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TSA Week in Review: January 1st - 7th

Wednesday, January 10, 2018
TSA discovered 58 firearms over the last week in carry-on bags around the nation. Of the 58 firearms discovered, 52 were loaded and 16 had a round chambered. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.

TSA discovered 58 firearms over the last week in carry-on bags around the nation. Of the 58 firearms discovered, 52 were loaded and 16 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.

Clockwise from the top, these items were discovered in carry-on bags/property at BWI, BWI, OMA and BWI.

Clockwise from the top, these items were discovered in carry-on bags/property at BWI, BWI, OMA and BWI. While all of these 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 58 firearms over the last week in carry-on bags around the nation. Of the 58 firearms discovered, 52 were loaded and 16 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 videos for 2016 & 2017.

Follow @TSA on Twitter and Instagram and Like Us on Facebook. Have a question? Ask TSA on Twitter or Facebook Messenger

Bob Burns

TSA Social Media

Comments

Submitted by Ys 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 SSSS For Some Reason on

"...and 16 had a round chambered..."

Be afraid people, be very afraid! 16 guns were super-duper loaded this week!

One of the pictures of a gun supposedly found this week was a revolver. And per your own words every round in a revolver is 'chambered' so the question becomes did the six 'in the chamber' of the revolver count six times?

Submitted by Curious Statistician on

Do you guys keep statistics on the number of harmless items that you do not allow through (e.g. number of water bottles thrown away, number of children's toys confiscated, etc.)? What about the number of people unnecessarily stopped, or forced to miss a flight despite having broken no laws? It seems like those would be useful statistics to actually measure the efficacy of the TSA. You guys have a complaint form, but I don't see the statistics reported anywhere. It would be interesting to compare the costs to the so-called benefits.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Nope, it's a 5 shot revolver

Submitted by West Cooper on

TSA has worked with nursing mothers, medical professionals and security experts to consistently update the process of screening for nursing mothers as well as the screening of breast milk. Please find the TSA policy on breast milk in the "Traveling with Children" section of our website.

If any of you or anyone you are in touch with feel they have been mistreated by TSA (over breast milk, or any reason for that matter), please ask them to file complaints/claims at the TSA contact us page.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by West Cooper on

No, the loaded revolver was only counted once, and Anon pointed out that this one pictured was a 5 shot - while researching the make of the one in the image, I found that revolvers come in a wide variety of shot numbers. I found from 3 shot revolvers to 30 shot revolvers, and all kinds of versions in between. There are some really ingenious revolver designs out there!

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by TSA=AntiAmerican on

How many of those were the deadly finger gun? You know, when the thumb is raised over the index finger? Thank goodness the tsa is here to protect us from those full auto assault thumbs!!

Submitted by TSA=AntiAmerican on

Is that complaint form connected directly to the trash can, or does it go through a shredder first?

Submitted by Max Yost on

Does the finger gun from the Texas Tech college student you harassed count in this week's total? Don't believe me? Here's a quote from Fox News: https://tinyurl.com/yat9yt3m

Submitted by Susan Richart on

That's bull, West, and you know it. Have you EVER bothered to read the number of complaints from parents traveling with breast milk/baby formula/food on the TSA's twitter pages? Travelers with such foods are abused by the TSA on a daily basis and it's TSA's policy of allowing "screener discretion" in dealing with travelers that account for that abuse in additon to poor training.

Filing complaints with the TSA is a waste of time; far better to file your complaints with the DHS IG: https://hotline.oig.dhs.gov/hotline/hotline.php

Submitted by RB on

Did TSA ever count the pistol that a TSA screener brought to the checkpoint as part of his lunch?

Submitted by West Cooper on

It is simply the truth, TSA has worked with organizations and nursing mothers consistently over the years, to make common sense changes to the way we screen the person, and the breast milk.

I have read online comments and seen video from nursing mothers complaining about the TSA process. I have also participated in screening literally thousands of nursing mothers, their breast milk and other accessbile property with no incident. 

 Any time that any passenger feels that TSA has done something wrong, I ask them to file complaints/comments/claims with TSA at the TSA contact page. If they do not feel comfortable contacting us directly, then they are welcome to find some other way of bringing the situation to TSAs attention, like using the link you posted above.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Wow on

It's really weird how West Cooper is afraid to answer questions about false positives, seizures of harmless objects, and so on. It's almost like there's something fundamentally broken at TSA that he thinks will go away if he doesn't talk about it.

