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Transportation Security Administration

TSA Week in Review: April 8 - 14

Thursday, April 18, 2019
Firearm cover

With spring comes flowers and I’ve heard the flowers will be in full bloom in Skagit Valley this weekend! If you do decide to book a last minute flight to tip toe through some tulips, then follow these travel tips to ensure a thorn-free trip!

Between April 8 - 14, TSA screened 16.3 million passengers and found 91 firearms in carry-on bags. Of the 91 firearms discovered, 81 were loaded and 35 had a round chambered.

Bringing a firearm to the security checkpoint may lead to a civil penalty of up to $13,333 or an arrest.

If you need to travel with your guns ‘n roses, check out our transporting firearms and ammunition page to learn how to properly travel with your firearm. Also, remember to take a look at your airline’s policies and the laws at your destination as they can vary.

Review all the firearm discoveries from April 8 to 14 in this chart.

explosives

Real, replica or inert explosives are not allowed – at all. Don’t have an ‘Oopsie daisy’ moment; just go ahead and leave these items at home. In case you forgot, when TSA officers discover anything that resembles an explosive, they call an explosives specialist to assess the situation. This can lead to you missing your flight and overall just a bad thyme!

Pictured above from the left:

  • A flower grenade was discovered in a carry-on bag at Santa Fe Regional Airport on April 9. Does it boom me? Does it boom me not? Don’t worry, no petals were plucked to determine the grenade was inert.
  • TSA officers at San Diego International Airport found a flash grenade on April 9.
  • During checked baggage screening at John F. Kennedy Interntaional Airport on April 13, TSA officers discovered a mortar round.

Concealed cover 

Be-leaf me when I say, attempting to conceal a prohibited item from our officers can result in a civil penalty or arrest. I’m not just pollen your leg, here!

Pictured above from the left:

  • San Antonio International Airport TSA officers discovered a torch lighter in the groin area of a passenger during AIT screening on April 9. TSA also discovered a knife in their carry-on bag. Torch lighters are not allowed in carry-on or checked bags.
  • A firearm wrapped in aluminum foil and placed inside a DVD player was discovered during checked baggage screening at John F. Kennedy International Airport on April 13. As if traveling with a DVD player wasn’t already suspicious. The passenger was arrested for criminal possession of a firearm.

shock cover 

This may bee stinging to you, but tasers, stun guns and shock weapons are not allowed in carry-on bags. They can be packed in checked bags if packed in a way that prevents an accidental buzz. However, we recommend checking your airline’s policy before packing.

Pictured above from the left:

  • TSA officers at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport discovered a stun gun disguised as a cellphone in a carry-on bag on April 10.
  • A flashlight stun gun combo was located in a carry-on bag on April 9 by TSA officers at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

knives cover 

Knives are not allowed in carry-on bags, and this includes your garden variety butterfly knife. Based on the number of knives we find each day, this is a frequent problem. So once and floral, let’s pack them knives in your checked bags. I hope thistle remind you to check your carry-on bag for knives.

Pictured above, top row from the left:

  • A saw knife was discovered at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on April 12.
  • TSA officers discovered not a butter knife, but a butterfly knife in a carry-on bag at Nashville International Airport on April 9.
  • Boston Logan International Airport TSA officers located a knife in a carry-on bag on April 8.

Pictured above, middle row from the left:

  • A throwing star was found in a Los Angeles International Airport carry-on bag on April 10.
  • TSA officers at Charlotte Douglas International Airport found a push dagger on April 8.
  • A meat cleaver was removed from a carry-on bag by Tennessee’s Tri-Cities Airport TSA officers on April 10.

Pictured above, bottom row from the left:

  • Another push dagger was discovered at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on April 9.
  • Another butterfly knife was found in a carry-on bag at Buffalo Niagara International Airport on April 10.
  • On April 8, two throwing knives were discovered at the airport with the greatest FAA code – GTF or Great Falls International Airport.

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 April 8 and 14, 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 CJ on

Ha! Cute wordsmithy!

Submitted by Dennis Jern on

As a former TSA officer of 11 yrs. I like this blog but I do not appreciate the humor that you try to imply in your comments. There is nothing funny about the job that needs to be done. I looks like you are making a joke of a very demanding and stressful job.

