TSA Week in Review: November 19 - 30

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

TSA screened 26.8 million passengers and discovered 122 firearms in carry-on bags at 68 airports from Nov. 19 through 30. Of the 122 firearms discovered, 110 were loaded and 47 had a round chambered. Bringing a firearm through the security checkpoint may result in a civil penalty of up to $13,333. Repeat violations will result in higher penalties.

Learn how to properly travel with your firearms in checked baggage. Note that airline policies may differ from TSA’s, so we strongly recommend travelers check with their airline prior to traveling. Travelers should also review state and local firearm laws as they vary by state and locality.

All of the firearms pictured were discovered from Nov. 19 to 30.


It can be difficult to tell on the X-ray screen if items are real or replicas. Smoke grenades and anything resembling an explosive item are prohibited in both carry-on and checked baggage. When our officers discover a suspected explosive item, we immediately call one of our explosives specialists. This can lead to an airport shutdown and evacuation. Pictured on the left are three smoke grenades that were discovered in a checked bag at Nashville International Airport on Nov. 19. Pictured on the right is an inert grenade detected in a carry-on bag at McCarran International Airport on Nov. 27.


This .22 revolver was discovered in the pocket of a Gulfport–Biloxi International Airport passenger on Nov. 23 by TSA officers after it alarmed our advanced imaging technology. Our law enforcement partners confirmed that the weapon was loaded with a round chambered. The passenger presented a concealed carry license. Even if you have a weapons permit, firearms are not allowed onboard a plane. Bringing a firearm through the security checkpoint, whether on your person or in a carry-on bag, may result in a civil penalty or arrest.


This knife comb pictured above was discovered at Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport on Nov. 21 and the knife on the right was discovered inside the medicine bottle at Springfield-Branson National Airport on Nov. 26. Knives can be used as a lethal weapon and are prohibited in carry-on bags, no matter the size. Knives are allowed in checked bags, so remember to secure the blade to prevent accidents when your bag is being handled. If traveling with a knife concealed as or inside an everyday item, as pictured above, we recommend you check with your airline and local laws before packing in your checked bag.

TSA officer

Officer Brown from McGhee Tyson Airport discovered this pen gun on Nov. 24. Officer Brown has been with TSA since 2002 and is celebrating 16 years with the agency. This is her second firearm discovery. We celebrated TSA’s 17th birthday on Nov. 19, marking the day George W. Bush signed into law the Aviation and Transportation Security Act in response to the 9/11 attacks. TSA hired the first group of officers in 2002. We thank Officer Brown for her 16 years of public service.

To see why we require e-cigarettes to be packed in your carry-on bag, watch this video of a smoking bag that closed a BOS baggage room for almost an hour on Nov. 28.

This Thanksgiving travel season was historic in terms of passenger volume and fast security lines. Nov. 25 set a record as our busiest day ever, screening 2.7 million travelers with 95 percent of passengers waiting less than 20 minutes in security lines. For more information, see our press release.

TSA screening procedures prevent prohibited items and other threats to transportation security from entering the sterile area of the airport. Along with the finds highlighted in this post, our officers 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 dangerous items.

In most cases the traveler forgets the item is in their bag. This can lead to a citation and in some cases arrest. Unfortunately, this happens far too often. Our goal in sharing these finds is to remind travelers to check their bags and the rules before heading to the airport.

Follow @TSA on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook.

Have a travel-related question? Ask TSA on Twitter or Facebook Messenger.

Jay Wagner

About This Blog

The purpose of this blog is to share the latest news and helpful information with the public. If you have questions about TSA or the information presented here, please contact our AskTSA customer care team on Twitter or Facebook.

TSA is committed to protecting privacy and securing personal information. For details, see our website Privacy Policy.


Stay informed on our latest news!