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TSA Week in Review: 45 Firearms, Inert Grenades and More

Friday, May 29, 2015
The firearm pictured above was discovered in a carry-on bag at ATL.

45 Firearms Discovered This Week - Of the 45 firearms, 38 were loaded and 15 had rounds chambered. The firearm pictured above was discovered in a carry-on bag at ATL.

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.

  • A passenger at the Southwest Florida Airport (RSW) had two inert grenades in his checked bag and two fuses in his carry-on bag.
  • 3 inert/replica grenades were discovered in carry-on bags at Denver (DEN), Gainesville (GNV), and Richmond (RIC).
  • A replica grenade was discovered in a checked bag at San Antonio (SAT).
Clockwise from top left, inert grenades discovered at DEN, RSW, SAT, and RIC

Clockwise from top left, inert grenades discovered at DEN, RSW, SAT, and RIC

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.

Knives

Clockwise from top left, knives discovered at: STL, MCO, TPA, SJU, SFO, SAN, PVD, MCO, LAS, OAK, LAS, PBI, HNL, DEN, ABI, IAD, and BWI

Throwing Stars

From the left, throwing stars discovered at: ANC, SAN, and CLT

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.

A knife wrapped in a computer power cord was detected at A knife wrapped in a computer power cord was detected at Ketchikan (KTN).(KTN).

A knife wrapped in a computer power cord was detected at A knife wrapped in a computer power cord was detected at Ketchikan (KTN).(KTN).

  • A 15-inch cane sword was discovered at Chicago O’Hare (ORD).
  • A three-inch knife was detected duct taped under the lining of a carry-on bag at John Wayne (SNA).
  • A four-inch knife was detected under the lining of a carry-on bag at Tampa (TPA).
Stun knuckles and brass knuckles

From the left: Stun Knuckles (LAS), Brass Knuckles (PHX), Stun Knuckles (FAY)

Stun Guns - 26 stun guns were discovered in carry-on bags this week. Three were discovered at Orlando (MCO), two at Las Vegas (LAS), two at San Francisco (SFO), and the remainder were discovered at Austin (AUS), Boston (BOS), Burbank (BUR), Cleveland (CLE), Columbia (CAE), Dallas Love (DAL), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Denver (DEN), Fayetteville (FAY), Houston Intercontinental (IAH), Jacksonville (JAX), Lafayette (LFT), Minneapolis (MSP), Nashville (BNA), New York Kennedy (JFK), New York LaGuardia (LGA), Palm Beach (PBI), Phoenix (PHX), and Santa Rosa (STS).

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.

Clockwise from top left, firearms discovered in carry-on bags at ATL, MSY, ELP, HOU, DSM, and BZN

Clockwise from top left, firearms discovered in carry-on bags at ATL, MSY, ELP, HOU, DSM, and BZN

45 Firearms Discovered This Week - Of the 45 firearms, 38 were loaded and 15 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 $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.

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.

Comments

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

"...A knife wrapped in a computer power cord was detected "

Which is only mildly interesting considering I can bring knitting needles on the plane with no questions asked.

I can also bring scissors, which are simply two knives hinged together, with no question asked.

So why are you advertising this as a find again? Are you honestly asking for us to give you a gold star for doing the absolute minimum level of your job?

Submitted by Bill Craig on

At 65 with Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease, my travelling days are over, but I am so grateful for your protection throughout the times I visited my home country of Germany.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Bill

Submitted by Anonymous on

As a retired Air Traffic Controller, it would be nice to see in your weekly BLOG some of the actions taken against the MANY, MANY IDIOTS who try to carry weapons on airplanes. Like ARRESTED and Jailed! Something to that effect.

As I read the Weekly BLOG, I only see the consequences these IDIOTS face, but no action on the part of TSA or Local LEO's.

Just a thought.

Thanks.

Submitted by Anonymous on

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?

Submitted by Anonymous on

...so the TSA blog got caught violating its own policies with respect to posting comments on its blog, and it responded by simply changing the rules from "if you violate one of our rules, we'll delete your comment" to "we'll delete your comment for any reason we want, but here's an incomplete list of rules you probably want to follow".

