TSA Week in Review: March 4 - 10

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

You remembered to set your clock forward, but 76 of you forgot how to travel with a firearm. Don’t worry, I got you covered! Check out our transporting firearms and ammunition page to learn how easy it is. Also, remember to take a look at your airline’s policies and the laws at your destination as rules and laws vary.

Between March 4 and 10, TSA screened 15.9 million passengers and discovered 76 firearms in carry-on bags. Of the 76 firearms discovered, 66 were loaded and 25 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✓®.

Review all the firearm discoveries from March 4 to 10

The spring break travel season has officially kicked off! We are expecting a record number of travelers this year. This means security lines will be full of passengers who may not travel often. Whether heading to the beach, the mountains or another destination, be sure to check out the What Can I Bring? page to ensure you’re ready for your vacation.


The good news is this week we only found three grenades. The bad news is that is still three too many! Grenades are not allowed in your carry-on or checked bags, even if they’re not real. 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. Remember, replicas of explosives are never allowed!

Pictured above from the left:

  • I can only imagine the shock of our TSA officers at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Pennsylvania when they discovered this rocket-propelled grenade packed in a checked bag. To everyone’s relief, the item was deemed a replica after an explosives team responded and cleared the item.
  • O’Hare International Airport officers found an herb grinder replica grenade in a passenger’s carry-on bag on March 9. I’m happy to report there was no axe with the grinder.
  • On March 10, a stick grenade was discovered at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport during checked baggage screening. The screening room was evacuated for approximately 13 minutes until the grenade was determined to be inert by an explosives specialist.

It would be a mistake to call these ‘brass’ knuckles as they are both made from non-metallic materials. I’m not sure why anyone would need these during spring break, other than to give fellow party-goers epic fist bumps. If you must travel with knuckles, don’t be a knucklehead! Place them in your checked bag and review the laws at your destination before heading to the airport.

Pictured above from the left:

  • TSA officers at Newark Liberty International Airport discovered carbon-fiber knuckles in the back pocket of a passenger during AIT screening on March 4.
  • Orlando International Airport officers found plastic knuckles tucked in the front waistband of a passenger after alarming the AIT machine on March 8.
Shocking devices

Shocking devices are not allowed in your carry-on bag. They can be packed in your checked bags if the battery is removed or packaged in a way to prevent an accidental discharge.

Pictured above from the left:

  • A shock prod was discovered by Spokane International Airport officers during X-ray screening on March 5. The passenger claimed the device was used to treat snake bites, which I recently learned is an old wives’ tale.
  • A Nashville International Airport passenger attempted to bring a stun gun concealed as a tube of lipstick through the security checkpoint on March 7. This shade of lipstick is guaranteed to leave you looking stunning.
replica firearm

This is a good time to remind you that not all firearms are allowed in checked bags. For instance, flare guns and flares are prohibited in both carry-on and checked bags. Also, anything that looks like a firearm must be packed in your checked bag.

Pictured above from the left:

  • A survival flare pen and seven flares were discovered during checked bag screening at Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport in Mississippi on March 5.
  • On March 5, Seattle-Tacoma International officers found a flashlight and laser gun. Laser pointers that do not resemble a firearm are allowed by TSA in both carry-on and checked bags; however, some airlines don’t allow laser pointers onboard. They are the archenemies of pilots.

Our mission at TSA is to ensure you get to your destination safely by keeping dangerous items off the 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 March 4 and 10, you’re mistaken. Every day our officers stop way more prohibited items than what is featured in this post. 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, reach out to 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

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.

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