TSA Week in Review Feb 10 - Feb 23

Thursday, February 27, 2020
3d printed firearms

The most asked question I get; “Are replica firearms included in the total firearm number?” The answer? No. Only live firearms found at the checkpoint that shoot projectiles are counted.

The next question is always; “Have TSA officers ever caught a 3D printed firearm?”

Yes! There are several incidents of TSA catching 3D printed firearms, firearm parts, knuckles as well as other prohibited items. The 3D printed replica firearms photographed above are just some of the ones we have found. TSA officers discovered them in a carry-on bag at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on February 20.

The only answer you need to remember is replica firearms aren’t allowed in carry-on bags. You can pack them in your checked bags!

firearm cover

Between February 10 and 23, TSA found 161 firearms. Of the 161 firearms, 145 were loaded and 62 had a round chambered. You can see all firearm discoveries from February 10 to 23 by clicking here.

We haven’t ordered any confetti, but as far as our New Year’s resolution is going, we’re down 27 firearms compared to this time last year!

This is a big deal. The consequences of forgetting your firearm in your carry-on bag can be severe. You could miss your flight. You may be arrested or cited. And you can expect a civil penalty from TSA of up to $13,333. Oh, and if you paid for TSA PreCheck™, you will lose your status. That means, get ready to remove them shoes!

If you need to travel with your firearm, please pack your weapons in your checked bags! Check out our transporting firearms and ammunition page to learn how to properly travel with a firearm. And get this, if you still have questions send us a message on Facebook or Twitter and you may just be shocked by how fast we respond.

Notable Incidents

artfully concealed knife

If you show up to the checkpoint and realize you still have your favorite knife with you, we won’t confiscate it and berate you! That’s not what we’re about.

So please, for your own sake, don’t just wrap it in paper towels and hide it in a metal thermos to avoid TSA officers from finding it! Doing so can result in being issued a hefty civil penalty.

If we find a knife during checkpoint security screening, we’ll give the following options:

  • Place the knife in a checked bag;
  • Give it to a friend or family member who isn’t traveling;
  • Place it in a vehicle;
  • Or some airports have a service where you can mail the item.

If you don’t want to use any of those options, TSA will accept it as voluntarily abandoned property.

The above knife was discovered at Indianapolis International Airport on February 13. The passenger stated that they attempted to conceal the knife and was unaware that mailing the knife home was an option.

PHX inert grenade

Checked baggage operations was halted for approximately 15 minutes at Phoenix International Airport after the above empty grenade was discovered in a checked bag on February 18.

Operations were paused until an explosive specialist responded to ensure the grenade didn’t pose any threats. To be clear, we’re talking 15 minutes of passengers not moving through the checkpoint at one of the busiest airports in the country.

Don’t be that guy! Leave replica explosives at home. Bringing them to the airport can lead to delays and missed flights.

Travel Tips

Got injured on vacation? Need to travel with some medication? Have a question about a medical device or implant? See our Special Procedures page for answers.

Be prepared! For a list of prohibited items, check out our What Can I Bring? tool. Not only does it tell you what you can bring it gives you tips on where to pack it!

Check out our Security Screening page for information about our security screening process.

If you still need help you can contact us or reach out on Twitter or Facebook. Our AskTSA team will be happy to answer even the most outlandish travel-related questions.


We found 4,432 firearms in 2019. Visit our 2019 Year in Review for more information.

Watch a video highlighting TSA’s Top 10 Finds of 2019.

Want to get to know us better? You can follow us @TSA on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and on YouTube.

Thanks for reading and safe travels!

 - 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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