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Transportation Security Administration

TSA Week in Review: December 10 - 16

Friday, December 21, 2018
Firearms discovered by TSA

TSA screened 14.6 million passengers and discovered 78 firearms in carry-on bags at airports from Dec. 10 through 16. Of the 78 firearms discovered, 63 were loaded and 28 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 at both their departure and destination, as they vary.

All of the firearms pictured were discovered from Dec. 10 to 16.

Lighter fluid and fireworks

The bottle of lighter fluid on the left was discovered in a carry-on bag of a passenger traveling from Seattle-Tacoma Washington International Airport on Dec. 12. Pictured on the right, fireworks were discovered in the carry-on bag of a passenger traveling from Orlando International Airport on Dec. 13. Fireworks, lighter fluid and Christmas crackers are not allowed in carry-on or checked bags. Packing these in your bag may lead to a civil penalty or arrest. For a list of flammables, visit our What Can I Bring? page.

TSA Officer Martino

We’d like to recognize the actions San Diego International Airport Officer Martino. On Dec. 13, while on break and on the public side of the airport, Martino intervened in a dangerous situation by stopping a man from choking a woman. Law enforcement responded and placed the man under arrest. We are grateful for Martino’s quick response. In case you were wondering, Martino went back to work and completed his shift after the incident.

TSA officers with firearms they discovered

Yeager Airport in West Virginia was busy on Dec. 11, when they discovered two firearms on the same day. Supervisor Thomas, pictured on the top, has been with TSA for over 16 years and discovered his third firearm, an unloaded .380 Lorcin. Officer Fink has worked as an officer for 11 years and discovered his second firearm, a loaded .38 Smith & Wesson revolver. Including both of these finds, Yeager Airport officers have stopped six firearms from boarding planes this year.

Christmas tree and TSA canine

Happy Holidays from TSA! On the left is a Christmas tree decorated by our explosives specialists team at Albuquerque International Sunport. On the right is our Southwest Florida International Airport TSA Canine Alphie. Alphie wanted to let Santa know that he was a good boy this year, so he took this photo to help promote awareness for the Combined Federal Campaign in our annual canine photo contest.

Check out our AskTSA Blog for answers to your top travel related questions!

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 that the item is in their bag. 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.

Want to know how many firearms we found last year? Check out our 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 blog posts.

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

Jay Wagner

Comments

Submitted by Fred Haskett on

Hey guys,
What happened to the items discovered by airports list?

Submitted by West Cooper on

The blog is currently accepting comments, but not moderating due to the current government furlough. Please feel free to submit your comments, and as soon as we get back, we will begin to sift through the comments and get them up and going! Happy Holidays from TSA and the TSA Blog Team.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by The "Original" RB on

Since the TSA Blog is operated by volunteers why does the government funding issue matter

Submitted by Bee Kay on

I find it disturbing that you found somehow found it appropriate for a tree to have a grenade as a tree topper?

Small children will be saying things like, "LOOK! It's a GRENADE!"

What an incredible way to create panic and hysteria in a crowded holiday situation at an airport!

Great way to promote SAFETY? Nope. FAIL.

Submitted by Cindy M on

Does this mean no more sex assault subsequent to an erroneous alert from your expensive faulty scanners? Sweet! I hope all the skeptics here have joined the National Association of Airline Passengers and contacted their members of Congress. Google House of Representatives TSA oversight to contact the chairman in charge of TSA. Don’t complain. Do something constructive. Contact the House to end TSA fondling.

Submitted by Elenita Duelo on

I just want to say Thank You for what you do! I can’t believe that people take Guns in their carry-on and loaded ones, no less.
Personally I think anyone with a loaded gun should go straight to jail. I don’t believe they “forgot” it was there.

Again, a very big Thank You! Happy New Year to all!

