USA Flag

Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Transportation Security Administration

TSA Week in Review: April 29 - May 5

Thursday, May 09, 2019
Prohibited Items - Guns

Let’s commence this blog post by recognizing all the upcoming graduates! May is the start of the graduation season. So, if you’re flying to see someone walk, do your homework and study these tips to easily pass through security. Oh the places you’ll go!

If you’ll be traveling with a graduation gift, our officers may need to open that gift to clear an alarm. That means it’s a good idea to wait until you get to your destination to wrap it. Also, diplomas, hats, gowns and left over pizza are all allowed in carry-on or checked bags.

Between April 29 and May 5, TSA found 83 firearms in carry-on bags. Of the 83 firearms discovered, 69 were loaded and 17 had a round chambered.

In April 2019, we discovered 350 firearms in carry-on bags. That is 11 more than in 2018.

Bringing a firearm to the security checkpoint may lead to a civil penalty of up to $13,333 or an arrest and it’s a bonehead move that most certainly won’t move you to the head of the class. If you’re a TSA Pre✓® member, then you could even lose your status. So, if you must travel with your firearm to a graduation, at least check out our transporting firearms and ammunition page to learn how to pack it properly.

See all firearm discoveries from April 29 to May 5 in this chart.

replica explosive items

Packing replica explosive items or smoke grenades can lead to an unpleasant experience at the airport. So take a lesson and just leave these items at home.

Pictured above from the left:

  • A smoke grenade discovered in a carry-on bag by TSA officers at Wilmington International Airport in North Carolina on May 3.
  • Two replica grenade lighters located in a carry-on bag at McCarran International Airport on May 4.
  • A smoke flare was found in a carry-on bag by TSA officers at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on May 5.


Packing your knife in your carry-on bag is such an elementary mistake. So let me spell it out for you – knives are only allowed in your checked bags.

Pictured above top row from the left:

  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport TSA officers discovered a case of unique knives in a carry-on bag on April 30.
  • A horse themed knife was discovered just before the Kentucky Derby at LaGuardia Airport. Remember, for Maximum Security, pack your knives in checked bags. No objections!
  • A small dagger was located by Portland International Airport TSA officers on April 29.

Pictured above bottom row from the left:

  • A butterfly knife was found in a carry-on bag at Nashville International Airport on May 2.
  • A throwing knife was discovered at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on May 3.
  • TSA officers at San Francisco International Airport located a push dagger on May 3.

Danielle Nicol, a TSA Training Instructor at John Glenn Columbus International Airport

Congratulations to Danielle Nicol, a TSA Training Instructor at John Glenn Columbus International Airport. Danielle is the first TSA employee to earn a Criminal Justice degree through the Des Moines Area Community College TSA Associates Program. TSA supports employees through a variety of continuing education programs.

And lastly, to all the mothers out there – Happy Mother’s Day!

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.

So, 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


Submitted by Mental Health A... on

Reading the blog posts it is important to remember the importance of good mental health. Getting obsessed with a topic, especially one that you have no control over, can make for difficult times. Please look after yourselves and each other.

Submitted by RB on

Disappointed that the number of people screened wasn't listed this time. Guess it is an embarrassment for TSA to have it pointed out how few guns are really found compared to the total number of travelers. Of course when TSA has so few successes to point to any little thing gets blown out of reality.

Submitted by John A Reyna on

Is this on the subject of the number of mental idiots traveling with guns in their backpacks and carry-on luggage? Claiming they forgot they're carrying a loaded weapon on them to an Airport and into an Airplane?

Submitted by Cindy M on

Please tell us how many dangerous items were found in travelers’ crotches. These shiny objects you’ve posted look impressive. We know many more are finding their way onto airplanes, yet we have not seen planes brought down by them. What is it you are doing? Isn’t your mission to keep dangerous items from bringing down airliners? What are the dangerous items hiding in our crotches that would threaten an airplane? Please. There must be something you can show us. TSA precheck does not preclude the blue glove to the privates treatment. What is your real objective?

Submitted by W Landis on

The only one that should be embarrassed is YOU, for making this ridiculous comment. Even one firearm is too many. Get a hobby or something constructive, life is passing you by, bro !!

Submitted by Smoked Flavor Added on

I have been waiting for this blog entry to come out for far too long. Keep them coming.

Submitted by DEN Experience on

Well, Cindy, a FOIA review of pat-downs in the Denver airport found that for all of the thousands and thousands of sexual assault patdowns TSA committed against travelers, they found one (1) pocketknife. That's it. Perhaps "TSA" stands for "Thousands of Sexual Assaults."

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

Mr Reyna said "...of the number of mental idiots traveling with guns in their backpacks and carry-on luggage? "

Simple question for you Mr Reyna: What is it about an airport that makes those people suddenly dangerous? They had the gun in their backpack/carry on at home. Then in the cab or car to the airport. They probably carry their firearm with them most places including the market, the library, the dry-cleaners, and don't seem to encounter any problems. They manage to carry in all those other places without incident so why is carrying into an airport, or even onto an aircraft, such a horrible thing that we need a $7,560,000,000,000 per year Government Agency to do blog posts like there where they find less than a hundred firearms out of roughly 2,000,000 passengers a week?