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Transportation Security Administration

TSA Week in Review: March 4 - 10

Wednesday, March 13, 2019
guns

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.

Grenade

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.

nuckles

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

Comments

Submitted by Jeff on

The absolute STUPIDITY and IGNORANCE OF PEOPLE, never ceases to amaze me. All the information you need is published on the TSA Website and many warning signs are posted at the Airport as well.

STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES and You Can't FIX STUPID!

Submitted by AIT's Do Work on

As see above in this news letter.

•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.

See, the AIT does work ON NON METALLIC ITEMS!!!!!!!!!!

Not useless after all. And if you think that were the only 2 non metallic Dangerous objects caught, Your wrong there as well.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"•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."

Neither of which was of any danger to the aircraft.

Submitted by Heidi Zschach on

Jay Wagner, your writing style is so fun to read. Thank you for having such a terrific sense of humor. I’m new to this blog and I truly look forward to reading your articles. It helps me maintain a good attitude and get lots of belly laughs while staying nicely informed. Thanks!!!

Submitted by 11 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 May?! on

"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✓®."

May Result?!? Both of the above results should be automatic! No, If, ands, or buts!

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 Morueca on

I miss Bob....

Submitted by RB on

76 firearms discovered while screening 15,900,000 people. Not saying that firearms can't be used as a threatening weapon but the scope of the problem is pretty minor. Perhaps something other than a fine should be the probable outcome, something like not being able to fly commercial for a year or so or mandatory jail time. Fines haven't seem to make a big impact so some other tool to encourage compliance should be investigated.

********************************
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.
...........................

The pencil flare gun and flares pictured are exactly the type I carried as an aircrewman for many years. I suspect they were stolen from the government. And no they were not mine, I turned all of my gear in when I retired.

Submitted by Jay Wagner on

@Heidi Zschach – Thanks for the compliment!

@May?! – I think it’s important to allow some discretion when it comes to imposing civil penalties.

@Morueca – We miss him too!

@RB – Thank you for your service and returning all your equipment! :)

Submitted by Van C Starks on

Great writing Jay Wagner! Thanks for keeping us informed and lively!

Submitted by Heidi Kaigler on

Thanks for this well written, clever, funny, and informative article -- well done!

Submitted by Heidi Kaigler on

P.S. You honor the memory of Blogger Bob with your good humored and educational approach.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The 9/11 hijackers did it with box cutters and pocket knives.

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 Reito Moree on

Agreed!! Not being able to fly commercial for a year or so would open the eyes of the "I CAN TAKE MY GUN ON THE PLAN" people.

Submitted by Susan Richart on

"The 9/11 hijackers did it with box cutters and pocket knives."

Which won't happen again due to hardened cockpit doors and non-cooperation policy put in place after 9/11.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Do you really want a longer story of how many pocket knives and box cutters we get on a daily basis?

Submitted by Anonymous on

They are, however, a danger to the people on the aircraft.

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

"...packed in a checked bag. To everyone’s relief, the item was deemed a replica after an explosives team responded and cleared the item."

After it was determined to be inert, was it allowed to fly? It was in a checked bag, unavailable to the passenger during the flight so if it wasn't allowed to fly, why not?

Submitted by John on

Thank you TSA for keeping all the nuts off of the planes. Amazing that people still try to bring guns etc. on planes. I have no problem with being searched when the result is a safe flight.
Thanks again.

Submitted by Too Gutless For... on

Not that that's a surprise.

Submitted by CliffOnTheRoad on

The weekly email of guns found has text on the bottom:

Subscribe to view daily news briefing coverage of TSA here. A TSA email is required.

I do not understand the 2nd sentence.
When the link is followed, a users email is required such as the email used for the weekly-gun-report. The page is titled "Email Updates"

When the submit button is depressed, the next screen says: Password Required
You have requested password protection for the subscriber ....

That description is bogus, but I will blame TSA programmers for that.

