Tuesday, May 31, 2016

TSA On the Job: Transportation Security Officer

Jonathan Williams
This is the first in a new series of #TSAontheJob guest blogs where you’ll hear from different members of our workforce about the work they do and why it’s important.  We hope you enjoy our first installment from DCA Supervisory Transportation Security Officer, Jonathan Williams.

I’ve been working as a transportation security officer at Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Va. since 2010. While screening thousands of passengers and bags daily can be challenging, I know it’s critical to our counterterrorism mission and national security. 

Jonathan Williams is touching sreen monitorI meet travelers from all over the world and know that screening isn’t something people look forward to during their travels. I get it. I understand it can be stressful at the security checkpoint and people don’t like the hassle of being screened. But I’m not going to allow any threat to be brought onboard an airplane and I’m going to stay vigilant. That’s the bottom-line for our frontline workforce. I am going to resolve every alarm and ensure no prohibited items are brought on planes. I won’t rush the process at the risk of the safety of passengers.

I really enjoy meeting people and their families and helping them through the screening process and more importantly, ensuring they have a safe trip. I’m proud of the work we do.

Jonathan Williams
Supervisory Transportation Security Officer
Reagan National Airport

Friday, May 27, 2016

TSA Week in Review: May 20th - 26th - A Record Breaking 74 Firearms Discovered in Carry-on Bags This Week - 65 Loaded

We know that there have been longer than usual lines at our busiest checkpoints during peak travel times and we are working hard to reduce the wait times as much as possible. For the majority of travelers (91%), wait times during the previous week were less than 20 minutes, with an average wait time of nine minutes. We screened more than 14.7 million passengers. Learn more about our robust plan to address lines at checkpoints and how to prepare for summer travel.  Watch a video on five steps for a smooth airport process.  
Discovered 74 firearms

A record 74 firearms were discovered this week in carry-on bags around the nation. Of the 74 firearms discovered, 65 were loaded and 18 had a round chambered. The previous record of 73 firearms was set last month (April 2016). All of the firearms pictured were discovered last week. See a complete list below.

Discovered 98 firearm primers and 45 black powder pellets

Ninety-eight firearm primers and 45 black powder pellets were detected in a carry-on bag at Boise (BOI). These are prohibited from both carry-on and checked baggage. In case you’re wondering what a primer is, it’s a component of ammunition that once struck, ignites the main propellant charge and fires the projectile.

Discovered firearms and knives
Clockwise from the top, these items were discovered in carry-on bags at IAH, SAN, EWR, JFK, TPA, CHS and PVD

Table for discovered firearms in carry-on bags list
In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly in carry-on bags, our officers also regularly find firearm components, realistic replica firearms, bb and pellet guns, airsoft guns, brass knuckles, ammunition, batons, stun guns, small pocketknives and many other prohibited items too numerous to note.

When packed properly, ammunition can be transported in your checked baggage, but it is never permissible to pack ammo in your carry-on bag.

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 2015 Year in Review post! If you haven’t read them yet, make sure you check out our year in review posts for 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Follow @TSA on Twitter and Instagram! 

Bob Burns
TSA Social Media Team