How about a complete list of rules, Bobby? Or does that too strictly limit your ability to delete comments that call out your unethical and dishonest behavior?

Submitted by Jud Hanson on

Anyone who forgets they have a loaded firearm, giant knife or realistic novelty items in their carry-on is either too dumb to be out in public without adult supervision or is getting a kick out of causing a disturbance. I hope you keep track of names, because repeat offenders should be barred from flying.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Incredibly insignificant findings once again. 12,000,000 people flew last week on over 100,000 flights. You found 45 guns? That's .000375% of all passengers on .045% of all flights. In other words, practically zero. Not worth mentioning week after week after week after week...except as a propaganda tool.

This number has changed very little since you starred this blotter, and you're still missing over twice as many weapons as you find week after week after week after week...yet no planes are falling from the sky.

Why? Because you and I know no terrorist groups are trying to use planes for terrorist reasons. Which is why you never find a terrorist week after week after week after week.

Why don't you report something with real numbers, higher than mere thousands of a percent? Like the private property confu scated by your screeners, besides guns and INERT, REPLICA, and TOY items that may (or may not) resemble a WEI?

Let's see what the TSA is really doing.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Jud Hanson said...
Anyone who forgets they have a loaded firearm, giant knife or realistic novelty items in their carry-on is either too dumb to be out in public without adult supervision or is getting a kick out of causing a disturbance. I hope you keep track of names, because repeat offenders should be barred from flying.

May 30, 2015 at 4:53 PM
-----------------
Offenders, Even first timers, are subject to fines.
Quell Surprise when they get a $7500 administartive fine in the mail!

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

Jud Hanson said...
Anyone who forgets they have a loaded firearm, giant knife or realistic novelty items in their carry-on is either too dumb to be out in public without adult supervision or is getting a kick out of causing a disturbance

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

No.

What is forgotten is the fact that these people can legally carry their guns everywhere else EXCEPT past the security checkpoint. Its perfectly fine and safe to carry a firearm through Krogers, but suddenly very very bad once you cross into the airline terminal.

When you carry something like that everywhere else it is pretty easy to 'forget' that over here in this one area the thing that is perfectly safe everywhere else suddenly isn't because of a sign or something.

Submitted by Anonymous on

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 unvetted 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.

Submitted by Susan Richart on

Anonymous wrote:

"Offenders, Even first timers, are subject to fines.
Quell Surprise when they get a $7500 administartive fine in the mail!

May 31, 2015 at 2:12 PM"

You can bet that the TSA is NOT assessing fines in the majority of cases. If they were, we would have heard about them and the kangaroo court that allegedly upholds these fines.

They threaten fines of huge amounts, but actually if a fine is issued, it is in a much smaller amount, which if contested, will be lowered yet again.

How many people actually pay those fines?

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Submitted by Susan Richart on

"An internal investigation of the Transportation Security Administration revealed security failures at dozens of the nation’s busiest airports, where undercover investigators were able to smuggle mock explosives or banned weapons through checkpoints in 95 percent of trials, ABC News has learned."

http://abcnews.go.com/ABCNews/exclusive-undercover-dhs-tests-find-widesp...

'Nuf said. :-)

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Submitted by Anonymous on

The TSA had the right idea when they were going to allow small knives. Too bad they caved in to emotion rather than sticking with their logical decision. Nobody is taking over a plane with a knife anymore. If you are afraid of being stabbed on a plane, are you also afraid of being stabbed on the street, grocery store, etc.?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Wasn't the previously published failure rate 70%? This article says 95% of the tests were failed.

http://abcnews.go.com/ABCNews/exclusive-undercover-dhs-tests-find-widesp...

One of the testers had a bomb taped to his back, got a patdown after alarming the metal detector, and it was still missed. Meanwhile I'm getting every inch of my body touched for having the audacity to wear an insulin pump.

Submitted by RB on

Let's see what the TSA is really doing.

May 31, 2015 at 5:55 AM
....................
What TSA is really doing is a good question.

Seeing as how the old Red Team screener miss rate of 75% has once and for all been proven no longer accurate we do need to take a look at TSA screening operations.

