Friday, June 7, 2013

TSA Week in Review: 24-Pounds of Black Powder, 32 Loaded Firearms Among Things Discovered This Week

24-Pounds of Black Powder (MDW)

24-Pounds of Black Powder – Ten canisters containing 24-pounds of black powder were discovered in checked baggage at Chicago Midway (MDW). While properly packaged ammunition is permitted in checked-baggage, black powder is not. Especially not 24-pounds of it…

34 Firearms Discovered This Week –Of the 34 firearms, 32 were loaded and 10 had rounds chambered. See a complete list and more photos at the bottom of this post.

Loaded Gun (ONT)
Airbag – An airbag for a motorcycle was discovered in a carry-on bag at Islip (ISP). Airbags are prohibited from both checked and carry-on bags.Take a look at this post from 2010 on airbags.

Inert Ordnance and Grenades etc. - We continue to find inert hand grenades and other weaponry on a 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.

  • Two inert/novelty/replica grenades were discovered in checked bags this week at McAllen (MFE), and Phoenix (PHX).

Discovered at (L-R) PHX, MFE
Stun Guns Discovered at (L-R) ATL, DEN, LAS, DTW
Stun Guns – 11 stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags around the nation: Two were discovered at Denver (DEN), and the other nine were found at Atlanta (ATL), Branson (BBG), Baltimore (BWI), Detroit (DTW), Las Vegas (LAS), Minot (MOT), Phoenix (PHX), San Francisco (SFO), and St. Louis (STL).
Fireworks (CLE)

Knife in Shoe (LAX)

Items in the Strangest Places –It’s important to examine your bags prior to traveling to ensure no prohibited items are inside. If a prohibited item is discovered in your bag, you could be cited and quite possibly arrested by local law enforcement. Here are a few examples from this week where prohibited items were found in strange places.

  • Two fireworks were found in the back pocket of a Cleveland (CLE) passenger while receiving a pat-down after alarming advanced imaging technology.
  • An eight-inch butcher’s knife was discovered concealed under the lining of a carry-on bag at Houston (IAH).
  • A handmade knife was discovered under the sole of a shoe at Los Angeles (LAX).

Knives Discovered at (Top - Bottom) LAX, DEN, EWR, EWR, IAH

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:

  • During a secondary search at New York Kennedy (JFK), a passenger stated: “I’m carrying an IED in my carry-on.” While he didn’t have an IED, he was arrested by Port Authority police on a state charge.
  • After being informed by the ticket agent that he wasn’t going to make his flight, a San Francisco (SFO) passenger stated: "I will throw a bomb here in your face."

Throwing Star (LAX)

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…

Firearms Discovered This Week in Carry-On Bags
Discovered at (L-R) TRI, BUF, DAL, SJU, IAH, CLT, FSM, PIT
Discovered at (L-R) CRP, ATL, SAN, IAH, BNA, BNA, TLH
Discovered at (Top - Bottom) BNA, IAH
Discovered at (L-R) MCO, CLL, DAL
Discovered at (L-R) RDU, CLT
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. The 2011 list can be found here.

Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team
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