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Transportation Security Administration

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

Friday, May 27, 2016
Discovered 74 firearms image

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.

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


Submitted by Andre Kellman on

While the TSA is facing the 'onslaught' from the public for their lengthy processing, the evidence above is testament to the ongoing challenges. I hope whatever formula that is considered by the TSA is one that not favors reducing the security processing. Sorry, it is what it is, the lengthy time is necessary for safety and security, also it is the terrorist groups who are seeking audiences and new targets of which the US can be considered a prime suspect, so TSA continue to do your work and my only advise is to announce these discoveries, but all you do don't stop the processing.

A. Kellman

Submitted by Fix The TSA on

Bob, your sad attempt to "prove" that the work slow down did anything more than cost travelers time and money is another failure. Is it possible that screening 2,700,000 passengers more than in a normal week meant you would statistically find 20 more weapons than usual?

Let's look at the statistics.

14,7000,000 people. 74 guns. That's .0005% of all passengers found with a weapon.

Typical week has been 12,000,000 people and 54 guns. That's .00045% of all passengers.

A 22% increase in passengers, but only an 11% increase in finds is not good, especially since this is a statistical anomaly. Next week, the number will drop back down, if you're honest.

Sure, when you scream, "WE FOUND 20 MORE GUNS!!!!!" that could sound like a lot, but what you really should be mumbling is "We found weapons on .00005% more passengers."

Not much of a record-breaking performance, Bob.

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

Why isn't "precheck" the default level of screening for ALL passengers, and not just the wealthy, elite, and lucky?

Wouldn't the lines be shorter if you didn't waste everyone's time with a scientifically indefensible liquid ban, a pointless shoe carnival, and your slow, invasive, and ineffective naked body scanners?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Just out of curiosity, if someone applied for precheck today, what's the earliest they might actually get the "benefits" of precheck?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Last time I flew, the lines were so long that the screeners shut down the scanners and told people to leave their shoes on and walk through the metal detectors. Lines went away. Why don't you just do this on a permanent basis?

Submitted by Falcor96122@yah... on

Having worked for the agency for a number of years and having read and still reading this blog I find it hard to believe that the number of firearms discovered at the checkpoint is slowly increasing. Perhaps a harder look at the penalties that are currently in place and significantly more media attention may help to curb this weekly process. With all the attention on wait times etc. there are some ways of trying to effect change without all the negative exposure the agency deals with on a daily basis.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Thank you very much for your service and diligence, TSA!

Submitted by Anonymous on

".. All of the firearms pictured were discovered last week. "

No. They are not. This is such a tiny thing that you keep getting wrong. If you can't get this small thing correct how can we trust you to get the big things correct?

Submitted by Wintermute on

TSA is security theatre and does not keep you safe, as evidenced by the astronomical failure rates.

Submitted by Falcon-One on

Long lines…… Why? The majority of passengers bring too much stuff with them to carry-on the aircraft. And along with that, a good number of them bring whether knowingly or unknowingly prohibited items with them. The bag must be stopped and looked through to find the offending item or items. The TSA officers can only look through one bag at a time, and this slows down the line. A lot of passengers also seem to not understand the concept of nothing in their pockets, no belt, no shoes, and no jacket on. This adds to the line slow down because they go back to the X-Ray machine to put their stuff through. Still more passengers think they can show up 15 minutes before their flight take off and think they catch their plane. And now because of cheap gas prices, more people are flying again.

Let’s try this, STOP complaining about the TSA and fix the problem yourself by FOLLOWING THE RULES!!!!!! Bring less carry-on stuff with you. Check out your carry-on, make sure it does not have any prohibited items in it. Empty your pockets, and I mean EMPTY, NOTHING in them!!! Show up 2 hours early before you flight leaves. This is simple stuff people. Anyone can do the right thing. Be part of the solution, and not part of the problem.

Submitted by Wintermute on

Hmmm... More comments approved since I made my last one - which followed guidelines - yet my last comment isn't approved. If you don't approve comments in the order they are received, why bother approving them at all? It breaks the "conversation" either way...

Submitted by Anonymous on

If you don't like the way the TSA conducts business then stay out of our aiports. Simple as that!

Submitted by Anonymous on

If you don't like the way the TSA conducts business then stay out of our aiports. Simple as that!

Submitted by Adam Jenkins on

The way you present this, with all the pictures of the guns you found, is frightening and can make people very anxious about travelling by airplane in our country. As it is said above it would be better to tell the proportion of people with guns trying to bring them in the plane because people reading your blog will not automatically calculate it. Because this proportion is actually very low, it could rassure travellers to travel by airplane in USA.

Submitted by CliffOnTheRoad on

to ANON at May 28, 2016 at 10:55 PM (can U not come up with a better name?) who thanks the TSA for their efforts,

You are forgetting that these are paid employees, via your tax dollars. You might want to kiss the ground they walk on, but is there no feedback which could help the TSA or air travelers?

