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TSA Week in Review - December 18th - 24th: 73 Firearms, Inert Ordnance and More

Wednesday, December 27, 2017
TSA discovered 73 firearms over the last week in carry-on bags around the nation. Of the 73 firearms discovered, 62 were loaded and 26 had a round chambered.

TSA discovered 73 firearms over the last week in carry-on bags around the nation. Of the 73 firearms discovered, 62 were loaded and 26 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 week. See complete lists below.

The inert ordnance on top was discovered in a checked bag at Tampa (TPA) and the inert grenades on the bottom were discovered in as checked bag at Norfolk (ORF).

The inert ordnance on top was discovered in a checked bag at Tampa (TPA) and the inert grenades on the bottom were discovered in a checked bag at Norfolk (ORF). We don’t know grenades or other types of ordnance 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. Real, inert, or anything resembling a grenade is prohibited in both carry-on and checked baggage.

From the left, these items were discovered in carry-on bags at ORD, DTW, STL, BUR, BWI, ABQ, ABQ.

From the left, these items were discovered in carry-on bags at ORD, DTW, STL, BUR, BWI, ABQ, ABQ. While all knives are prohibited in carry-on bags, they may be packed in checked baggage.

Checkpoint and checked baggage screening acts as a deterrent to keep those with ill will from attempting to cause catastrophic damage to an aircraft. 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 pocket knives and many other prohibited items too numerous to note.

TSA discovered 73 firearms over the last week in carry-on bags around the nation. Of the 73 firearms discovered, 62 were loaded and 26 had a round 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. 

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!

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Bob Burns

TSA Social Media

Comments

Submitted by Smoke on

It would be interesting if you could publish some of the excuses given for having a firearm etc in the carryon. No names of course.

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

"...The inert ordnance on top was discovered in a checked bag at Tampa "

Once it was determined to be inert was it allowed to fly? If not, why not?

Submitted by CB on

Congratulations to Bob Burns for being awarded 2017 Employee of the Year. Keep up the good and informative work!

Submitted by Wq 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 West Cooper on

The most common reason given in firearm discovery situations, is some variation of "I forgot". We have had a ton of other reasons, from "I thought we could carry them as long as you guys x-rayed them" all the way to "whose gun is that?".

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by West Cooper on

I know right? How cool is that?

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Captain Obvious on

"...The inert ordnance on top was discovered in a checked bag at Tampa "

Once it was determined to be inert was it allowed to fly? If not, why not?
--------------------------
Uh, would you like to be on a plane where someone pulls out a hand grenade and says "That's ok, it's inert."
Sometimes I really wonder if people are just trolling or actually this unintelligent.

Submitted by Answer on

No, it would not be allowed to fly. Inert or not, if someone wants to cause a scene or attempt a hijack they just need to act as though it is not inert. So any replicas that are realistic are not allowed through.

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

"..Uh, would you like to be on a plane where someone pulls out a hand grenade and says"

You are saying that you would fear the items are not inert meaning you think the TSA either missed the item entirely or didn't screen the item sufficiently to determine if it is inert and therefore it could be dangerous.

Your answer reveals your lack of confidence in the very organization you claim to support.

Submitted by OhhEyeAaee on

do any comments get answered?

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by CB on Thu, 2017-12-28 10:27
Congratulations to Bob Burns for being awarded 2017 Employee of the Year. Keep up the good and informative work!
................
Must be a different Bob Burns than the one on the TSA Blog.

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by Captain Obvious on Mon, 2018-01-01 16:00
"...The inert ordnance on top was discovered in a checked bag at Tampa "

Once it was determined to be inert was it allowed to fly? If not, why not?
--------------------------
Uh, would you like to be on a plane where someone pulls out a hand grenade and says "That's ok, it's inert."
Sometimes I really wonder if people are just trolling or actually this unintelligent.

reply
Submitted by Answer on Mon, 2018-01-01 23:46
No, it would not be allowed to fly. Inert or not, if someone wants to cause a scene or attempt a hijack they just need to act as though it is not inert. So any replicas that are realistic are not allowed through.
.......................
Did you two rocket scientist not read the part about the items being in Checked Baggage? How is someone going to pull out something when it is checked?

Guessing actually this unintelligent in your cases!

Submitted by That's Odd on

Why is West Cooper only answering questions about firearms finds, while ignoring those about the false positive rate of your naked body scanners?

Is West Cooper afraid to answer?

Is West Cooper in a snit because someone accurately described the naked body scanners as such?

What about Employee of the Year Curtis Burns?