Submitted by Eli on

TSA = Thousands Standing Around

Submitted by CliffOnTheRoad on

This 1/20/19 comment will never be read by the public, and that is good. It's on a December blog anyway.
I accept that no moderator is available to censor posts, hence no public posting, BUT, because of no work, I expect the moderator will REFUSE any money given during the 'shutdown.' Else it is unjust enrichment. One must accept good moral reasoning.
IF these weekly blogs are being produced, it is a waste of money DURING this period especially. Who cares how many guns are being found - the carry-on public certainly isn't aware of their violation of air safety. The PR department of TSA probably won't be convinced. It's a paycheck (sorry, someday) which is allowed by the upper crust and in principle (principal) some PR is good, even necessary.
I was going to propose that instead of doing the blog/satistics gathering, said employees should get to an airport and help customers.
I also think that if less time was spent putting so many people in those x-ray machines (how often has it been said here that they are no more effective than the traditional metal detectors) then the man power could be use inspecting baggage. Keep the expensive scanning machine and use it when there is a need, but the time overall and the use of those employees contributes to line length.
I had suggested and hoped the 'main man' of this blog try to influence the higher ups and make changes to various aspects of TSA. I didn't know he worked from home (no commuting.) I was actually saddened when I learned he died.

Submitted by CliffOnTheRoad on

addendum. I see there are no blogs for 2019. Sorry I inferred there were in my just-sent comment.

Submitted by West Cooper on

We are back, thank you for your patience. Comments will now be moderated again. So, welcome back!

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by West Cooper on

Bee Kay sez - "

I find it disturbing that you found somehow found it appropriate for a tree to have a grenade as a tree topper?

Small children will be saying things like, "LOOK! It's a GRENADE!"

What an incredible way to create panic and hysteria in a crowded holiday situation at an airport!

Great way to promote SAFETY? Nope. FAIL."

This tree was sitting on the desk of one of the Explosives experts in ABQ (in an office), it is not in the public forum like the checkpoint. The only way the public will see this was by our publishing it, and if they were to visit the TSSE office at ABQ.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by West Cooper on

Cliff sez - " I was actually saddened when I learned he died."

As were all of us. Thanks for the comments Cliff, hope to see you around this year too!

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Normal Dude on

way to blow it out of proportion. Your fun meter is broken, and it the family cant take the big joke, take the small joke: humans trying to make other humans laugh.
Carry on, take your 5 anxiety medicines and leave the TSA be

Submitted by RB on

Will there be a a post to report January findings. What happened to Meet Our Bloggers sidebar piece?

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

".. Pictured on the right, fireworks were discovered "

No.

Sparklers and pop-its are not fireworks. My county doesn't allow fireworks but you can buy sparklers at the grocery store.

I understand they could be used to poke someone's eye out, but they are not a threat to aviation even slightly.

Submitted by West Cooper on

SSSS sez - "

No.

Sparklers and pop-its are not fireworks. My county doesn't allow fireworks but you can buy sparklers at the grocery store.

I understand they could be used to poke someone's eye out, but they are not a threat to aviation even slightly."

Because, we all know that a box of sparklers could not possibly be used to make anything that is even remotely dangerous, ever.

Sparklers and other items similar to them can create an unsafe situation on the airplane, therefore, they are not allowed.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by 6 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 West Cooper and Jay Wagner 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 Patdown Or Assault? on

How is a passenger to determine whether a pat-down by TSA crosses the line into sexual assault?

Does any such line exist?

What should a passenger who is being sexually assaulted during a pat-down do?

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

"..Because, we all know that a box of sparklers could not possibly be used to make anything that is even remotely dangerous, ever."

Except the picture you showed of your 'find' was two boxes of sparklers, not the eighteen or more boxes used in the examples you linked where a teenager lost a leg. And the sparklers found weren't taped together with electrical tape link in the linked articles, nor did you mention them in your 'find' so even less relation to each other. And linking to the same news item reported in multiple news outlets doesn't make it a bigger deal, it was still a single example of a teenager doing something stupid.

And you really should consider discontinuing the practice of insulting our intelligence with the reduction to absurdity of so much of what you report on this blog. I said the sparklers are not even considered 'fireworks' where I live and that their danger was more of the putting your eye out than of sabotaging an aircraft. You replied with an example of a teenager doing something stupid with a number of sparklers that is nine times greater than what you found on that passenger in Orlando. And you didn't find any of the other parts used in the bad example either so your response really just becomes hyperbole. Finding a box of sparklers, or even two that you pictured, is not even close to what you linked in defense of your removing them from a passenger.

