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Transportation Security Administration

Week in Review: February 25 - March 3

Thursday, March 07, 2019
Firearms discovered by TSA from February 25 to March 3

Between Feb. 25 and March 3, TSA screened 15.3 million passengers and discovered 76 firearms in carry-on bags. Of the 76 firearms discovered, 61 were loaded and 28 had a round chambered. A friendly reminder to traveling firearm owners: bringing your firearm through a security checkpoint may result in a civil penalty of up to $13,333 and a disqualification from TSA Pre✓®.

What is easier than saving money on your car insurance? Properly traveling with your firearm! Check out our Transporting Firearms and Ammunition page to learn how. Also, remember to take a look at your airline’s policies and the laws at your destination, as rules and laws vary.

We discovered 340 firearms in February 2019 compared to the 315 guns officers detected the same month a year ago.

Review all the firearm discoveries from Feb. 25 to March 3.

Let’s pull the pin on what seems to be a common misconception. Grenades are not allowed in your carry-on or checked bags, even if they’re fake! Our TSA officers have to call the explosives specialists to evaluate any grenade found during screening to determine if it is real or inert. Even if the passenger swears the thing doesn’t work, we still have to check. This takes time and can slow down security or stop it all together.

Pictured above from the left:

  • TSA officers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport discovered this ‘grenade bug’ in a carry-on bag on Feb. 26. After it was cleared by our explosives specialists, an exterminator was called to dispose of the pest.
  • Indianapolis International Airport had a brief scare on Feb. 28 when officers discovered a replica grenade during X-ray screening.
  • Checked baggage screening was stopped for approximately 15 minutes after TSA officers at Wilmington International Airport in North Carolina discovered what turned out to be a novelty grenade on March 1. Don’t worry, we will not ask you to take a number.
  • TSA officers at Newark Liberty International Airport found an airsoft grenade in a carry-on bag on March 3.

Prohibited items discovered by TSA

Here’s a simple rule of thumb for your next flight – weapons are never allowed in carry-on bags. Like ANY kind of weapons. Some weapons are allowed in checked baggage, so use our What Can I Bring? page to find out what is allowed.

Pictured above from the left:

  • On Feb. 28 at San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport in California, a passenger on their way to Sherwood Forest was unaware that bows and arrows must be packed in checked bags.
  • An inert mortar round was discovered during checked baggage screening on March 1 at San Francisco International Airport.

Knives discovered by TSA

No matter how edgy you are, knives, sharp objects and tools with blades are not allowed in carry-on bags! Sharp passengers know that knives must be packed in checked bags.

Top row pictured above from the left:

  • Three throwing knives were discovered at Nashville International Airport on Feb. 25.
  • TSA officers at John Glenn Columbus International Airport in Ohio discovered a seat belt cutter during X-ray screening. Remember, any tool that contains a blade must be packed in a checked bag.
  • Oakland International Airport officers discovered a palm dagger on Feb. 25.

Middle row pictured above from the left:

  • A kukri was located during X-ray screening by Denver International Airport officers on Feb. 26.
  • On Feb. 28, a butterfly knife was discovered by officers at Piedmont Triad International Airport in North Carolina.
  • A doomsday prep must-have – an 8-inch double-edged knife – was discovered at San Francisco International Airport on Feb. 28.

Bottom row pictured above from the left:

  • During X-ray screening, officers at El Paso International Airport discovered a palm dagger on March 1.
  • TSA officers at Fairbanks International Airport discovered a small pocket knife, four rounds of .22-caliber ammunition, pepper spray and this throwing knife in a carry-on bag on March 2.
  • This isn’t a shooting star. But officers at Buffalo Niagara International Airport still wished passengers wouldn’t pack throwing stars in their carry-on.

Our mission at TSA is to ensure you get to your destination safely by keeping dangerous items off your plane. The most common explanation we hear from travelers is “I forgot it was in my bag.” Don’t be that person. Save yourself some money and embarrassment and thoroughly check your bags for prohibited items before heading to the airport.

If you think this blog features all the prohibited items we found between Feb. 25 and March 3, you’re mistaken. Every day our officers stop way more prohibited items than what is featured in this blog. Like way more.