Submitted by West Cooper on

Dennis sez - "I looks like you are making a joke of a very demanding and stressful job."

I would like to think that we take the complete opposite point. We use humor to let the world (or our small slice of it) that we are not just "bag check zombies". We have a vibrant and diverse work force, with many points of view, tons of employees with a great sense of humor, and we use it to let the reading public experience something other than bag checks.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

"..There is nothing funny about the job that needs to be done. "

I agree.

"...I looks like you are making a joke of a very demanding and stressful job."

And I disagree.

Not about the joking, I disagree that your job is that demanding.

And any stress arises from your handling of the job, stress is not an external thing in a job like yours. Maybe if you did your job better it wouldn't be so stressful, maybe if you understood the reality of the 'threat' you face and how incredibly small it actually is you would find your job to be much less stressful. Maybe if you realized that you have to give respect to get respect and that if you treated the travelling public with some respect you would, in turn, be respected.

Just a thought.

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by West Cooper on Sun, 2019-04-21 08:32
Dennis sez - "I looks like you are making a joke of a very demanding and stressful job."

I would like to think that we take the complete opposite point. We use humor to let the world (or our small slice of it) that we are not just "bag check zombies". We have a vibrant and diverse work force, with many points of view, tons of employees with a great sense of humor, and we use it to let the reading public experience something other than bag checks.

TSA Blog Team
........................

Would be nice if someone trained these ton's of TSA Screeners how to deal with the public!

Submitted by Susan Richart on

"Submitted by Dennis Jern on Fri, 2019-04-19 14:29
As a former TSA officer of 11 yrs. I like this blog but I do not appreciate the humor that you try to imply in your comments. There is nothing funny about the job that needs to be done. I looks like you are making a joke of a very demanding and stressful job."

You are right on target, Dennis. IF TSA's job is so serious and demanding, then no jokes should be made about it.

Submitted by Jay Wagner on

@Dennis Jern - That's awfully generous of you to call that humor.

Submitted by DEN Screener Arrest on

Still not gonna say anything about the Denver screener arrested for being a pedophile, huh?

Guess that means you're not going to tell us how many kids he patted down.

And whether his version of your pat-down differed from the norm.

And, if it didn't, what that says about your pat-down protocols.

Have you ever tried NOT sexually assaulting people?

Submitted by Not SSSS on

Maybe if the public stopped acting like a bunch of entitled brats there'd be less stress all around.

Submitted by Don on

SSSS..."maybe if you understood the reality of the 'threat' you face and how incredibly small it actually is you would find your job to be much less stressful."

Have you explained this to the families of the 3,000 +/- people who were killed on 9/11 because 21 armed people were allowed to board 4 airplanes? The comment about stress was not made by a current TSA employee, but by a former employee. I do not disagree with his assessment, but different people handle stress in different ways. In the same way different people handle humor in different ways. IMHO a little humor helps to relieve the monotany and stress of a difficult job. I enjoy your blog; keep up the good work.

It was also implied that TSA officials were not respectful. My work required extensive international travel around the world. I have retired and travel a good bit mostly in the good old USA. I have always been treated with respect and professionalism by TSA agents on both good days and bad ones. I appreciate the effort they make to provide security for the traveling public in the most pleasant and efficient way possible.

Incidentaly, in my international travels I was exposed to other ways to do this job. I have been poked, prodded, disrobed, pushed with the business end of an assault rifle and cursed at in several different languages. I prefer the American way.

Submitted by CliffOnTheRoad on

Ditto regarding flipped descriptions

Submitted by West Cooper on

RB sez - "Would be nice if someone trained these ton's of TSA Screeners how to deal with the public!"

We do, consistently, and in a standardized way.

Don sez - "I appreciate the effort they make to provide security for the traveling public in the most pleasant and efficient way possible."

Don, we appreciate that you took the time to post this. We understand that passengers are simply trying to get from one place to another with as little hassle as possible. We thank you for letting us know we are getting it right for you!

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by West Cooper on Thu, 2019-04-25 09:35
RB sez - "Would be nice if someone trained these ton's of TSA Screeners how to deal with the public!"

