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TSA Two Weeks in Review May 22nd - June 4th: Welcome to Our New Blog

Thursday, June 08, 2017
Discovered Firearms

TSA discovered 150 firearms over the last two weeks in carry-on bags around the nation. Of the 150 firearms discovered, 128 were loaded and 53 had a round chambered. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers bringing firearms to the checkpoint can be arrested and fined up to $11,000. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure. You can go here for more details on how to properly travel with your firearms in checked baggage. All of the firearms pictured were discovered over the last two weeks. See complete lists below.

The blog has been silent for a couple of weeks while its been migrating to its new home. Comments are now enabled again and the old blog will redirect to this one.

Inert Hand Grenades

One inert grenade was discovered in a carry-on bag at Nashville (BNA) and two were discovered in checked bags at Des Moines (DSM) and Syracuse (SYR). We don’t know grenades are inert until our explosives professionals take a closer look, and that takes time and slows down the line. It can even lead to a complete shutdown and evacuation.

Knives, Swords, Hatchets, Throwing Star

Top - Bottom / L - R: These knives were discovered in carry-on bags at SBP, SAV, RIC, LAX, IAH, ABQ, CLE, DTW, BUF, BUR, FAI, SAT and ELP. While all knives are prohibited in carry-on bags, they may be packed in checked baggage.

Gun Powder

Gun powder is never permitted on an aircraft. There were two instances this week where travelers packed gun powder in their checked bags. Five 1-pound bottles were discovered in a bag at Boise (BOI), and one 1-pound bottle was discovered in a bag at Ketchikan (KTN).

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.

Firearm Discovery Spreadsheet
Firearm Discovery Spreadsheet

*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.

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. 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.

If you haven’t read them yet, make sure you check out our year in review posts for 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. And don’t forget to check out our top 10 most unusual finds of 2016 video!

Follow @TSA on Twitter and Instagram!

Bob Burns

TSA Social Media

Comments

Submitted by James Elsea on

Thanks for keeping us safe.

Submitted by RB on

Now that the TSA Blog is hosted at TSA.gov all content and comments become official government records. Hopefully TSA will understand that government is prohibited from censorship except in extreme situations and censorship is a clear First Amendment violation.

Submitted by Wintermute on

No threaded comments?! Wow!

To the previous commentor, safe from what? TSA has over a 90% failure rate in red team tests. Does that make you feel nice and safe?

Submitted by DW on

Wintermute, if you think TSA is so incompetent, why don't YOU try testing them? Although there's always room for improvement, I'm confident you'll find yourself being among the other 10 percent!

Thank you TSA for keeping us safe.

Submitted by Mike Toreno on

Clerk DW, are you saying the Red Team is lying? We are all looking at the same facts, and the facts show that the TSA fails over 90% of the time. Why should the burden be on one specific person to gather more evidence. Why don't you and your fellow TSA clerks pay better attention to your jobs?

Submitted by Rob Gyemant on

Thank GOD and thank Donald and Pence for TSA and their weekly upgrades! Be grateful dummy, remember 9/11?

Submitted by Mcpig on

One wonders, now that TSA and the employees are all agents of the government, how they are somehow exempt from the 4th Amendment and the established restrictions on the search and seizure of private persons and property without probable cause or a warrant?

What some consider keeping us "safe" can also be a slippery slope in the abrogation of Constitutional rights.

Submitted by MrProper on

McPig, when you put your carry-on onto the xray belt and push it into the xray, you are giving your bag to the TSA officers. They don't take your bag from your hands, go into your car and search it there, or go into your home and search you bags there either. You give your bag to them and with that is implied consent to search it.

Submitted by S Richart on

Anyone who experiences a TSA screener's hands, front or back, in their genitals needs to file a complaint of sexual assault with the police at the airport.

TSA is too cowardly to use the word "genitals" when describing their new comprehensive pat down procedure. Instead, they use the word "groin", which is a separate area of the body from the genitals or they use the phrase "sensitive area". There is no part of the body known anatomically as "sensitive area". Because TSA refuses to accurately explain to passengers how they will be touched, passengers cannot "consent" to a pat down if they do not know what it entails. If you do not consent to having your genitals searched, you have been sexually assaulted and need to file a complaint with the police.

This comment does NOT violate the TOS but I imagine the West or whoever might apply TSA's infamous "screener discretion" to hide it.

screen shot/DHS IG statement

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSAgent MrPropper, I suggest you look "administrative search" to learn what TSA is and is not allowed to do. If you did, you would see how they routinely exceed their authority, violating the 4th amendment in the process.