Remember to come prepared. For a list of prohibited items, be sure to use the What Can I Bring? Tool. If you have questions about the security process, ask us at AskTSA on Twitter or Facebook Messenger. Our AskTSA team will happily answer even the most outlandish travel-related questions.

Want to know how many firearms we found last year? Check out our 2018 blog post.

Also, don’t forget to check out our top 10 most unusual finds video for 2018.

Want to learn more or see the other wacky finds? Follow us @TSA on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook.

Jay Wagner

Comments

Submitted by Jared Hawke on

To SSSS, RB, Susan Richart, and anyone else whose mission is to take down the TSA.

I finally have you figured out.

It is impossible to change someone’s mind using facts. This happens due to “Motivated Reasoning”, a psychology term that refers to the way people usually believe whatever they want to believe and use the flimsiest piece of evidence to justify that belief, even when there is plenty of verified evidence to disprove it.
So to all of you, I have given my verified evidence and I am done. Bye Bye.

Sincerely, Jared T. Hawke

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

"...weapons are never allowed in carry-on bags. Like ANY kind of weapons"

Except knitting needles. Those long pointy things could never be used as a weapon.

And scissors. Two sharp blades are totally ok once you screw them together.

And pencils. That pointy thing also couldn't be used to harm anyone any how so it's ok too.

So yeah, weapons aren't allowed unless you call the weapon something else. Yeah TSA keeping us safe from customer-service joke grenades!

Submitted by RB on

76 firearms distributed among 15,300,000 passengers. That isn't even one firearm for each TSA airport. By any definition this is a minor problem.

If TSA screeners can't find handguns then there are bigger fish to fry.

Does the TSA Pat Down require contact with the passengers genitals? Does the TSA advisement so state if it does?

Submitted by 10 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 RB on

Submitted by Jared Hawke on Thu, 2019-03-07 18:27
To SSSS, RB, Susan Richart, and anyone else whose mission is to take down the TSA.

I finally have you figured out.

It is impossible to change someone’s mind using facts. This happens due to “Motivated Reasoning”, a psychology term that refers to the way people usually believe whatever they want to believe and use the flimsiest piece of evidence to justify that belief, even when there is plenty of verified evidence to disprove it.
So to all of you, I have given my verified evidence and I am done. Bye Bye.

Sincerely, Jared T. Hawke

............
What was your verified evidence?

Submitted by Susan Richart on

"Except knitting needles. Those long pointy things could never be used as a weapon.

And scissors. Two sharp blades are totally ok once you screw them together.

And pencils. That pointy thing also couldn't be used to harm anyone any how so it's ok too.

So yeah, weapons aren't allowed unless you call the weapon something else. Yeah TSA keeping us safe from customer-service joke grenades!"

BINGO!

Submitted by Charles Brown on

ya until its a real grenade made to look like a "joke grenade"

Submitted by W Pitts on

To your first comment, it may be a minor problem unless you are the one on the receiving end of a fired weapon and consider the panic on a plane if a person reveals any handgun to the other passengers. You can call it minor but you speak for yourself and yourself alone.

To your last questions, yes and yes.

Submitted by CliffOnTheRoad on

to Jared T. Hawke, your message is not totally understood.
Some (many?) respect and admit we need the TSA, but there is a question of "R they going about it right/properly." (footnote 1)
It is NOT impossible to change someone's mind using facts. I welcome facts. Note it is possible to change someone's mind using falsehoods too which is why the TSA can be accused of pushing fear. Look up "common enemy."
footnote 1; inside the secure area of an airline terminal, one can not leave luggage unattended to go to the bathroom. WHY?

Submitted by The Phule on

Last time I accidentally left scissors in my bag going through the airport, the TSA got rid of them.