We do, consistently, and in a standardized way.
...............
Yes I sure TSA has cosistent and standardized training.

https://youtu.be/RhD-AvD3-OE

Submitted by Susan Richart on

West Cooper wrote regarding training: "We do, consistently, and in a standardized way."

Not according to the OIG:

"Prior to July 2018, TSA had not standardized the
approach for training new TSOs before they attend
basic training and did not consistently send TSOs to
basic training immediately following onboarding. TSA
also does not give all airports complete visibility into
its basic training curriculum as a basis for training
new-hires locally. Without an experienced workforce
or a consistent, robust training program, TSA is
missing opportunities to strengthen its workforce.
Given the importance of TSOs fulfilling the aviation
security mission, TSA must address its retention,
hiring, and training challenges, which could save
millions in taxpayers’ dollars."

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

"...Have you explained this to the families of the 3,000 +/- people who were killed on 9/11 because 21 armed people were allowed to board 4 airplanes? "

Nope. Not going to let you disrespect those people by trying to rewrite history. The terrorists were not armed and nothing the TSA does now would have stopped anything then.

"... I have always been treated with respect and professionalism by TSA "

Happy for you. My experience is different.

Submitted by Hermann Fegelein on

Clerk Don, you do understand that we can tell you're not a frequent traveler at all, right? Your comments point you out as just a TSA clerk dishonestly trying to delegitimize the numerous criticisms of the slovenliness and laziness of yourself and your fellow clerks. Every person who takes more than 3 or 4 flights in a lifetime encounters TSA clerks who do their jobs inefficiently or abusively, and in general fail to follow the rules. And here you are saying that we should accept a workforce who misses 95% of all dangerous items because [September 11]. Why? Your fellow clerks have committed perjury, falsely imprisoned passengers, failed to follow the rules about acceptable identification, and in general behaved as though the job were one of enforcing their authority rather than doing anything at all to contribute to aviation security. There is no chance that the TSA will present any impediment at all to any sort of competently orchestrated terrorist plan.

And you have not international airport screening. I've been in numerous foreign countries and in every one of them the airport screening is conducted better and more professionally than the TSA. The worst thing I can say about any foreign airport's screening is that it is "better than the TSA but not immensely better." Lie all you want; you're fooling nobody.

Submitted by RB, Not on

Just trying to read the response here but in RB's apparent haste to post his insightful comment, the grammar and spelling makes that difficult.

Submitted by Really? on

A youtube link published on Jul 21, 2015. Really RB? This is what you cite as an example? A 4 year old video clip that doesn't even show what happened prior to the vid starting?

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by West Cooper on Thu, 2019-04-25 09:35
RB sez - "Would be nice if someone trained these ton's of TSA Screeners how to deal with the public!"

We do, consistently, and in a standardized way.

TSA Blog Team
..................
Then why do we see nonconforming TSA screeners at many airports?

Submitted by Not Susan on

Yes Susan, In the very article you quote - "Prior to July 2018...", I know that prior is a big word but it means that currently (another big word), training IS standardized. Which, low and behold, is exactly what West said.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Submitted by RB, Not on Mon, 2019-04-29 10:17
Just trying to read the response here but in RB's apparent haste to post his insightful comment, the grammar and spelling makes that difficult.
..............................

Sorry about that, sometimes my fingers don't work as well as I wished they did. I'll try to be more careful so I don't cause you any additional emotional distress.
.......................................

Submitted by Really? on Mon, 2019-04-29 10:22
A youtube link published on Jul 21, 2015. Really RB? This is what you cite as an example? A 4 year old video clip that doesn't even show what happened prior to the vid starting?
.......................

The link I posted is as valid today as when the incident happened. It demonstrates that upper level TSO's (STSO in this case) are part of an ongoing problem. True then, true today!

Submitted by West Cooper on

RB sez - "Then why do we see nonconforming TSA screeners at many airports?"