Submitted by West Cooper on

Yes.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by West Cooper on

I talk about firearms, because they are an item we find consistently, and it is never a positive experience for the passenger, their families, the TSO that finds it on X-Ray, the TSO that finds it in the bag, the LEO that has to respond and possibly arrest a passenger, and the STSO that has to do the reports associated with the event. When a passenger brings a firearm into a checkpoint and TSA finds it, it can be a life changing event, and not in a positive way. I keep hoping that by consistently talking about firearms, someone somewhere will read one of these comments and *not* bring a firearm into the checkpoint.

Speaking of, if any of our readers have any questions about firearms and flying, here is a link to TSAs page on transporting firearms.

The last time I was in a snit, I was playing a "God of War" video game - more specifically the end of GOW 3.

I simply ignore it when people use the incorrect names, especially when they use them on purpose.

Bob is having a great day, I am fairly certain he has had coffee by now and has a positive outlook on life.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Anonymous on

Submitted by West Cooper on Wed, 2018-01-03 14:14
Yes.

TSA Blog Team

At least you admit that you are afraid to answer questions.

Submitted by West Cooper on

You got me, I admitted that some questions are answered here at the Blog.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by That's Odd on

Your terminologies are intentionally obfuscatory; why can't you answer simple and legitimate questions when asked? Why are West Cooper and Curtis Burns such cowards?

Submitted by West Cooper on

Our terminologies are correct, apparently you assign muddling where it does not exist. I answer the questions that I am able, without disclosing information that is considered SSI. The problem is that many of the questions asked repeatedly, are asking for SSI or for information that I do not have (or that is not publicly available).

Really? Name calling? We were having such an enriching conversation...

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

"...without disclosing information that is considered SSI. "

What part of the 3-1-1 rules is SSI? And why would it be considered SSI?

What part of prohibiting inert objects from checked baggage is SSI? And why would it be considered SSI?

You are a public agency with no military or law enforcement authorities so nothing you do can legally be SSI. You calling it that doesn't make it that.

Submitted by West Cooper on

SSSS sez - "...without disclosing information that is considered SSI. "

What part of the 3-1-1 rules is SSI? And why would it be considered SSI?

What part of prohibiting inert objects from checked baggage is SSI? And why would it be considered SSI?

You are a public agency with no military or law enforcement authorities so nothing you do can legally be SSI. You calling it that doesn't make it that."

Again, many questions posed here ask for SSI. Like asking what part of SSI is SSI. Like asking what part of something in the SOP is SSI. So, we simply answer the questions we can, that are not SSI, or are publicly posted by the TSA head shed - the others, we do not.

Just in case any of our readers are a bit unclear on what SSI is, you can view the CFR that governs it here.

TSA is a public agency, with some Law Enforcement authority and responsibilities, whether you recognize that or not, it is the truth.

Similar to your proclamation above - saying something is not SSI does not make it so, and declaring that the things the agency does are not legally able to be declared SSI is bordering upon laughable.

*For those of you interested in some of the history of SSI (which began in 1974 btw, long before TSA was even around), find the link to wikipedia (and if that is a bit too much reading for you) here is a quick history:

1974 - Air Transportaiton Security Act establishes the ability of the FAA to withold certain information from disclosure to the public (SSI), even to the extent it is exempt from FOIA requests.

It has been codified as part of information programs many times since then -1976 Title 14 CFR 191, Aviation Safety and Expansion Act of 1990, and ATSA of 2002 (the last one placed SSI in the purview of DHS/TSA).

TSA follows the federally issued guidelines for SSI in 49 CFR Part 1520 (which governs its use for all branches eligible).

I hope that this clears up any confusion our readers may have had regarding SSI.

TSA Blog team

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

"...I hope that this clears up any confusion our readers may have had regarding SSI."

Yes, It Does.

It proves, in your own words and own links, that you write your own rules and get to call whatever you want "SSI."

CFR 191, Chapter 1520.5 Sensitive security information, Section a, sub 3: " Be detrimental to the security of transportation."

And you know who gets to determine what is or isn't 'detrimental to security?' The TSA! The TSA has modified the rules so that they make the rules and then made a rule that says they can change the rule whenever they want.

SSI as originally written is nothing like what we have today and your attempt to minimize the evil that you perpetrate on the travelling public by referencing a rule that you don't follow as if that somehow makes what you do OK is.... well..... evil.

The only thing your agency is constitutionally allowed to do is disband.

Submitted by Not West on

To weigh in on the SSI debate, making SOP SSI is nothing more than "security through obscurity." Ask any security expert what they feel about that concept.

Also, it allows the TSA to shield themselves from accountability. Something horrible happens to a passenger during screening? Sorry for your experience, bit SOP was followed. What part of SOP allowed it to happen? Sorry, can't tell you because it's a secret.

