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TSA Week in Review: 35 Firearms, Black Powder, Concealed Knives and More

Friday, September 04, 2015
gun and bullets

35 Firearms Discovered This Week - of the 35 firearms discovered, 27 were loaded and 8 had a round chambered. The firearm pictured was discovered in a carry-on bag at Chattanooga (CHA).

A 12 ounce bottle of black powder, a safety fuse, firecrackers, lighter fluid and 21 shotgun shells

A 12 ounce bottle of black powder, a safety fuse, firecrackers, lighter fluid and 21 shotgun shells were discovered in a checked bag at Boston (BOS). All of these items, minus the shotgun shells are prohibited from being transported. Shotgun shells may be packed in checked luggage as long as the proper guidelines are followed.

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.

  • An inert grenade was detected in carry-on bag at Denver (DEN).
  • An inert grenade was detected in carry-on bag at Sacramento (SMF).
  • 12 novelty grenades and four decorative inert rounds were discovered in a checked bag at Anchorage (ANC).
Grenades discovered at ANC, SMF and DEN

L-R: Grenades discovered at ANC, SMF and DEN

Artfully Concealed Prohibited Items - Artfully concealed is a term used to describe an item that is 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.

A knife was discovered in a traveler’s carry-on bag at Jacksonville (JAX)

A knife was discovered in a traveler’s carry-on bag at Jacksonville (JAX). He was permitted to leave the checkpoint so he could place the knife in his car. The knife was discovered again upon his return taped to a fishing lure.

Two knives were discovered last week inside a hidden compartment in the sole of a shoe at Wichita (ICT)

Two knives were discovered last week inside a hidden compartment in the sole of a shoe at Wichita (ICT).

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.

A ceremonial sword was discovered in a carry-on bag at Norfolk (ORF)

A ceremonial sword was discovered in a carry-on bag at Norfolk (ORF).


Clockwise from top, items discovered at: DTW, DAL, SJU, PHX and BIS

Stun Guns - 27 stun guns were discovered this week at airports around the nation. Two were discovered at Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), two at Denver (DEN), two at Milwaukee (MKE), two at New Orleans (MSY), two at Detroit (DTW), two at St. Louis (STL), and the remainder were discovered at Atlanta (ATL), Augusta (AGS), Bradley (BDL), Burbank (BUR), Fairbanks (FAI), Houston Intercontinental (IAH), Jacksonville (JAX), Kansas City (MCI), Las Vegas (LAS), Memphis (MEM), Omaha (OMA), Phoenix (PHX), Salt Lake City (SLC), San Diego (SAN), and Springfield (SGF).


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. The ammunition pictured was discovered in a carry-on bag at IAD.


Clockwise from the top left: Firearms discovered in carry-on bags at: PIT, PBI, IAH and BNA

Chart for discovered firearms in carry-on bags list

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.


Submitted by RB on

Why didn't you list the $7,000 watch that a TSA screener stole this week at JFK?

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

Goodness! Look at those NOVELTY UNREALISTIC "grenades" being listed in the photo caption as actual grenades!

More deception by the TSA - improperly captioning items taken to new lows every week.

And look at the itty bitty knives that you trot out as "artfully concealed" and "dangerous!"

Even TSA's old boss wanted to change the rules to allow people to keep one piece of their private property - small pocket knives.

Yet, this blotter still makes a big deal of anon-threat.

Sad waste of tax dollars..

Submitted by Runner2 on

I'm glad they seized the NCO's sword. A Marine with a ceremonial sword clearly posed a grave threat to everyone aboard the aircraft. Thank God for the vigilance of those brave TSA agents.

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 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 served and sacrificed for 20+ are out of luck.

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

"..12 novelty grenades and four decorative inert rounds were discovered in a checked bag at Anchorage (ANC)."

Were they allowed to fly? If not, why not? You already said they were both decorative and inert.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Where are all of the other comments for this blotter post, West? Only six made it through the TSA censors.

Submitted by Tania on

Today we flew from Denver to Phoenix & we had an awful experience with TSA Pre. First of all the line for the TSA pre was waaaaay longer than the one for regular and premier passengers (which we are). And then the TSA official randomly selected us for a pat down. We've 2 overnight bags & laptop bags. It was absolutely ridiculous & thanks to a severely injured ankle, I was nearly toppled over when they did the pat down. To say we are displeased with TSA Pre is an understatement. It's become the slowest line at the airport. What a boondoggle.

Submitted by Anonymous on

There is something wrong with the guns(!) photo.

Underneath the top middle gun, there's a second photo of clips with an extremely white background, like the background has been edited. It appears Bob wants us to think those were the clips for that gun. Those clips are not listed separately in the caption, but it is apparent that those clips are not part of the gun photo above.

What is going on, Bob? West? Any explanation?