Perhaps TSA should stop doing illegal searches for drugs, lay off searching for harmless liquids, and other such things. Instead of wasting effort on things that are harmless perhaps TSA needs to focus on real weapons.

What TSA is really doing is missing 95% of Red Team test objects. That is a almost prefect failure rate.

Undercover DHS Tests Find Security Failures at US Airports

"An internal investigation of the Transportation Security Administration revealed security failures at dozens of the nation’s busiest airports, where undercover investigators were able to smuggle mock explosives or banned weapons through checkpoints in 95 percent of trials, ABC News has learned."

Are you feeling safe now?

Submitted by TSORon on

SSSS for Some Reason said...
[[When you carry something like that everywhere else it is pretty easy to 'forget' that over here in this one area the thing that is perfectly safe everywhere else suddenly isn't because of a sign or something.]]

Sorry SSSS, that is absolutely no excuse. None. If I am not working I carry everywhere, every day. I always know I am armed, and where I can and cannot go with it. “I forgot” is the most common reason given by passenger’s, but it is absolutely no excuse for bringing a firearm to a TSA checkpoint. None.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Waiting for Mel's excuse for this travesty.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I think I know why the TSA refuses to report red team test results... News just reported they failed 67 out of 70 tests, making their failure rate MUCH worse that the 70% failure rate from years ago.

Submitted by Anonymous on

http://www.inquisitr.com/2137044/tsa-fails-to-stop-undercover-agents-sne...

"According to ABC News, an internal investigation has been launched into the TSA’s operations at some of the country’s busiest airports. The gaps in TSA security protocol were so big that undercover agents were able to successfully sneak banned weapons and explosives through airport security and onto planes, all without the TSA noticing. While the bombs were only made to look real, undercover agents got them past the TSA in 95 percent of test trials."

The TSA MISSED 95% of the (fake, thank goodness!) bombs!!

How much more useless can they be??

Submitted by Anonymous on

I want to apologize to the TSA. I have been giving you far too much credit. I have frequently cited the fact, based on old red team results, that TSA misses 2 prohibited items for every 1 they find. now, based on the DHS IG red team results, we know they miss on the close order of 19 for every 1 they find. sorry to have given you so much credit, TSA. the fact that you are wasting $8B of taxpayer funding every year must have blinded me.

Submitted by RB on

The news just keeps coming.

First TSA Screeners miss 95% of Red Team Test objects.

Then Secretary DHS boots Acting Director Melvin Carraway out of TSA.

Feeling safe now?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Well, given a 96% failure rate at finding dangerous contraband, you probably ought to stop crowing about finding inert hand grenades, brass knuckles, and other such nonsense. Makes you look foolish.

Submitted by Anonymous on

" If I am not working I carry everywhere, every day. "

Gee, I feel safer.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Missed identifying a weapon in 67 out of 70 cases? 95% failure rate? I'd say something about a blind squirrel and nuts, but in this case that wouldn't be fair to the squirrel.

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSORon said...
“I forgot” is the most common reason given by passenger’s, but it is absolutely no excuse for bringing a firearm to a TSA checkpoint. None.

True. The fact that TSA is ineffective feel-good political theater rather than an actual security apparatus might be a good excuse though.

Submitted by Anonymous on

When will a statement from the new Acting Director, who is also not a Security Expert, be releases?

Submitted by Anonymous on

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/02/us/head-of-tsa-out-after-tests-reveal-...


"In the investigation, undercover agents were able to get prohibited items through security checkpoints in 67 of 70 instances, according to ABC News, which first reported the findings."

The TSA is a joke. No terrorist would hijack a plane with the express intent of killing people anyway. They'd just show up to any of the ridiculously crowed, clogged up TSA checkpoints across the country. Far more completely unarmed people crammed into a space there than any airplane. Ironic, don't you think?