The resultant message is: Can't save subscriber due to the following error:
can't subscribe to topic Daily News Briefing

Which brings us full circle that the original email should not have offered the daily service.
Which brings up a new item. On that 'error' page is this statement: Routine Uses: The Department of Homeland Security will share with contractor, GovDelivery, to distribute the requested information.

This implies that contractors have TSA emails. As such they can access TSA computers. As such, security of those machines are at risk. Shame on TSA for the potential security risk.

So how do I get the daily updates??

---Now onto gripe #2---

The blog page www.tsa.gov/blog/2019/03/08/tsa-job-passenger-support-specialist

is a nice presentation. Perhaps unusual is this happy-faced person page allowed comments.

I detailed what I though was relavent (sp?) and asked questions. I really, really hoped I would get a response from the moderator. (I have no idea what the title 'guest blogger' means.)

Alas, no reply, no follow up to legit questions / problems travelers experience. Note that in another blog, the inconsistancies of inspections is noted but not addressed by TSA "corporate."

Now below I will call a personal attack (by me): "give it a rest."

What that means is some people, perhaps with a pure-at-heart basis as I have, keep harping on the same things. I get it - gropping, naked body scanners (scanners WERE addressed recently, thank you, although the list of 'prohibited things' did exceed the TSA mandate for keeping us safe (ie, grass and porn material.)

The give-it-a-rest or give-me-a-break in particular has to do with the aforementioned url of 'on the job.' This lady/face of tsa is a helper.

The position never mentions "TSA Groper" or "body x-ray technican."

A parallel might be an event such as Green Peace "save the whales" and some guy shows up to protest that Amish women wear hats.

Submitted by CliffOnTheRoad on

adendum. Wouldn't you know it, the one week there is no bitching about naked body scanners is the week I picked to send that long posting mentioning the often-bitched-about procedure.
I am truely sorry.
I too found this weeks blog refreshing (don't get TOO friendly) and the list of 'what was found at what airport' chart was pointless IMO.
I like the selected items described, yet I would like to read one weeks full list of items disposed of by the TSA. Unfortuntely, there are no records kept when an ill-trained employee demands that a cherry pie must be put in the trash bin.
Maybe the public would be better educated AND the TSA could learn how 'on a whim' decisions do not sit well with the travelers.

This and the other comment can be edited or not posted at all. I trust you to do the right thing.

Submitted by BTLewis on

So First Sorry that we lost Bob, and he is missed. Jay, I do appreciate the humor and levity, Keep it up. Brings a fresh take on a serious issue. Now Question, an RPG? Ok so it was a replica, in "Checked" baggage! The passenger was not required to notify TSA of a non weapon. Glad you reported it because it is funny... But I assume there was no repercussions to the Traveler other than his stuff was ransacked (ok Inspected). Isn't that why we do inspections in the first place. To make sure no real dangers are transported on our Flights?

Submitted by BTLewis on

"Also, anything that looks like a firearm must be packed in your checked bag." I assume a RPG Gun Replica qualifies as "Looking Like" a Gun?

Submitted by Pre Check Traveler on

As a competition shooter I travel with Firearms all the time, and as a Human we will make mistakes. So harsh Penalties may not be the best solution. (maybe a little compassion first, - Please). So on one trip where I had no checked baggage I was taking a malfunctioning "magazine" back to the factory for (free) exchange. This was immediately found by TSA and appropriated. I did not consider that a Broken Component would be a problem, It was! TSA was kind enough to treat me with respect and civility. I did lose the Magazine and the event Reminded me that I need to be extra carful as to what I have in my Carry-on Baggage. As both a Clear and TSA Pre-check passenger I did know better. But as I said I am human (thank you!) and we all make mistakes. If any of you think YOU are perfect I have some Non-fake news for you...

Submitted by Lori on

Well said, Jeff! Unfortunately, I have a feeling most of these idiots don’t care. I wish they would ban them all from air travel. Oh, wait! We can’t violate THEIR civil rights!

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by Anonymous on Fri, 2019-03-15 17:18
The 9/11 hijackers did it with box cutters and pocket knives.
.....................
That is true. Of course those items were permitted at the time and cockpits were not hardened.

