Enchilada knife!
January 23, 2015 6:23 PM   Subscribe

The TSA Blog has posted their 2014 year in review, including 2,212 confiscated firearms and a variety of other prohibited and suspicious items. FiveThirtyEight has a breakdown by airport of the confiscated firearms.

Previous years: 2011, 2012, 2013
posted by noneuclidean (47 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
A remarkable number of aspiring mall ninjas failed their concealment rolls last year.
posted by mhoye at 6:40 PM on January 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


I mean I could snark about gun control, but really it has just come to this:

Guys, just... just get a separate duffel bag for your clothes and your guns. Please. Christ.
posted by selfnoise at 6:41 PM on January 23, 2015


Why are so many of these guns loaded? Do most people that travel with guns keep them loaded, or just the people that are, um, "forgetful" enough to bring them to the security checkpoint?
posted by Llama-Lime at 6:43 PM on January 23, 2015


Well, that ribbon cutting ceremony is cancelled.
posted by angerbot at 6:45 PM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I... don't understand what the problem with checking an unloaded cannon is. Anybody?
posted by phlyingpenguin at 6:46 PM on January 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


From the headline, I thought we were discussing yet another unitasker purchased from the Skymall catalog. Nope!
posted by deludingmyself at 6:56 PM on January 23, 2015


Well, I guess cannons are firearms? Unloaded guns are also not dangerous.

I was more bothered by the "67 pills" hidden in a book. It didn't say they were illegal, just that they were hidden.
posted by zennie at 7:00 PM on January 23, 2015


I... don't understand what the problem with checking an unloaded cannon is. Anybody?

I don't either, but it may have been one of those individual "discretion" issues. Then again, it could just be ignorance: once, while waiting for a pat down (I always opt out), one TSA agent asked the one working with me whether or not bowling balls were allowed as carry-on items.
posted by bonje at 7:01 PM on January 23, 2015


What gibbering idiot thinks that walking onto a plane with a loaded fucking weapon is reasonable these days? I mean love or hate security theatre (hate it, for the record), but you cannot be someone capable of tying your own shoes for the past fourteen years without knowing that the powers that be will look dimly upon that sort of thing.
A disassembled .22 caliber firearm was discovered in a carry-on bag at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). Various components of the gun were found hidden inside a PlayStation 2 console.
You have got to be fucking joking. This wasn't news, I suspect, because of this asshat's skin colour. Taking a wild guess.
An Mk 2 hand grenade was discovered in a carry-on bag at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WHO THINKS IT IS OKAY TO TRAVEL WITH A (presumably) LIVE GRENADE?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:06 PM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


So wait. Someone went to the considerable trouble to conceal a single .22 bullet in a tube of cortisone cream? That sounds like so much work. How do you even get one of those open? And then if you succeed, you've got cream all over your bullet. Did the bullet have sentimental value or something? I'd love to hear the backstory because I cannot fathom the thought process.
posted by TheCowGod at 7:14 PM on January 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


When it said "enchilada knife", I thought it meant something like a plastic knife wrapped up with the to-go enchilada, not a non-eating knife secreted inside the enchilada.
posted by immlass at 7:18 PM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I... don't understand what the problem with checking an unloaded cannon is. Anybody?

The baggage fee on a 12 pounder bronze cannon is horrendous.

But seriously, these are weapons confiscated at the security checkpoints, not checked weapons. It is perfectly legal to check firearms -- you have to declare them to the airline, they have to be unloaded, and they have to be in a locked, hard-sided container. The airline will then tag that bag, and you go to screening, where the TSA confirms that there are the stated number of weapons in there. You relock the case (if they needed to look inside) and they put it in cargo.

It's not a big deal at all if you follow the rules and declare the firearms, and if you *try* to follow the rules and don't get it right, generally the airline and TSA will help you correct that and get you on your way. The most common miss is you can't have loose ammunition in the container, it has to be packages. Things bounce in airplanes, and if the primer hits something, it goes BANG. So, they want the ammo secured. The second most common miss is a loaded clip in the weapon, even if there's a round that's not chambered, they want the clip out (easier to see on X-ray.) That's an easy fix, pull the clip out, it counts as packaging, weapon's now not loaded, away you go.

