As tempting as it is to complain about the Transportation Security Administration, better known as the TSA, and all its particular rules -- we’ve all had a carry-on toiletry thrown away for being just over the limit, have we not? -- we can likely all agree: Those federal officials are stationed in our commercial airports to keep us safe.
“Keep us safe” from what? You might wonder.
Funny you should ask.
Did you know the TSA has a blog, in which the agency will let you in on some of its secrets? OK, we suppose they’re not exactly “secrets” if they’re being published online, but regardless, there are some real gems in this blog -- and by gems, we mean startling tidbits and photos.
Who really thinks they can get away with packing some of these items?
So without further ado, let’s go over some of the findings from the TSA’s latest post, shall we? It’s called “Week in Review: July 22 to Aug. 4.” You can read it in its entirety here.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with traveling with a gun, so long as you’re doing it responsibly and abiding by the laws.
“You may transport unloaded firearms in a locked hard-sided container as checked baggage only,” the TSA says online, in case you were wondering. “Declare the firearm and/or ammunition to the airline when checking your bag at the ticket counter. The container must completely secure the firearm from being accessed. Locked cases that can be easily opened are not permitted. Be aware that the container the firearm was in when purchased may not adequately secure the firearm when it is transported in checked baggage.” Read more.
Now you know. Here are some guns belonging to people who didn’t know or chose not to follow the rules.
“In July, we found 389 firearms, which is five fewer firearms than last year. Yay?!"
“Between July 22 and August 4, TSA screened 36.3 million passengers and found 157 firearms in carry-on bags. Of the 157 firearms discovered, 135 were loaded and 57 had a round chambered."
“Don’t pack your firearm in your carry-on bag. 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.”
The blog even links to a chart showing all firearm discoveries in this time frame. So in case you're wondering whether anything was found at your nearest major airport, now you can check.
These look … nice
And then there are these flowers, pictured above, which were found at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in late July.
Blog author Jay Wagner might make you giggle with the write-up: “When I give flowers to my fiancé, it’s usually to send the message that I love her. I wonder what message this passenger was trying to send?”
The lesson here?
Concealing a prohibited item from TSA officers may lead to an arrest or civil penalty.
Knives, by the way, are allowed in your checked bag.
“I can guarantee that the civil penalty will be more than the cost of a checked bag,” Wagner said.
Can you spot the fake grenade?
Look at these items.
It’s hard to tell what’s real, Wagner said, which is precisely why the TSA doesn’t allow these types of devices -- or anything looking similar -- through security.
“When we discover a suspected explosive device, we call in our experts,” the blog said. “This takes time and can lead to delays and missed flights. Don’t be that person and just leave your ‘nades at home.”
In case you’re curious, pictured above in the top row are:
- A grenade that turned into a bottle opener -- found at Orlando International Airport on July 25.
- Two empty hand grenades that were used for training at Fort Smith Regional Airport in Arkansas on July 26.
- An empty grenade at Newark Liberty International Airport on July 27.
Pictured above, bottom row are:
- An empty grenade, found in a screening at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on July 25.
- An empty grenade at O’Hare International Airport on Aug. 3.
- A smoke grenade at Palm Springs International Airport on Aug. 4.
And finally …
This photo isn’t showing off all the knives that were found in checked bags at LaGuardia Airport in New York City on July 28.
These are just the knives found in one passenger’s carry-on bag that day.
There’s no limit on how many knives you can bring, so long as they’re checked.
The TSA’s main job is to keep dangerous items off planes.
"The most common explanation we hear from travelers for prohibited items is 'I forgot it was in my bag,'" Wagner wrote. "Don’t be that person. Save yourself some money and embarrassment and thoroughly check your bags for prohibited items before heading to the airport."
Check out what’s allowed and what’s not.
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