Submitted by No More Writing... on

Yea that TOTALLY makes sense that we should not be allowed to bring pencils onto a plane. It's a pencil. Maybe you have never flown before but there are a great amount of people who have to do work on a plane. Whether the flight is too short to sleep or they are traveling on business and having things to get done before they arrive, or the flight is so long it isn't possible to sleep the entire time. I mean clearly you don't realize that people have other things to do rather than sleep, read, watch something. People have work to do as well and taking away something as simple as a pencil would be ridiculous. Also scissors have to be less than 4 inches long, like nail clippers, and even then the TSA agent can make the decision to confiscate them if they are seen as too sharp and possibly could be used as a weapon. They also ask that you bring plastic or wooden knitting needles rather than metal and have them be circular instead of straight needles. It's also different for flying to another country they all have different rules. Obviously knitting needles and some scissors are questionable for bringing in a carry-on but the fact you think we shouldn't be allowed to bring pencils on a plane is ridiculous. You do realize that you can use literally ANY object to hurt another person if you were that motivated. You can hurt them with your own body as well. So with your reasoning should we just not be allowed to bring anything with us anywhere and not ever be allowed to interact with another person because we could possibly want to hurt them?

Submitted by TSA Guardian on

Please be aware that a Police pat-down (including stop-and-frisk) is FAR more invasive than a TSA pat-down. If you think a TSA pat-down in "sexual assault" I shudder to think how you'd react to getting a pat-down from a police officer (Note: police don't have a same-gender rule).

Submitted by LB on

This is just more daily evidence that TSO's really should be receiving hazardous duty pay. They are on the front lines of explosives, loaded firearms, and hidden sharp objects.

Submitted by Get Over Yourse... on

Maybe that's why NYC stopped doing stop-and-frisk there, TSA "Guardian" -- because it was an invasive search that did nothing to make anyone safer.

Note that when NYC stopped doing stop-and-frisk, absolutely nothing bad happened. Like TSA's pat-downs, they were a pointless waste of resources that did nothing but harass and abuse innocent people.

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

"...and even then the TSA agent can make the decision to confiscate them"

And you identified the exact problem if the TSA. The agent can decide whatever they want whenever they want. Rules don't matter because the agent can change the rules willynilly. You can bring scissors but the person behind you can't bring the exact same pair because the agent gets to decide.

We don't allow this from actual law enforcement so why would we accept it from a bunch of agents just because they are wearing tin badges?

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

"..They are on the front lines of explosives, loaded firearms, and hidden sharp objects."

Yeah, not so much. The stuff found represents less than one percent, and a lot less than one percent, of the things they find. AND! It's their job to look for these things so if the finds are too dangerous the agents are welcome to find work elsewhere.

Submitted by Nocaps on

i request that the tsa end this blog. although informational, it only serves as a device for the same handful or two of posters. it does not serve any other purpose than to push their agenda. there are other avenues where people can contact the tsa directly if they have questions or concerns. even the trolls on here complain about whether their comments are posted, or when they are posted, or what someone else was able to post but i wasn't, or continuously posting the same topic over and over again. this blog is not promoting anything positive.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"They also ask that you bring plastic or wooden knitting needles rather than metal and have them be circular instead of straight needles."
Ummm, nope.

Submitted by Blues Clues on

Your ignorance of protocol does not mean the TSA does things "willy nilly". Specifically, the scissor thing has actual rules. The liquid thing has actual rules. The knife and grenade thing, rules...No one decides that "willy nilly" And if one airport has you do things differently than another, it is because TSA knows more than you do. Your ignorance does not make TSA protocol wrong.

Submitted by Blues Clues on

Must have been in 2005...

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

"...i request that the tsa end this blog"

You don't seem to find any value in this service yet you continue to partake of the service. Says more about you than it does anyone else.

Just sayin

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by Blues Clues on Tue, 2019-03-19 11:14
Your ignorance of protocol does not mean the TSA does things "willy nilly". Specifically, the scissor thing has actual rules. The liquid thing has actual rules. The knife and grenade thing, rules...No one decides that "willy nilly" And if one airport has you do things differently than another, it is because TSA knows more than you do. Your ignorance does not make TSA protocol wrong.
......................................
It also doesn't mean that TSA doesn't do things "willy nilly".

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

"....Your ignorance of protocol does not mean the TSA does things "willy nilly".

The fact that an agent can, at their own discretion, change the rules on scissors or liquids or anything else is the very definitions of willynilly.

We don't accept actual law enforcement officers makeing up rules on their own discretion so why should we accept the blue-shirts using their own discretion to change rules any time they feel like?

Submitted by Nick on

Great blog! I love the writing style, and the soft humor. It's interesting to see what people try to smuggle through, and how. Keep up the good work on this blog!