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by West Cooper on Tue, 2018-01-16 09:11
It is simply the truth, TSA has worked with organizations and nursing mothers consistently over the years, to make common sense changes to the way we screen the person, and the breast milk.

I have read online comments and seen video from nursing mothers complaining about the TSA process. I have also participated in screening literally thousands of nursing mothers, their breast milk and other accessbile property with no incident.

Any time that any passenger feels that TSA has done something wrong, I ask them to file complaints/comments/claims with TSA at the TSA contact page. If they do not feel comfortable contacting us directly, then they are welcome to find some other way of bringing the situation to TSAs attention, like using the link you posted above.

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

Is TSA in full compliance with the BABE Act, a United States law?

Do TSA policies and procedures conflict with the BABE Act, a United States law?

Submitted by Anna on

You should change the list of allowable items to read “Tattoo Machines” instead of “Tattoo Guns” only tweakers and kids call them guns, it’s so cringy.

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by West Cooper on Tue, 2018-01-16 09:11
It is simply the truth, TSA has worked with organizations and nursing mothers consistently over the years, to make common sense changes to the way we screen the person, and the breast milk.

I have read online comments and seen video from nursing mothers complaining about the TSA process. I have also participated in screening literally thousands of nursing mothers, their breast milk and other accessbile property with no incident.

Any time that any passenger feels that TSA has done something wrong, I ask them to file complaints/comments/claims with TSA at the TSA contact page. If they do not feel comfortable contacting us directly, then they are welcome to find some other way of bringing the situation to TSAs attention, like using the link you posted above.

TSA Blog Team

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

West, you tell us how TSA has done all of these things yet people, in this case a pregnant mom, is once again abused by TSA. Forgive me if I have little confidence in what you write, it just isn't true in practice. I don't know why TSA can't properly train its employees but the same issues are reported over and over again and nothing at TSA gets fixed.

When something is so broken that it can't be fixed it goes in the garbage heap and that is exactly where TSA belongs along with its 60,000 or so employees.
..........................................

http://boston.cbslocal.com/2018/01/15/pregnant-mom-tsa-metal-detector-co...

Pregnant Mom Says TSA Would Not Let Her Avoid Metal Detector

The Harwich mother says it became a big deal when she requested a TSA pat-down instead of stepping through the screening equipment.

“It’s on their website, says you can ask,” she said. “I’ve done it before.”

What’s called “a female assist” never came. Handler, holding her two-year-old, says she faced repeated questioning from multiple employees.

“’Do you know the difference between a metal detector and scanner? We’re going to have to pat-down your son, we don’t like to pat-down children,'” Handler said the TSA agent told her. “Round and round we went until I’m uncomfortable. So I went through the metal detector.”

She became even more upset when the return trip went so much smoother.

“I was told by the TSA agents in Pittsburgh that what had happened to me in Boston was inappropriate,” Handler said.

****************Handler says she contacted TSA on December 22nd, but never heard back.******************

********************
So much for your guidance to contact TSA in your many postings. The public already knows that is a wasted effort.

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by Anna on Wed, 2018-01-17 02:01
You should change the list of allowable items to read “Tattoo Machines” instead of “Tattoo Guns” only tweakers and kids call them guns, it’s so cringy
...................

TSA isn't staffed with professionals of any kind so it kinda fits, eh.

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by Wow on Tue, 2018-01-16 11:17
It's really weird how West Cooper is afraid to answer questions about false positives, seizures of harmless objects, and so on. It's almost like there's something fundamentally broken at TSA that he thinks will go away if he doesn't talk about it.
...........................
Neither West or anyone else at TSA can answer these questions because they have no valid answers.

Adding to your list is the most basic and simple question that TSA refuses to answer: If LGA's discovered at Passenger Screening Checkpoints are too dangerous to fly, since TSA believes these items could be potential bombs, why does TSA just toss them into common trash bins right at the checkpoint?

The above is another question that TSA ignores because it proves TSA's LGA policy is nothing more than a big show and offers no enhanced security for passengers.

TSA broken? Broken doesn't even begin to describe what's wrong with TSA and TSA employees.