So what permitted items at this time could be weaponized and used to inflict harm keeping in mind that the cockpit door would remain locked so the aircraft would not fall into the hands of hijackers. I can think of a few: Shoelaces, belt buckles, belts, shoes, heavy necklaces, pens, rat-tail combs, computer/charging cables, computers, knitting needles, small scissors, are only the beginning.

Who can think of others?

Submitted by Assault, Not Pa... on

It might require passengers to stop flying - perhaps only the drop off in revenue will get the appropriate attention that assault type body searches are not acceptable. If the body scanners are so good, why is a pat-down required? If the pat-down is good, why is the "aggressive pressure pat-down" required? Asking the passenger if they accept the pat-down and then not stopping to address the concerns when it becomes much more aggressive than a "pat-down" with the excuse 'you gave consent' is unprofessional, unacceptable, and may even be illegal. TSA won't respond to this - and don't have a customer complaint process as they don't care about the customer experience.

Submitted by Anonymous on

you don't have to read the blogs!!!!!!

Submitted by Not SSSS on

Among other reasons, if a passenger has a connecting flight they sometimes are given back their bag outside the sterile area which means it then has to be rescreened. What if they now decide to carry that bag on? Guess what, you just shut down a terminal or an entire airport. OR Even if they decide to recheck it in carry on or the bag itself goes back through the system during a luggage transfer for some reason. Now, the system detects what it thinks is a prohibited item again and delays result just like they did the first time. Better the item is removed from the system altogether.

Submitted by Noniemouse on

"How many weeks has it been since you last trumpeted something dangerous you found with the naked body scanners?"

How many weeks has it been since you've had an original thought or idea? Is seeing your comment in print the only way you have any joy in life?

Submitted by Susan Richart on

"Submitted by Anonymous on Sun, 2019-03-17 10:39
They are, however, a danger to the people on the aircraft."

Not any more dangerous than other things the TSA allows on board: knitting needles, circular knitting needles, scissors with 4" blades, pens, pencils, shoe laces, collapsible tripods.

Submitted by Susan Richart on

"Submitted by Anonymous on Sun, 2019-03-17 10:39
They are, however, a danger to the people on the aircraft."

Not any more dangerous than other things the TSA allows on board: knitting needles, circular knitting needles, scissors with 4" blades, pens, pencils, shoe laces, collapsible tripods.

Submitted by West Cooper on

11 sez - "How many weeks has it been since you last trumpeted something dangerous you found with the naked body scanners?"

Awkward part deux... If only there were a way to make certain that TSA had not reported dangerous items found with the AIT machines this week... like, I don't know, maybe reading the article before asking questions about it.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Similarly on

...you should perhaps consider the meaning of the word "dangerous" before climbing up on your high horse, West.

Submitted by Anonymous on

lolz

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by Similarly on Thu, 2019-03-21 10:07
...you should perhaps consider the meaning of the word "dangerous" before climbing up on your high horse, West.
....................

Do you mean something like plain old water that TSA considers too dangerous to clear the check point?

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

Submitted by RB "...Do you mean something like plain old water that TSA considers too dangerous to clear the check point?"

But not so dangerous that it can't be simply tossed in the rubbish bin like common refuse.

Submitted by Nick on

Really, someone tried to smuggle an RPG onto a plane? Too funny! In what universe did that passenger think that it would actually be allowed onto the flight?

This is a good blog - well written. I enjoy reading it as it comes out. Keep on writing!

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

"..Submitted by Nick ....Really, someone tried to smuggle an RPG onto a plane?"

Well, if you consider packing something in a checked bag to be 'smuggling' then yes.

Submitted by Sherry on

I can't even begin to tell you how many times I have been scanned (after going through the scanner machine) because of the metal hooks in my bra! LOL! I'm used to it and if it means they are doing this to prevent a possible crazy person that might try to smuggle something in their bra strap, then I'm perfectly ok with it!

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

".. then I'm perfectly ok with it!"

That's fine, you can volunteer for whatever level of screening you think is OK. The question is why do you think YOU being OK with the ineptitude of the TSA means any of the rest of US should be?