Ever see idle employees, see overstaffed lines, see a grandmother searched like a terrorist? Ah, it is the old-grandmother ruse which would smuggle that 8 ounce bottle of exploding baby oil which is keeping us safe. I forgot to thank you for helping here. (how many times have you posted?)

See my real zinnger next week, right here on the blog of next week.

Submitted by Doober on

Fix the TSA, I don't know who you are but I thank you for your concisely thought-out posts.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why are we still removing our shoes? The rest of the world hasn't required shoe removal for a few years now and no planes have fallen from the sky from shoe bombs. I've noticed in foreign airports the security lines move much faster. It doesn't take long for one person to remove and put their shoes back on, but if you multiply that by the number of travelers each day, that really adds up. That seems like one area you could change the procedure, speed up the lines, and not lose any safety.

Submitted by Sirtrips-a-Lot on

Really good work! Let's do some arithmetic shall we? According to some recent security audits, the TSA failed to find contraband (including guns) 67-70% of the time>. I'll be nice an give you the extra 3%. 76/.33 = 230 total attempts. 230 attempts -the 76 you caught and only 154 actually got through. Cool! All those long lines at the airport, getting grouped and the violations of my privacy are definitely worth it.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Looks like somebody forgot the names Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and Richard Reid. September 12, 2001--"we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail." Sorry, some of us didn't forget that quote and don't want to be caught asleep at the wheel. The minute the TSA stops checking for this, you don't think they will try it again? And yes, .00005% doesn't sound like much until you're on the airplane that a passenger with ill intent (not even necessarily a "terrorist") is successful. Thank you TSA for checking for firearms, thank you for checking for shoe bombs, and thank you for checking for liquid explosives.

Submitted by John Schuring on

With no disrespect, I believe your staff at San Jose on 5/18 purposely did not perform their job which led to a large number of people missing flights. There were several people looking busy and shuffling lines, but they did not usher passengers through the lines with the vigor I have seen at other airports. It was so obvious to us what was going on that one person choose to video the affair. I don't believe the staff is inexperienced or incompetent, so I believe they purposely slowed the lines down. Measuring wait times and thru put of people through scanners is a fairly simple operation. I would be interested in seeing what TSA statistics look like.


John Schuring

Submitted by Fix The TSA on

Bob, you didn't cut off the pictures at the end of the gun montages, which is good.

You did post a picture dated May 27, ????, which is outside of the dates you specified for this blog post (May 20-26, 2016).

Bob, you included some deceptive statements about wait times. Sad attempt at propaganda.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"The way you present this, with all the pictures of the guns you found, is frightening and can make people very anxious about travelling by airplane in our country."

Well, you have to remember that TSA wants to create a climate of fear and anxiety.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"Let’s try this, STOP complaining about the TSA and fix the problem yourself by FOLLOWING THE RULES!!!!!!"

Nonsense. TSA's "RULES!!!!!!" are the cause of the long lines and delays at airports, and do nothing to make anyone safer. If TSA had "RULES!!!!!!" that were based on reason and logic, and used screening technology that wasn't so slow, invasive, ineffective, and unreliable, the lines would evaporate.

TSA's "RULES!!!!!!" are the problem, not the passengers.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"The minute the TSA stops checking for this, you don't think they will try it again?"

Of course not. Shoes are a lousy way to deliver explosives, and we know no other country has a TSA-style shoe fetish. Yet other countries have not seen planes falling from the sky thanks to shoe bombs. And after a decade of the shoe carnival, TSA's own reports, right here on this blog, show that they have never - not once - found an explosive hidden inside a shoe.

Unfortunately, TSA is a malevolent and stupid agency, staffed by cowards, who can't admit to their own mistakes. Even more unfortunately, it's the rest of us who have to suffer for it. Pathetic.

Submitted by Fix The TSA on

Thank-you, John Schuring, for this report.

Submitted by Fix The TSA on

Hi Doober, thank you for your kind words. I catch myself posting with angry words here more than I like, but you and John Schuring, have inspired me (for at least a little while! lol) to try posting in a calmer, more objective fashion.

Submitted by Wintermute on

Looks like someone needs to do a little research to see just how viable those plots were. Hint: not very, if at all.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"...Anonymous Anonymous said...Looks like somebody forgot the names Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and Richard Reid."

Why would you say that? Neither of those attempts were stopped by the TSA. Neither of those attempts were even remotely viable ways of taking down an aircraft. And did I mention that neither of those attempts were stopped by the TSA but instead stopped by a combination of stupid terrorists and alert passengers?

You can hold those names up as some sort of talisman of protection, the rest of us will just snicker while trying to keep a straight face for the sake of politeness.

Submitted by I Dont Like Fal... on

I have waited over 30 days for my KTN. Called them after 35 days and was just told to wait another two weeks. I gave myself 6 weeks in hopes to use the TSA pre-check for a scheduled trip. Looks like this will not happen on time. How can one get a refund if KTN not received in 30 days? Why can't the customer call center representatives not able to tell what the delays is? I'm not getting what was advertised and am tired of waiting. I just want my money back. I'll just drive for now on!!