Submitted by West Cooper on

I am not a legal expert, nor an attorney allowed to speak on compliance non-compliance for the organization. I can however, post that the procedures for screening breast milk are posted at the TSA Traveling with Children page. The info posted there is as follows:

"

Screening Formula, Breast Milk and Juice

TSA officers may need to test liquids for explosives or concealed prohibited items. Officers may ask you to open the container and/or have you transfer a small quantity of the liquid to a separate empty container or dispose of a small quantity, if feasible.

Inform the TSA officer if you do not want the formula, breast milk and/or juice to be X-rayed or opened. Additional steps will be taken to clear the liquid and you or the traveling guardian will undergo additional screening procedures, to include a pat-down and screening of other carry-on property."

There is further commentary in the 3-1-1 section on the same page that reads as follows:

"

3-1-1 Liquids Rule Exemption

Formula, breast milk, juice in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters are allowed in carry-on baggage and do not need to fit within a quart-sized bag. Remove these items from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from the rest of your belongings. You do not need to travel with your child to bring breast milk.

Ice packs, freezer packs, frozen gel packs and other accessories required to cool formula, breast milk and juice are allowed in carry-on. If these accessories are partially frozen or slushy, they are subject to the same screening as described above. You may also bring gel or liquid-filled teethers, canned, jarred and processed baby food in carry-on baggage. These items may be subject to additional screening."

TSA Blog Team


 

Submitted by West Cooper on

In the link you include, TSA gives a response that they are currently looking into the incident, and will reach out to the individual directly. Looking into something can take some time, especially if they have to conduct interviews, review camera footage, and conduct an actual inquiry.

As for public opinion, I have seen satisfied passengers post here, as well as dissatisfied passengers like yourself. I will continue to give the exact same guidance in situations where passengers feel they have been mistreated by TSA, please file the complaints/claims/comments with TSA. TSA can't fix problems it does not know about, so if you are one of these folks, please visit this page for complaints, or you can visit the TSA Contact page for other options.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by BS on

West, I once attempted to seek redress about a terrible screening incident in PHL on this blog. You stopped responding to my posts after I used the "wrong" terminology to describe the TSA employee who was responsible - even though I couldn't know the "right" terminology because this person was not uniformed and refused to tell me his name or job title.

You're a bad, unfunny joke, just like your sick excuse for an agency.

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

"....Ice packs, freezer packs, frozen gel packs and other accessories required to cool formula, breast milk and juice are allowed in carry-on."

Because a terrorist would never think of putting the dangerous liquid explosive inside one of those freezer packs.

Your nonsense with the 3-1-1 rules are just plain stupid. If liquid explosive was a viable attack vector then no liquids would be allowed through security. The fact you make exceptions for liquids proves that liquids are not dangerous and your casual disposal of the liquids at the choke..... check point reinforces that liquids are not dangerous.

I want nothing less than the total removal of the TSA but I will settle for the end of your 311 foolishness.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Submitted by West Cooper on Wed, 2018-01-17 15:15
In the link you include, TSA gives a response that they are currently looking into the incident, and will reach out to the individual directly. Looking into something can take some time, especially if they have to conduct interviews, review camera footage, and conduct an actual inquiry.

As for public opinion, I have seen satisfied passengers post here, as well as dissatisfied passengers like yourself. I will continue to give the exact same guidance in situations where passengers feel they have been mistreated by TSA, please file the complaints/claims/comments with TSA. TSA can't fix problems it does not know about, so if you are one of these folks, please visit this page for complaints, or you can visit the TSA Contact page for other options.

TSA Blog Team
....................
TSA says that in the article but the victim says that TSA has failed to reach out to them directly. That is the issue. TSA should at a minimum reach out and let the person know an investigation is taking place with a commitment to follow up with the person. It's called Customer Service 101, unfortunately TSA flunked out of kindergarten.

TSA fixing things, that must be why TSA was caught tossing complaint documents in the trash or do you deny that happened. Or in my personal case where the TSA FSD at a particular airport covered up incidents by TSA screeners. No, I haven't forgotten nor will I.

Submitted by Anonymous on

We are all waiting on the answer to the question, "If LGA's are determined to dangerous to fly then why are they just disposed of in common trash bins right at the checkpoint?"

