TSA Confiscates Record 65 Guns In Carry-On Bags Last Week – 54 Were Loaded

Cartoon by Elisabeth Parker of airport security line in which all of the people have guns.

Cartoon by Elisabeth Parker.

We may never enjoy waiting on line and going through security checkpoints when traveling by air. But if the searches keep us safer, it’s probably worth the hassle … and the folks from the Transportation Security Administration definitely seem to be on the ball lately. On Friday, the TSA reported that in the week leading up to Memorial Day, agents confiscated a record 65 guns from passengers at security checkpoints — 54 of which were loaded. This beat their previous record of 50 fire arms (45 loaded) discovered the week before May 10th.

Bizarrely, one of these weapons was found strapped to a passenger’s prosthetic leg:

“A passenger at Salt Lake City (SLC) received a pat-down after an anomaly was detected during advanced imaging technology screening.  During the pat-down, officers discovered a fully loaded .22 caliber firearm inside his boot and strapped to the prosthetic leg. The passenger was arrested by Salt Lake City Airport Police on a state charge of ‘Carrying a Concealed Weapon in a Secure Area.’”

But why do people bring firearms onto planes anyway? In 2012, Joe Sharkey from The New York Times wrote that the number of guns found by TSA agents had been rising since 2010:

“Security experts attribute the increase to two factors: a rise in gun sales and the sharp growth of so-called right-to-carry laws across the country that significantly relax regulations on carrying guns in many areas of public life, from colleges to hospitals.”

Does this mean the TSA really IS coming after freedom-lovin’ Americans’ guns, as some pro-gun advocates would like us to believe? Not at all. According to the TSA:

You can travel with your firearms in checked baggage, but they must first be declared to the airline.

So, on top all the other annoyances and discomforts of air travel, we can add “worrying about our fellow passengers packing heat” to the list. You might want to think twice before reclining your seat. David Castelveter from the TSA also told Sharkey that the gun-toting passengers aren’t trying to break the law, they just forget they have their guns:

“It’s almost always inadvertent rather than intentional.”

Oops. TSA officials also found the following items:

  • Three hand grenades: Luckily they were “inert,” meaning they won’t actually explode. Perhaps the travelers were carrying them along as novelty gifts for their loved ones.
  • 12 stun guns: TSA security personnel found 12 stun guns at airports in Las Vegas, NV; Sacramento, CA; Albuquerque, NM; Baltimore, MD; Detroit, MI; Washington, DC; Phoenix, AZ; San Francisco, CA; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and St. Louis, MO. Were these passengers unsure of the welcomes they would receive at their destinations?
  • Two razor blades: One was found hidden in a shoe at Dayton International Airport in Ohio. The other was discovered in a passenger’s undergarments at Tampa International Airport in Florida.
  • Two joke-bombs: Two idiots joked about having bombs in their luggage, and will probably never, ever do that again.
  • One “multi-tool”: I do not know what a “multi-tool” is, nor do I want to. But one was apprehended in Guam.
  • Miscellaneous weird and scary-looking sh*t: The TSA also reported finding “firearm components, realistic replica firearms, bb and pellet guns, Airsoft guns, brass knuckles, ammunition, batons, and a lot of sharp pointy things.”

In 2012, the TSA screened 637,582,122 passengers, discovered 1,543 fire arms (78% or 1,215 of which were loaded). For this, and other highlights of all the “dangerous, scary, and downright unusual objects” found in 2012, visit the TSA’s January 9th blog post.

While it’s fun to share information about the crazy stuff TSA agents find on passengers’ persons and in their carry-on bags, the TSA blog claims they also want to keep people informed:

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.

For the latest update on questionable items, check the TSA’s Prohibited Items page.


Elisabeth Parker Elisabeth Parker is a writer, Web designer, mom, political junkie, and dilettante. Come visit her at ElisabethParker.Com, “like” her on facebook, “friend” her on facebook, follow her on Twitter, or check out her Pinterest boards. For more Addicting Info articles by Elisabeth, click here.