Friday, January 8, 2016

TSA Week in Review: Black Powder, Smoke Grenades, Guns and More - January 1 – 7

Discovered firearms and knives

37 firearms were discovered this week in carry-on bags around the nation. Of the 37 firearms discovered, 30 were loaded and 15 had a round chambered. All of the firearms pictured were discovered this week. See a complete list below.

Discovered ammunition

Two canisters of black powder were discovered in a checked bag at Oakland (OAK), and a one-pound bottle of gunpowder was discovered in a checked bag at Cincinnati (CVG). Black powder and gunpowder are prohibited in carry-on and checked baggage.

Discovered black power

Two live smoke grenades and ammunition were detected in a checked bag at San Diego (SAN). In addition to a thick smokescreen, smoke grenades burn extremely hot and are a fire hazard. They’re prohibited in both carry-on and checked bags. 

Discovered a live M18 red smoke grenade

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 our explosives detection professionals must respond to resolve the alarm. Even if they are novelty items, you are prohibited from bringing them on board the aircraft. Six inert/novelty grenades were discovered in carry-on bags this week at Tampa (TPA), Orlando (MCO), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Birmingham (BHM), Kansas City (MCI), and Grand Rapids (GRR). Left to right, the inert/novelty grenades pictured were discovered at MCI, GRR and BHM.

Discovered gas-powered chain saw emitting fuel vapors

This gas-powered chain saw emitting fuel vapors was discovered in a checked bag at Chicago O’Hare (ORD). Chain saws can only be packed in checked baggage if they’re empty of all fuel and cleaned so that no fuel vapors or residue are noticeable. If fuel vapors are noticeable, it will be considered a hazardous material and will be removed from checked baggage by the airline.

Discovered four-inch knife

This four-inch knife was detected in the right thigh area of a traveler during advanced imaging screening at Boston (BOS).

Discovered a used gas-powered automotive shock absorber

A used gas-powered automotive shock absorber was detected in a checked bag at Chicago O’Hare (ORD).  Shock absorbers are allowed in checked baggage as long as they do not have sealed, compressed gas cylinders or hazardous materials. If the shock absorbers are sealed with compressed gas, they will not be allowed in checked baggage. Even if a shock absorber is not sealed with compressed gas, if it contains a residue or vapors of oil or gasoline, it is considered a hazardous material and will be removed from checked baggage by the airline. 

Discovered knives
All of the knives pictured were discovered in a traveler's carry-on bag at IAH.


Discovered knives
Clockwise from the top, these were discovered in carry-on bags at BNA, MSO, SAN, DAL, GDK, BDL, SJU and BNA.
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.



Firearms Discovered in Carry-On Bags ChartYou 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

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Bob Burns
TSA Social Media Team


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