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Transportation Security Administration

TSA Week in Review: May 6 - 19

Wednesday, May 22, 2019
firearm cover

Sorry I missed you all last week. Sometimes I wish I were a robot so I could crank out these blog posts without ever needing to power down. Now, with my batteries recharged, I’m kicking off the rust and jumping in!

Between May 6 and 19, TSA screened 32.1 million passengers and found 176 firearms in carry-on bags. Of the 176 firearms discovered, 153 were loaded and 54 had a round chambered.

Since @RB noticed it was left off the last blog, between April 29 and May 5, TSA screened 15.8 million passengers.

As a reminder, bringing a firearm to the security checkpoint may lead to a civil penalty of up to $13,333 or an arrest. And if you’re a TSA Pre✓® member, you could lose your status. If you must travel with your firearm, check out our transporting firearms and ammunition page to learn how to pack it properly.

See all firearm discoveries from May 6 - 19 in this chart.

Robot Rodeo

Wait! Speaking of robots, last week I was able to attend the 13th annual Robot Rodeo and Capability Exercise hosted at New Mexico’s Kirtland Air Force Base by Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Explosive response teams from all around the country cowboy’d up to test their skills in challenging environments. Two TSA Transportation Security Explosives Specialists from Albuquerque International Sunport participated in the competition by developing challenges to help familiarize teams with aviation threats.

Explosives discovered at airports

One advantage of using robots to clear explosive threats is that nobody has to wear one of those hot bomb suits. Anytime one of our officers discovers a potential explosive they call in a real life explosives specialist to clear the alarm. This can take time and lead to flight delays. So think about that before you decide to pack your projectiles for a trip to grandma’s.

Pictured above from the left:

  • Two inert projectiles were discovered in a checked bag at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on May 15.
  • A novelty grenade bottle opener was located in a carry-on bag at George Bush Intercontinental Airport on May 9.
  • Boxes of sparklers were removed from a carry-on bag at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport on May 11.

Replica Firearms discovered at airports

The nuts and bolts of it are that even if a firearm is a totally fake replica, it still can’t be packed in your carry-on bag! Airsoft and BB guns are also not allowed in your carry-on. The good news is that replica, airsoft and BB guns are totally allowed in your checked bag. That’s a pretty easy solution I’d say. Just check with your airline for their rules.

Pictured above from the left:

  • A pellet gun was packed in a carry-on bag at Lehigh Valley International Airport.
  • A replica blunderbuss was found packed in a carry-on bag at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport on May 10.
  • An airsoft gun was located in a carry-on bag at Buffalo Niagara International Airport on May 18.

Belt buckle knives

Push your pant buttons together with these belt buckles! It’s not every day we find an adrenaline junkie’s belt buckle knife at the checkpoint, but when we do, it’s still prohibited. This week we found three! You can still pack this piece of tactical hardware in your checked bags, but for now just wear proper fitting pants and pack your belt buckle knife in your checked bag.

The first two belt buckle knives were discovered at Charlotte Douglas International Airport on the same day, May 18. The one on the right was located at Salt Lake City International Airport on May 8.

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

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