Friday, March 8, 2013

TSA Week in Review: Inert Suicide Vest, Grenades, Guns and More…

Loaded Firearm Detected by Imaging Technology: A loaded .380 pistol with eight rounds was discovered on the lower left leg of a passenger at Bradley Hartsfield (BDL) after he alarmed Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT). The passenger was arrested by Connecticut State Police on a state charge.

Loaded Firearm Detected by AIT at BDL

Inert Ordnance and Grenades etc. - We continue to find inert hand grenades and other weaponry on weekly basis. Please keep in mind that if an item looks like a realistic bomb, grenade, mine, etc., it is prohibited - real or not. When these items are found at a checkpoint or in checked baggage, they can cause significant delays in checkpoint screening. I know they are cool novelty items, but you cannot bring them on a plane. Read here and here on why inert items cause problems.

Inert Suicide Vest (IND)

  • The contents of a checked bag at Indianapolis (IND) drew our officer’s attention: After alarming in the X-ray, our officers discovered 30 electric matches, a bag of potassium chlorate in the original packaging, a bag of titanium powder in the original packaging, a bag of powder that appeared to be a mixture of potassium chlorate and titanium powder, and a vest that appeared to be a suicide vest. All of the items were inert and the passenger was an explosives instructor. As I’ve said before, we’re all too familiar with instructors and other people in this type of business needing these sorts of items for their jobs. As with all inert training items and replicas, we don’t know they’re not real until we’ve checked them out. This can include evacuated baggage areas and closed checkpoints which lead to delays and missed flights. People that need to travel with INERT items should plan ahead and contact their preferred shipper about mailing the training aids to their destination.

  • A total of seven inert/replica grenades were discovered this week. Five WWII replica “potato masher” grenades were discovered in checked baggage at Louisville (SDF). The other two grenades were discovered at Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) and Phoenix-Mesa (IWA). The grenade at DFW was in a carry-on bag.

Stun Guns – Thirteen stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags around the nation: Two were discovered at Minneapolis (MSP), and the others were found at Atlanta (ATL), Baltimore (BWI), Denver (DEN), Fort Myers (RSW), Guam (GUM), Jacksonville (JAX), Kansas City (MCI), Nashville (BNA), Portland (PWM), Sacramento (SMF), and Seattle (SEA).

What Not to Say at an Airport – Statements like these not only delay the people who said them but can also inconvenience many other passengers if the checkpoint or terminal has to be evacuated:

  • After alarming Advanced Imaging Technology at Minneapolis (MSP), the TSA officer asked the passenger if he had any items he would like to divest from that area, the passenger stated: “Yes, A Colt .45.” He didn’t have a firearm.

Miscellaneous Prohibited Items - In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our Officers also regularly find firearm components, realistic replica firearms, bb and pellet guns, Airsoft guns, brass knuckles, ammunition, batons, and a lot of sharp pointy things -- to mention a few…

33 Firearms Discovered This Week – of the 33 firearms, 26 were loaded and eight had rounds chambered. Here are pictures of some of the firearms.

You can travel with your firearms in checked baggage, but they must first be declared to the airline. You can go here for more details on how to properly travel with your firearms. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure.

Unfortunately these sorts of occurrences are all too frequent which is why we talk about these finds. Sure, it’s great to share the things that our officers are finding, but at the same time, each time we find a dangerous item, the throughput is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. The passenger can face a penalty as high as $7,500.00. This is a friendly reminder to please leave these items at home. Just because we find a prohibited item on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions, that's for the law enforcement officer to decide. In many cases, people simply forgot they had these items.

*In order to provide a timely weekly update, I compile my data from a preliminary report. The year-end numbers will vary slightly (increase) from what I report in the weekly updates. However, any monthly, midyear, or end-of-year numbers TSA provides on this blog or elsewhere will not be estimates.

If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you check out our post highlighting the dangerous, scary, and downright unusual items our officers found in 2012.

Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team

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