It surely isn't that difficult of a question West. Perhaps even Bobby can handle something this difficult. So why the refusal to answer a simple question?

Submitted by Susan Richart on

That's really nice, West. What you don't seem to want to see is that there are many, many screeners who apparently refuse to acknowledge and accept TSA guidelines on screening breast milk/formula/baby foods and make up their own rules. Why is that West?

"Screener discretion" is one of the worst things about the TSA. There should be strict rules that are known and all follow, screeners and travelers alike.

Submitted by West Cooper on

Submitted by BS on Wed, 2018-01-17 16:08

West, I once attempted to seek redress about a terrible screening incident in PHL on this blog. You stopped responding to my posts after I used the "wrong" terminology to describe the TSA employee who was responsible - even though I couldn't know the "right" terminology because this person was not uniformed and refused to tell me his name or job title.

You're a bad, unfunny joke, just like your sick excuse for an agency."

I believe I may have asked you to file a complaint through the official channels, because I (nor the blog) am not the group that recieves, processes, or addresses complaints. I try my best to ask anyone that feels their screening process was wrong or they have something missing, or a direct complaint about a specific individual working for TSA, to file those complaints directly with the TSA Contact Page.

As for "wrong" terminology, what term did you use?

Also, if you were asking for an individual name/position, I am not going to publish it here, as I am not the department that handles/processes/recieves complaints or claims.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by West Cooper on

Submitted by Susan Richart on Sun, 2018-01-21 11:08

That's really nice, West. What you don't seem to want to see is that there are many, many screeners who apparently refuse to acknowledge and accept TSA guidelines on screening breast milk/formula/baby foods and make up their own rules. Why is that West?

"Screener discretion" is one of the worst things about the TSA. There should be strict rules that are known and all follow, screeners and travelers alike."

I would love nothing more than to see any of our challenges, and formulate ways to address them in a positive way - to make it so that mistreatment never happens, to educate employees that misunderstand, to help passengers get through the screening process with as little challenge as possible. I, however, am not the person(s) that work with recieving/processing/handling complaints - which is why I do my best to always ask that these folks file their complaints through the official channels. Without them knowing these incidents are happening, they are unable to take steps to try and correct what may be wrong.

I would actually argue that "screener discretion" has been one of the better things about TSA. It allows a TSO to make a common sense decision in most cases, that mitigates the threat, as well as makes things a bit easier on the passenger.

I understand your point of view on strict guidelines/rules to follow. However, if we wrote everything in black and white, there would be absolutely no leeway given in the daily interactions with passengers, ever.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Anonymous on

Submitted by West Cooper on Thu, 2018-01-25 09:43

I would actually argue that "screener discretion" has been one of the better things about TSA. It allows a TSO to make a common sense decision in most cases, that mitigates the threat, as well as makes things a bit easier on the passenger.

I understand your point of view on strict guidelines/rules to follow. However, if we wrote everything in black and white, there would be absolutely no leeway given in the daily interactions with passengers, ever.

TSA Blog Team

>>>>>>>>>>>>

Yeah, that Screener Discretion is so great it allows TSA screeners to confiscate life saving medicines like Nitroglycerin pills.

Gosh, I already feel safer.

Maybe TSA screeners aren't smart enough to not have everything in black and white.

Submitted by Kevin on

Everything in black and white is always the way to go. It is the foundation of our laws and this country. Leaving it to TSA individual discretion does not allow for leeway, it promotes confusion and discrimination. For example read the explanation of body armor on an airplane off of the TSA website. It says that it is legal but subject to discretion of a TSA member. So a person may be able to carry it on then the next time possibly lose it or miss a flight because of discretion. If stated in black and white the person would know the rules for certain and have a cause to file a complaint. This point isn't about the body armor it's about TSA using this as a way to get out of being held accountable. Don't act like you are doing us a favor West Cooper.

Submitted by Experienced on

"I understand your point of view on strict guidelines/rules to follow. However, if we wrote everything in black and white, there would be absolutely no leeway given in the daily interactions with passengers, ever."
EXACTLY - That's the point!
And I can tell you from 15 years of experience working for TSA AND rising through the ranks, this is EXACTLY what the work force wants. Clear cut, strict, no interpretation, guidelines! Why can't upper management figure that out?!