Submitted by Wintermute on

DW, I'd be glad to, but I wouldn't be able to report my findings without incriminating myself. It's also possible I already have, but I will admit to nothing.

Besides, who needs additional tests when we routinely read reports of TSA missing 11 entire people, or ladies handing over their firearm in the "sterile" area because they discovered they had accidentally brought it along, AFTER TSA missed it. Or gentlemen discovering they had forgotten to remove them from their bags after arriving at their destination, AFTER TSA missed them.

Submitted by RB on

The TSA tool "What can I bring" returns no results when queried for nitroglycerin pills.

https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring

"The final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.

Nitroglycerin pills
Search
Sorry, no results found at this time.

Suggestions:

Verify the item is spelled correctly.
Try entering fewer search terms."

Not very helpful.

Submitted by Anonymous on

DW, TSA claims it has to get it right every time. Can you claim with a straight face that they do that?

Submitted by Chip In Florida on

I like the new format, you could do a bit better on the browser test because it doesn't do mobile very well.

Then to your assertion that you can't tell what grenades are inert without some kind of special team to inspect..... Hogwash.

Your picture shows one inert grenade, maybe, and two hunks if metal that couldn't​ be considered grenades in their wildest dreams.

And since they were found in checked baggage, meaning the passengers have no access to them during the time on the aircraft, were they allowed to fly? If not, why not?

Submitted by West Cooper on

RB, I typed in "Nitro pills" this morning and got a green "Yes" for both checked and carry-on bags.

In response to TSA taking away an 8 month old - that is not procedure, please advise the individual to contact TSA at the following:

Contact TSA

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by West Cooper on Mon, 2017-06-12 11:31
RB, I typed in "Nitro pills" this morning and got a green "Yes" for both checked and carry-on bags.

In response to TSA taking away an 8 month old - that is not procedure, please advise the individual to contact TSA at the following:

.................

If a person puts in the root word "Nitro" the TSA tool offers 3 choices to pick from, each uses the full word "nitroglycerine" plus pills, medicine, or sublingual tablets. If a person chooses any one of those choices the results returned are as I described.

If a person just uses "Nitro Pills" then I agree there is a positive result. The problem is the choices offered by TSA do not return a positive answer or if the person types out the full descriptive name, as most would, the system returns a negative answer.

Now you guys got rid of the green bar which had no meaning and now have words which is an improvement but still, just how hard is it to get the TSA system to use whole words as they would typically be used by the public?

Just another TSA fail which ranks right in there with the 96% failure rate for threat items at checkpoints.

And TSA calls this "professionalism"!

Submitted by West Cooper on

Apparently we have revamped some aspects of the "Can I Bring" Tool. I know that some new items have been clarified, and some things have been added. Please check it out and see if it helps you with packing!

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by S Richart on

You didn't answer the question about the screeners marching in the parade, West. Were they or were they not on company time?

Submitted by West Cooper on

S R - I do not have any information to answer your question with - I simply do not know.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by West Cooper on Tue, 2017-06-13 09:43
S R - I do not have any information to answer your question with - I simply do not know.

TSA Blog Team
................

Would it be possible to find out?

On the matter of the "What Can I Bring" tool. A pro-active approach would be to take the information provided by the public and verify if the issue is as reported instead of defending TSA each and every time this problem has been reported to TSA via the TSA Blog.

I guess that would be asking public employees to actually do something though.

Submitted by Mike Toreno on

Clerk West, telling somebody who read a report of a violation by a TSA clerk that putting hands on an 8-month old is "not procedure" and to tell the person to use the Contact TSA link is an insult. Saying later that something is "not procedure" doesn't help. Perjury and false reports by TSA clerks are not procedure either. What needs to be done is to clean up TSA management so that the parent can be told that the clerk who did that was fired and every clerk working at the airport was read the riot act and given tests and drills on how to deal with children and their parents, and nobody should be allowed to work a checkpoint until they do the drill blindfolded, from memory. There shouldn't be any "TSA Cares" and there shouldn't be a standardized procedure providing for a passenger to request a shadow at the checkpoint to make clerks follow the rules, because these things shouldn't be needed. The TSA should hire people who follow the rules and fire those who don't. When I go to Target, there's no "Target Cares" number for me to call to make sure the store employees respect my dignity during the shopping process, and such an idea never occurred to me, because Target employees respect the dignity of customers and any deviation is a random failure by a bad employee, not part of the Target institutional culture.

