TSA Week in Review: March 11 - 17

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

As predicted, spring break has been busy, and I’ll go ahead and wager that, with the start of March Madness, it will only get busier. Let’s go Sooners! If you plan on traveling for a game, read below for more on how to become a professional globe trotter. And trust me when I say, using a flashbang to cheer on your team is out of bounds!

Between March 11 - 17, TSA screened 16.6 million passengers and discovered 71 firearms in carry-on bags. Of the 71 firearms discovered, 66 were loaded and 29 had a round chambered. Seriously folks?

At the risk repeating myself again, bringing your firearm through a security checkpoint may result in a civil penalty of up to $13,333 and a disqualification from TSA Pre✓®. If you need to travel with your firearm, check out our transporting firearms and ammunition page to learn how easy it is. Lots of people do it every day and they don’t make the news. Also, remember to take a look at your airline’s policies and the laws at your destination as rules and laws vary.

Review all the firearm discoveries from March 10 to 17.

Replica Firearms Section

Don’t foul out by packing your replica gun shaped items in your carry-on bag. Did you know that anything made to look like a firearm must be packed in your checked bag? Now you do! It doesn’t matter if the thing actually shoots a projectile or just misses free throws, place it in your checked bag. Looking at you, Pistol Pete! Pack them pistols in checked bags, before heading to the Salt Lake City to cheer on New Mexico State.

Pictured above from the left:

  • TSA officers at Southwest Florida International Airport discovered a lighter shaped like a firearm on March 15.
  • You can use this flash drive ‘gun’ to pass files to your team, but traveling with this item can land you in big trouble, as a passenger from Newark Liberty International Airport learned on March 16.
  • On March 13, officers at Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport discovered two cap guns during security screening.
  • Orlando International Airport TSA officers discovered a training firearm during X-ray screening on March 16.

Flashbang and Knife

 For me, spring break has been less about sports and more about esports, you know, video games. However, if you are traveling this spring break, remember that airport security isn’t a game. There are no respawns and the civil penalties are for real. All fans, athletes, gamers and noobs should check out our What Can I Bring? tool before heading to the airport.

Pictured above from the left:

  • TSA officers at El Paso International Airport discovered this flashbang in a carry-on bag on March 17. A freaking flashbang folks – it’s a stun grenade that uses a bright flash and loud noise to disorientate victims. Unless you’re playing Counter Strike, then it’s used to blind your teammates.
  • Officers at Chattanooga Airport were shocked to learn that Wraith from Apex Legends travels commercially instead of using Dimensional Rift. Don’t worry, a voice warned her that knives must be packed in checked baggage.

Knives Cover Section


I’m going to jump straight to the point, knives must be placed in checked bags. To whittle it down more, don’t be dull and pack your sharp weapons in your carry-on bag. I hope my cutting remarks didn’t leave anyone in stitches. (too much?)

Pictured above top row from the left:

  • A switchblade that is just as sharp as it is decorative was found in a carry-on bag by McGhee Tyson Airport TSA officers on March 14.
  • On March 16, two butterfly knives and a switchblade was discovered during X-ray screening by Portland International Airport TSA officers.
  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport officers located this switchblade knife during X-ray screening on March 13.

Pictured above middle row from the left:

  • A throwing star discovered during X-ray screening at Albuquerque International Sunport on March 16.
  • Raleigh-Durham International Airport officers were just as surprised as the passenger after twisting the handle of a cane to reveal a large sword on March 13.
  • Officers at Eastern Iowa Airport discovered this double sided knife during screening on March 13.

Pictured above bottom row from the left:

  • On March 16, a butterfly knife was discovered by TSA officers at Dallas Love Field Airport.
  • TSA officers at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport located this knife in a carry-on bag on March 16.
  • Portland International Airport officers located two knives during X-ray screening, with one of them being a spring loaded switch blade on March 16.

Our mission at TSA is to ensure you get to your destination safely by keeping dangerous items off planes. 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 of the prohibited items we found between March 11 and 17, 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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