Submitted by Anonymous on

While there is no acceptable excuse for a 95% failure rate, we must also keep in mind that those test results were based on 70 tests. Those test were conducted at a very small number of airport, less than 10 airports at least one of which was a privatized airport. There is no way, based on this report to confirm or deny that these same results would be true if a majority of airports were tested. There are airports with a 100% pass rate. Also keep in mind that the first time pass rate for recertification testing nation wide is over 80%. Clearly the two dont match up. But the media wants to sensationalze everything, people like those who post here only believe and accept the negitive so it is workiing. Most people know there are two vastly different sides to the story. Personally, I dont give it much play.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Wow. With a 95% failure rate, if you folks caught 45 this week, that means that about 20 times as many (about 900!!!) flew without incident.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Maybe these test will once and for all prove that TSA needs the funding they once had. They need to return to the staffing numbers they once enjoyed. You cannot cut staffing by 25%, freeze wages for 7 years and expect good results. They need to get away from the customer service mindset and get back into security. Maybe TSA officers will start getting paid to do their jobs along the same scale as other DHS entities. You want professional results? You need to pay profesional wages. You cannot pay burger flipper wages and expect anything but burger flipper results. Treat TSA like other agencies.

Submitted by RB on

So Mark Hatfield, Jr. will be the next acting TSA Administrator. No background in police, security, or any other core discipline that qualfies Hatfield to be in any senior position in TSA.

Must be nice having a father that was a Senator from Oregon for many years. Must have opened a lot of doors.

Submitted by Anonymous on

So now that Melvin Carraway on his way out, is the taxpaying public "allowed" to ask on this government website, "Melvin, are you kidding?!"

And TSA blog team - this Captcha is impossible!!! I've tried over a dozen times, using both the visual and aural options. This can NOT be ADA compliant!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said...
So based on the 95% failure rate from the latest Red Team test, if TSA caught 45 guns, 855 were missed. Way to go, TSA!

http://abcnews.go.com/ABCNews/exclusive-undercover-dhs-tests-find-widesp...

June 1, 2015 at 11:33 AM
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
and no planes are falling from the skies, no passengers have been subjected to mass killings, and there have been no accidents resulting in damage or injury due to prohibited items, despite the near certainty that anyone who flies often has been on at least one flight with a prohibited item onboard in the last month. will all the TSA cheerleaders please 1) recognize that legal carry is not dangerous, 2) not even on a plane, and 3) we're wasting $8 BILLION a year on this charade - call your Congressman and get this changed!!!

Submitted by Susan Richart on

Melvin Carraway was only a scapegoat in this event. The real culprit was the former TSA administrator, John Pistole, who, I am willing to bet, saw this coming and got out while he could. That said, however, Johnson should have handed in his resignation also following Harry S. Truman's motto: The buck stops here.

Johnson is ultimately responsible for the failures.

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSAnonymous said, "They need to return to the staffing numbers they once enjoyed. You cannot cut staffing by 25%, freeze wages for 7 years and expect good results. They need to get away from the customer service mindset and get back into security."

Wrong on most accounts. TSA is way overstaffed, probably because so many are just part-time. Cut the staffing more and make the remained full-time.

The 7-yr wage freeze sucks and does not help employee retention and professionalism. I agree with you there. Eliminate the BDO and other useless wastes of money, which should gee up alittle for appropriate wage increases.

You can't get away from something you've never done. The lack of customer service is a huge problem for the flying public. Airports are not prisons and the TSA screeners are not guards or even real security. They are screening clerks. There is nothing wrong with being a screening clerk, looking at xrayed luggage ONLY for the administrative purpose of searching for WEI.

Submitted by Anonymous on

What? No immediate press release from Mrlvin Carraway to contradict and attempt to dismiss the 95% failure rate of TSA employees?

Submitted by Youmustbefromaw... on

And the 855 weapons that you *didn't discover last week...?

Submitted by RB on

Anonymous said...
While there is no acceptable excuse for a 95% failure rate, we must also keep in mind that those test results were based on 70 tests. Those test were conducted at a very small number of airport, less than 10 airports at least one of which was a privatized airport. There is no way, based on this report to confirm or deny that these same results would be true if a majority of airports were tested. There are airports with a 100% pass rate. Also keep in mind that the first time pass rate for recertification testing nation wide is over 80%. Clearly the two dont match up. But the media wants to sensationalze everything, people like those who post here only believe and accept the negitive so it is workiing. Most people know there are two vastly different sides to the story. Personally, I dont give it much play.