When you experience unprofessional behavior from a TSO, do you file a complaint with the STSO or TSA directly? When I see bad/unprofessional behavior, I make certain to engage the local leadership to bring it to their attention for correction. I have done this in 2 airports that I do not work at over the last year(ish). In both cases, I never told the individual that I was employed by the agency, and I got universally well recieved responses from the STSOs, and in one case they called the TSO over and addressed it while I was sitting in the Starbucks behind the checkpoint. We are not perfect - we work to correct things we see that are wrong consistently. Our responses may not be exactly what you would like to see, but we do address things as we identify them. The Administrator put out a change in career progression for the workforce in 2018, peruse it here. The point I am making, is that we need your help, and the help of other passengers when you see things that are unprofessional, we request that you fill out a comment card in the checkpoint, speak directly to the STSOs, file your feedback directly to HQ at Contact TSA.  Hopefully, when folks see unprofessional behavior, they will help us to address the situation.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by RB, Not on

No need to be more careful RB, just need to slow down in your haste to keyboard warrior the site with you carefully crafted witticisms of TSA bashing.

And, No, a 4 year old clip is NOT endemic of what is happening today. If it was, you'd be able to cite newer clips/news which I'm sure you of all people would hasten to post immediately. And again, we don't know what occurred before the camera was turned on. Editing is everything.

Submitted by Susan Richart on

"Submitted by Not Susan on Tue, 2019-04-30 16:11
Yes Susan, In the very article you quote - "Prior to July 2018...", I know that prior is a big word but it means that currently (another big word), training IS standardized. Which, low and behold, is exactly what West said."

Yep, all 10 months of it. West has been saying for years that training is standardized. It was supposed to have been standardized when the highly-vaunted "training academy" opened in 2016 to "provide a common level of training for every newly hired TSA officer while achieving stronger consistency across airports."

https://www.tsa.gov/blog/2016/02/23/training-new-hires-now-central-tsa-a...

Submitted by PreCheck on

"The terrorists were not armed and nothing the TSA does now would have stopped anything then."
they were ARMED with box cutters and slit passenger and flight attendant throats to gain access to the cockpits. box cutters are now prohibited by the TSA. don't rewrite history.

Submitted by Susan Richart on

Submitted by Not Susan "Yes Susan, In the very article you quote - "Prior to July 2018...", I know that prior is a big word but it means that currently (another big word), training IS standardized. Which, low and behold, is exactly what West said."

The word "prior" means before a particular time. It does not mean "currently".

The highly vaunted TSA "training academy" was stood up in January of 2016 to provide all new hires with the same training, so it appears that in the 30 months PRIOR to July 2018 it did not achieve its mission.

Further, once "trainees" have left the "academy" and get to their assigned airports, that "consistent" thing can and often does change on a dime at the whim of the FSD in charge of the airport. A favorite refrain of TSA screeners: "We don't do it that way here."

Finally, Cooper has been claiming that training is consistent across the board for far longer than the 10 months that have passed since July of 2018.

"TSA is consistently training our people to be better at all facets of the job." https://www.tsa.gov/blog/2018/02/22/tsa-travel-tips-travelling-religious...

screen shot

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

"...Submitted by PreCheck ...they were ARMED with box cutters"

Something the walk-through-metal-detectors and a policy change can prevent.

" and slit passenger and flight attendant throats to gain access to the cockpits"

Something the airlines have changed by hardening access to the flight deck.

"... don't rewrite history."

I don't need the TSA nor it's cheerleaders to lecture me about history when nothing the TSA does now would have prevented what happened then. The next September 11th event has already been prevented by things that have nothing to do with the TSA. Flight deck access has been hardened and secured and Flight Crew are no longer instructed to 'comply with the hijackers.'

Now... explain why we need an $7,560,000,000 a year agency to prevent what two procedural changes already took care of?

Submitted by PreCheck on

SSSS For Some Reason... yeah, you kinda ignored how I pointed out your statement before was wrong. you said they were not armed. they were, you cannot rewrite that. you said none of what the TSA does now would have stopped them. TSA does not allow box cutters while they WERE allowed then. minor policy change or not it still points out your original statement was not true.

kinda calls into question the validity of all you statements doesn't it?

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

"....TSA does not allow box cutters while they WERE allowed then. minor policy change"

You didn't explain why that minor policy change requires a government agency and $7,560,000,000 yearly spend to enforce.