA Blog TeamJune 23, 2015 at 12:42 PM said......."Obviously, you have not operated an xray machine of this nature on a consistent basis, and I am unable to discuss the operation of said xray machine. I suspect that your suspicion is completely incorrect - as I have had bag search training for 10 years and have never once had any instruction on how to find "drugs", much less how to "not incriminate" myself while doing so. TSOs are taught how to search a bag in order to clear it for possible threat items. They are also informed that if they happen across "drugs" while searching for said possible threat items, they are to contact the STSO/LEOs. It really is that simple."

It's true that I have not operated baggage x-ray systems but I have been exposed to x-ray systems used for aircraft inspection. I also have an edge in that I can read and learn. I know that some baggage x-ray systems display organics in a certsin color, that they offer target identication information and can display the nature of an item right down to it being an organic or inorganic explosive or what type of illegal drug that has been found.

16 years ago Insight, now Scantech, advertised how their x-ray scanner could detect illegal drugs and other items. I find it hard to believe that TSA has chosen to use less capable machines 16 years later regardless of manufacturer. Surely orange still flags a biological and with material discrimination knowing exactly what the item is gets handed to the operator.

West, you and the rest of TSA can try being coy but most of the information is already in the public domain. All it takes is some searching. Just like we learned that ETD testers have a drug detection capability, the only question being if TSA uses the capability. I believe that TSA uses every capability each system offers.

GSOLTSO said...

RB sez - "West, you and the rest of TSA can try being coy but most of the information is already in the public domain. All it takes is some searching. Just like we learned that ETD testers have a drug detection capability, the only question being if TSA uses the capability. I believe that TSA uses every capability each system offers."

It is not being coy at all, it is simply telling you what is. Many of the ETD machines have capabilities that are not posted to the public domain (as a matter of keeping what it can find a little bit more difficult to discover). I do know that some of the machines TSA has used (or currently uses) had the technical capability to detect several things not listed (at least, that is what the manufacturers have said). I can also tell you that I have never had an ETD alarm on something like "drugs". So, by default, your belief is incorrect (because I have tested bags that had "drugs" in them and never recieved a hit.

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

SSSS sez - "And as to the scope -vs- silencer issue and gun parts.... if I can provide some sort of additional utility for the silencer could it be moved to the allowed list even though it is a gun part? I am asking seriously. What level of utility of an item is required to move it from the prohibited list to the allowed list?"

I have no idea how they make those determinations (well, that is not entirely true, they get intel and input, and make determinations based upon what they believe to be viable threat matrices... but I am not certain of the exact process). The proposed change in allowance of knives was just about as common sense to me as it gets (of course, I have had a knife in my pocket since I was about 5 years old... except at work here), and look at how that turned out. Some of the things that seem to be the easiest decisions (or at least the easiest things to articulate changes for), are often the ones that never change. There are compelling cases to be made for changes to many of our policies, but there are also security/intel reasons for not making those changes that many of us are not privvy to. One of the big arguments over the years has been the shoe removal/non-removal argument. I personally have seen a set of shoes that contained enough explosives to blow a hole in the side of a plane (maybe not big enough to result in a catastrophic failure, but big enough to result in the loss of several lives). I personally believe (and currently the policies back that belief up) that shoes are a fairly decent threat vector that needs to be monitored. Many people here and at other sites disagree with me, and that is absolutely fine with me, I am not always right about things - perhaps I could be wrong about shoes (but currently according to the policy, I am not). I try to comment as much as I can back and forth with you guys, but there are many questions asked that the SSI lizard denies interaction with.

West
TSA Blog Team

RB said...

GSOLTSO said...

RB sez - "West, you and the rest of TSA can try being coy but most of the information is already in the public domain. All it takes is some searching. Just like we learned that ETD testers have a drug detection capability, the only question being if TSA uses the capability. I believe that TSA uses every capability each system offers."
::::::::::::::::

"It is not being coy at all, it is simply telling you what is. Many of the ETD machines have capabilities that are not posted to the public domain (as a matter of keeping what it can find a little bit more difficult to discover). I do know that some of the machines TSA has used (or currently uses) had the technical capability to detect several things not listed (at least, that is what the manufacturers have said). I can also tell you that I have never had an ETD alarm on something like "drugs". So, by default, your belief is incorrect (because I have tested bags that had "drugs" in them and never recieved a hit.
West
TSA Blog Team
June 25, 2015 at 8:28 AM"


There is a video put out by Insight, now Scantech, that shows how the system can discriminate between various target type items. I'm not going to post the link but it is clear that these systems can provide highly reliable information on a possible threat item. This video is about 16 years old so we can reasonably believe that capabilities have improved over the last 1 1\2 decades. They specifically noted the ability to find illegal drugs.

TSA claims those capabilities are turned off on their machines but TSA also claimed that WBI could not save images and that those images were not revealing. We know that TSA lied in that matter. Why would TSA not lie again this time?

TSA management and spokespersons have negative credibility and that will be hard to recover without a major turnover in staff. Liars can never be trusted and that is the path TSA decided take.

Anonymous said...

GSOLTSO sez...". I personally have seen a set of shoes that contained enough explosives to blow a hole in the side of a plane"

When?

The Shoe-Bomber was back in 2001. There was a 'threat' of shoe-bombs back in early 2014 but no actual shoe-bombs. There are no other reports of shoe-bombers or shoe-bombs in the media anywhere. The weekly blotter posts are all the proof that is required to show the TSA wouldn't keep it secret if they did find one.

So when did you see a set of shoes that could do what you said?

Anonymous said...

West, since you claim not to know the answer to our questions, why aren't you asking someone at the TSA who does know?