Excuse me while I'm over here weeping for our Constitution. Why are not more people up in arms over this? Why do presumably good people defend this practice? Or worse, participate in it?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Submitted by Not West on Tue, 2018-01-09 10:14
To weigh in on the SSI debate, making SOP SSI is nothing more than "security through obscurity." Ask any security expert what they feel about that concept.

Also, it allows the TSA to shield themselves from accountability. Something horrible happens to a passenger during screening? Sorry for your experience, bit SOP was followed. What part of SOP allowed it to happen? Sorry, can't tell you because it's a secret.

Excuse me while I'm over here weeping for our Constitution. Why are not more people up in arms over this? Why do presumably good people defend this practice? Or worse, participate in it?
.....................................
The DHS OIG has taken TSA to task for labeling things TSA doesn't want to talk about SSI, even blocking items from the OIG, and that takes big gonads.

https://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Roth-DHS-IG-State...

"Transparency at TSA"

https://gizmodo.com/tsas-secrecy-is-absurd-according-to-agencys-own-watc...

"TSA's Secrecy Is 'Absurd' According to Agency's Own Watchdog"

http://www.govexec.com/management/2015/01/homeland-security-ig-protests-...

Homeland Security IG Protests Redactions in Report on Airport Security Lapses

And the list goes on. TSA can't stand the light of the sun on its procedures and policies because they won't hold up to public scrutiny. We see examples of this here on the TSA Blog. How many times over the years has the question "why does TSA toss liquids to dangerous to travel in common trash bins right at the checkpoint" (or variations of that question) been asked? The verbage will be something like our explosive experts agree with some crackpot or some other flat out lie.

Then West brings up meteorites hitting the earth as some kind of justification of TSA's LGA rules. The fact is that thousands of meteorites impact the earth every year and we don't do a darn thing to stop it because the chance of someone getting hurt is about as likely as an airplane being hijacked. Yet we spend $8,000,000,000.00 taxpayer dollars yearly so TSA can abuse U.S. air travelers. It's is past time that TSA was taken control of by the PEOPLE, the employers of TSA.

TSA and TSA employees stand in stark opposition to the United States and its Constitution.

Submitted by West Cooper on

Actually, I simply responded to someone else making a comment about asteroids. I never used them as a justification for anything.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Anonymous on

Submitted by West Cooper on Tue, 2018-01-16 08:58
Actually, I simply responded to someone else making a comment about asteroids. I never used them as a justification for anything.

TSA Blog Team

Really?

"Submitted by West Cooper on Sun, 2018-01-14 09:09
BBC news commissioned the video I posted above. So a *somewhat* neutral party paid and arranged for the demonstration. As for peer review, The criteria as I understood it, was the premise that there is a liquid explosive that can be used to blow up a plane - scientifically, he probably kept his notes private, so loonbags wouldn't try to duplicate his experiement, or worse, use his formulae to bring down a plane. I have no published account of a peer review of his specific demonstration.

I have personally been to the range with some of our TSSEs and local EOD, and watched a similar demonstration, done with materials that are not that difficult to obtain, built/combined on the tailgate of a pickup truck, and yielding enough explosive force to do some fairly serious damage to an airplane. These are actual bomb guys, that have decades of time building, designing, dismantling and deploying explosives of all kinds. When they tell me something explosive can do "job A", I tend to believe them.

Asteroids possibly hitting the earth has been a constant source of worry since we recognized what they were. Luckily, we have an excellent security system (the earths atmosphere) that renders most asteroid related threats moot - even so, we still have a few asteroids that actually impact with the surface of the earth (the numbers are a bit fuzzy, as most asteroids burn up completely prior to actually making contact, but some still get through).

TSA Blog Team"

Submitted by CindyM on

Congratulations, Mr Cooper on finding and preventing these dangerous items from making it onto airplanes. It appears that my last question did not satisfy your moderator, probably because I used precise language to identify the very private area your agents touch during pat-downs. My question remains. Since you are anxious to tell us about finding and confiscating these items, what can you tell us about dangerous contraband found between the legs of 65 year old women? My most private area-I would use the term found in basic anatomy texts but that seems to disturb you- has been touched several times by your agents. They get surly when I submit without thanking them for the privilege of being sexually assaulted. Perhaps if I understood what dangerous items have been located during the probing of the area right between a woman's legs I would approach these highly stressful invasions with a better frame of mind. Once again, thank you for your guidance. As to your suggestion that I file a complaint, everything I have read on TSA site and in news reports indicates that TSA regards these pat-downs to be within their guidelines.