Submitted by West Cooper on

Mike sez - "Clerk West, telling somebody who read a report of a violation by a TSA clerk that putting hands on an 8-month old is "not procedure" and to tell the person to use the Contact TSA link is an insult. Saying later that something is "not procedure" doesn't help. Perjury and false reports by TSA clerks are not procedure either. What needs to be done is to clean up TSA management so that the parent can be told that the clerk who did that was fired and every clerk working at the airport was read the riot act and given tests and drills on how to deal with children and their parents, and nobody should be allowed to work a checkpoint until they do the drill blindfolded, from memory."

So, based upon a random comment, on a social media site, TSA should "read the entire work force the riot act". I would be much more concerned with getting information from the individual, getting all available information, conducting a proper investigation into the situation, and devising the proper form of address to those that are in the wrong - with the additional introduction of training materials based upon the situation, to help make certain that the event was not repeated nationally. That all starts with the original individual filing a complaint. So it is not an insult, it is simply suggesting that the original person file a complaint to start that process moving forward.

Mike also sez - "There shouldn't be any "TSA Cares" and there shouldn't be a standardized procedure providing for a passenger to request a shadow at the checkpoint to make clerks follow the rules, because these things shouldn't be needed. The TSA should hire people who follow the rules and fire those who don't. When I go to Target, there's no "Target Cares" number for me to call to make sure the store employees respect my dignity during the shopping process, and such an idea never occurred to me, because Target employees respect the dignity of customers and any deviation is a random failure by a bad employee, not part of the Target institutional culture."

I disagree, TSA Cares is one of the best programs that I have seen come from TSA. It offers specialized training for our folks, to assist passengers that present unique challenges to the checkpoint area and processes. I like the idea of all of our employees having training on how to assist passengers with special needs - which is exactly where we start. Our workforce has consistent and recurrent training to assist passengers with special needs - then, we select some of our folks to recieve additional training, so that they can work with the passengers, to make their passage more personalized based upon their specific needs. Any situation where a TSO treats a passenger with disrespect is an aberration, not the norm or "institutional culture".

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Seeker on

I would like to know why your clerks cannot return a package or box wrapped properly after inspection.Putting tape across the top is not the same as when it was submitted. Also, Each week, the same complants come up on the ASK TSA site with the wording of letting that team know about the problem,yet it keeps happening,why is that. You have a new accademy where you train your people, yet it does not seem to work. why id that?

Submitted by Anonymous on

RB,

Just put in "nitro pills" in "what can I bring" both showed yes for checked and carry on. Can't wait to see what your next year long concern will be.

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by Anonymous on Wed, 2017-06-14 19:36
RB,

Just put in "nitro pills" in "what can I bring" both showed yes for checked and carry on. Can't wait to see what your next year long concern will be.
................

Apparently don't understand the issue any better than TSA and its employees.

When a person puts in "Nitro" the tool gives three options in a drop down to select from. If a person chooses any of those option the system returns a response that is not useful.

The Nitroglycerin medicine questions have been going on for well over a year. This new version of "What Can I Bring" is an improvement but TSA still can't figure out how to make the tool return useful answers.

I would think that somewhere in TSA's $8,000,000,000.00 dollar annual taxpayer funded budget that TSA could hire one competent computer program developer.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Rb, just put "nitro" into the search. Came yes for your pills. With nothing that you described. Are you sure you're using the room right?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Rb, just put in nitro pills. It showed yes for both responses.

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by Anonymous on Fri, 2017-06-16 21:01
Rb, just put "nitro" into the search. Came yes for your pills. With nothing that you described. Are you sure you're using the room right?
...........................
In my original comment I posted exactly what the response was from TSA's system and it was not giving a positive response. I agree that the results are different now and using the full term "nitroglycerin pills" does return a positive response.

Thanks TSA, it only took a couple of years to fix this one small item.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Thank you for sharing these stats. It's comforting to know you are keeping us safe.

Submitted by Adam on

When the TSA can move out of the lower depths of the swamp, actually do something to keep Americans safer in the air and prove they have more going for them than just surreptitiously groping people, then I’ll have some respect and trust in the agency. Until then, they’re merely an overreaction to an occurrence that only happened because of a failure of imagination.

Despite their protestations to the contrary, they are a government agency — bloated, overstaffed, and over budgeted for the work they do. And airports are in top locations to commit a crime in big cities - https://www.lvcriminaldefense.com/top-crime-spots-las-vegas/

I don’t think anyone would accept a 10% success rate from any other profession, yet we praise the TSA for not falling to 5%.

What's up with that?