June 2, 2015 at 3:22 PM
....................

You seem to have information that hasn't been made public.

Care to share your source document?

Submitted by RB on

Anonymous Susan Richart said...
Melvin Carraway was only a scapegoat in this event. The real culprit was the former TSA administrator, John Pistole, who, I am willing to bet, saw this coming and got out while he could. That said, however, Johnson should have handed in his resignation also following Harry S. Truman's motto: The buck stops here.

Johnson is ultimately responsible for the failures.

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

June 3, 2015 at 9:50 AM
.................
The real shame is that Carraway is still drawing a mega-bucks government salary even after getting canned from TSA.

Only Wall Street and government awards senior employees for failure.

Submitted by Hans on

$8 billion a year, and the best you can do is catch things that can be found with 1980's magnetometers and x-ray scanners? And then with a 95% failure rate?

I think you people have a lot to answer for to the U.S. citizens.

Submitted by RB on

Anonymous said...
Maybe these test will once and for all prove that TSA needs the funding they once had. They need to return to the staffing numbers they once enjoyed. You cannot cut staffing by 25%, freeze wages for 7 years and expect good results. They need to get away from the customer service mindset and get back into security. Maybe TSA officers will start getting paid to do their jobs along the same scale as other DHS entities. You want professional results? You need to pay profesional wages. You cannot pay burger flipper wages and expect anything but burger flipper results. Treat TSA like other agencies.

June 2, 2015 at 3:29 PM
................
Bull Hockey!!

TSA screeners are over paid and under worked.

TSA needs to end the BDO programs as advised by GAO.

TSA needs to restrict its activities to screening duties instead of infesting professional sports venues, political activities, and such.

TSA checkpoints are overmanned based on the excessive numbers of TSA screeners standing around doing nothing.

What needs to happen first is a RIF of TSA employees down to a reasonable working number or better yet the removal of government screeners from airports altogether.

TSA is an $8 Billion Dollar budget buster.

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSORon said:

“I forgot” is the most common reason given by passenger’s, but it is absolutely no excuse for bringing a firearm to a TSA checkpoint. None.

And yet so many TSA agents are defending the fact that they "forgot" to carry out their only job function in NINETY-FIVE PERCENT OF TESTS.

"It's just an innocent mistake!" shouldn't fly for the TSA if it doesn't fly for passengers. Every TSO involved in ANY of these HORRIFIC failures should be fired immediately. There is absolutely NO excuse. None.

...not so much fun when that door swings both ways, is it, Ronnie?

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

"... Anonymous said...
Maybe these test will once and for all prove that TSA needs the funding they once had."

Why?

With the poor job TSA has been doing and still nothing has happened in the air.... seems like we could cut quite a bit more out of their budget and staffing levels.

Submitted by RB on

Looks like TSA.GOV finally updated the leadership page to reflect the new Acting Administrator Mark "The Real McCoy" Hatfield.

May his tenure be as successful as Carraway's.

Submitted by Anonymous on

With the poor job TSA has been doing and still nothing has happened in the air.... seems like we could cut quite a bit more out of their budget and staffing levels

I completly disagree with you on both parts. I think TSA has done a fantastic job. In spite of the "test" results. I dont give these results any value. Others will, but hey are anti TSA anyway. As for cutting the budget and staffing more,when budgets are cut and staffing is cut, something is going to give. And in the mind of the media at the anti TSA crowd, something did give. "Failed tests" and longer wait times. If you want a professional organization with professional results, you need a professional staff. To get a professional staff you need to pay a professional wage. Many at TSA, a majority of those at TSA are making as much or less than McDonalds workers. You get what you pay for. A McDonalds supervisor makes more than a TSA supervisor. A TSA supervisor makes about $25,000 less than a CBP supervisor. CBP lets how many tons of illegal drugs and how many millons of illegals in each year?

Submitted by Anonymous on
They need to get away from the customer service mindset and get back into security.

Right. If there's one problem with the TSA, it's that it invests way too much energy in customer service.
Submitted by Susan Richart on

RB wrote:

"You seem to have information that hasn't been made public.

Care to share your source document?"

I thought that also, RB. Could it be that somebody has said too much?

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

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