Just sayin

Submitted by Beatin A Dead Horse on

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on Tue, 2019-02-05 17:09

"..Because, we all know that a box of sparklers could not possibly be used to make anything that is even remotely dangerous, ever."

Except the picture you showed of your 'find' was two boxes of sparklers, not the eighteen or more boxes used in the examples you linked where a teenager lost a leg. And the sparklers found weren't taped together with electrical tape link in the linked articles, nor did you mention them in your 'find' so even less relation to each other. And linking to the same news item reported in multiple news outlets doesn't make it a bigger deal, it was still a single example of a teenager doing something stupid.

And you really should consider discontinuing the practice of insulting our intelligence with the reduction to absurdity of so much of what you report on this blog. I said the sparklers are not even considered 'fireworks' where I live and that their danger was more of the putting your eye out than of sabotaging an aircraft. You replied with an example of a teenager doing something stupid with a number of sparklers that is nine times greater than what you found on that passenger in Orlando. And you didn't find any of the other parts used in the bad example either so your response really just becomes hyperbole. Finding a box of sparklers, or even two that you pictured, is not even close to what you linked in defense of your removing them from a passenger.

Just sayin
------------------------------------
Dude, It's a dead issue! Let it go! Go argue with the FAA. This is their rule, their classification. They are not allowed. Period.
Directly from the FAA page -
"If you’re flying this July 4th holiday, be sure to leave your fireworks at home. Most travelers probably don’t realize the risk that fireworks pose on an airplane. The FAA is reminding passengers that fireworks, including the smallest sparklers, are not permitted aboard airplanes in carry-on or checked baggage. Fines are stiff for passengers who break the rules. It is also against the law to mail or ship fireworks as air parcels.

“Safety is our top priority and we want everyone to arrive at their destination safely,” FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta said. “The public can help us by leaving dangerous items, such as fireworks, out of their luggage.”

Friction can cause fireworks to ignite during flight, posing a safety risk to passengers and crew. Because of this danger, domestic and international regulations prohibit passengers from carrying fireworks and firework novelty items in their checked or carry-on baggage, or on their persons.

Passengers who violate the hazardous materials regulations may face civil penalties of up to $75,000 per violation, but can run as high as $175,000 per violation in cases that involve death, serious illness, severe injury or substantial destruction of property. Criminal convictions resulting from hazardous materials violations can result in criminal fines and up to five years in prison. However, passengers carrying fireworks may be subject to up to ten years in prison if they release a hazardous material that results in death or bodily harm."

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

"..Dude, It's a dead issue! Let it go! Go argue with the FAA. This is their rule, their classification. They are not allowed. Period."

My issue is not with the rule, my issue is with the TSA using something so innocuous as evidence of some great find. There are news reports that happen at an uncomfortable regularity about something the TSA missed that is something that are not supposed to miss that point to the gross ineffectiveness of the organization. Knowing how incredibly inefficient and ineffective the organization is I find it offensive to see them crowing success at finding something that even the local constabulary would ignore under every circumstance.

These blotter posts are nothing more than the TSA patting itself on the back for showing up to work. Everything posted in this entry and every one before is the barest minimum of what the TSA is supposed to be doing. In my world you don't get a gold star just because you showed up to work.

Submitted by West Cooper on

SSSS sez - "These blotter posts are nothing more than the TSA patting itself on the back for showing up to work. Everything posted in this entry and every one before is the barest minimum of what the TSA is supposed to be doing. In my world you don't get a gold star just because you showed up to work."

Actually, the purpose behind these posts is to spread awareness. We do not want to find firearms and dangerous items in bags, so we publish the images to try and help give folks an idea of what not to bring. We have some success (obviously, not as much as we would like), we have even had folks send us info indicating that they had not thought of something that is on the prohbited items list as being a dangerous/banned item.

When we post the information about our employees, we are giving them a kudos for doing a good job. We will simply have to agree to disagree on whether that is a practice that is worthwhile - we think it is, and have had psotiive responses about it from both the public and the work force, if you have a different opinion, you are completely entitled to it.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

"...Actually, the purpose behind these posts is to spread awareness."

So you do that as poorly as you screen for WEI because you just posted a Year in Review blotter post where you admitted to finding even MORE of the things you are trying to make people aware of.

Submitted by Frank on

All the dangerous articles should be strictly prohibited...