It is a big deal if you just check a firearm and don't tell the airline. If the TSA scans the bag, they'll call law enforcement and the airline. You may well be cordially invited to never fly that airline again. You will be talking to LEOs for quite a while, and you will, at the very least, miss your flight.
posted by eriko at 7:20 PM on January 23, 2015 [14 favorites]


An improvised explosives device (IED) training kit was discovered in a checked bag at Honolulu (HNL).

That's the single most idiotic thing that isn't a weapon I can think of to pack in a bag. Seriously. "Look, it looks *EXACTLY* like a homemade bomb! I've *got* to have that."

An 8.5” knife was discovered in an enchilada at the Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport (STS).

That's enchilada abuse, and I will not stand for that.

A San Jose International Airport (SJC) passenger was arrested after nearly three pounds of cocaine was discovered in his checked baggage wrapped inside a package of raw meat.

Because, you know, dogs hate meat.
posted by eriko at 7:29 PM on January 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


No kidding. That's why I always wrap my drugs in peanut butter!
posted by rtha at 7:35 PM on January 23, 2015


First time I ever met a dude over the pre-internet medium of BBS's in order to trade Magic cards, "discovered" a loaded 22 pistol in his Magic Bag.

So that's why I lack a Time Twister now.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:50 PM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


From what I saw, a lot of passengers that brought a gun or bullets in their carryon use that bag to go to a shooting range, forget to take everything out or miss a bullet, and then pack it up and go to the airport.
posted by "friend" of a TSA Agent at 8:18 PM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Or "reg'lar folks" who know that TSA will steal their shit, so they think that smuggling their guns past the inept TSA will allow them to maintain their gun-totting lifestyle at their in-States destination.

Fuck the TSA and their minimum-waged nickle-and-dimed workers who have very little incentive to be honest and good and who have positive direct influence to not be, right?
posted by porpoise at 8:47 PM on January 23, 2015


Forgetting you have a gun in your bag seems kind of strange to me, but just the other day I found a ziplock sandwich bag of 9mm bullets in a bin of stuff I had been meaning to file. I don't know why I put it there or when; I'm just glad it didn't end up in a suitcase instead, but I could easily have contributed to the yearly total of dumbass seizures.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:32 PM on January 23, 2015


"Complaint department, take a number" <-- huge gifting hit of 2014. Really though, bragging about the capture of inert grenades? This might actually be something if the article had a single statistic, and it rhymes with "rumber of rerrorists raptured"

How many of the loaded guns were taken from LEOs, too, that'd be good to know.
posted by circular at 10:40 PM on January 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


WHO THINKS IT IS OKAY TO TRAVEL WITH A (presumably) LIVE GRENADE?

Someone concerned for the safety and wellbeing of the people on the plane: Can you think of how statistically improbable it would be to have _two_ bombs on the same flight?
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:07 PM on January 23, 2015 [10 favorites]


A strange combination of early-morning fatigue and a head-full of physics revision made me misinterpret the image with the cannon being examined by a flashlight.

My first reaction was "Is that cannon barrel giving off Cherenkov radiation? Man, the TSA has some major problems."
posted by The Zeroth Law at 11:18 PM on January 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


If you manage to forget you're carrying a gun, or have stray ammo rattling around in a bag, up here you'll have a bigger problem than mere confiscation.

Let's leave the question of gun control aside entirely, and discount the people who want to consciously carry for whatever reason. Fine.

Randomly leaving guns and ammo lying around in such a way that you don't know where they are (Oops! In my carry-on!) runs counter to the notion of "responsible gun owner."

It's just rank stupidity.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:33 PM on January 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


Because, you know, dogs hate meat.
Maybe that was the cunning plan; the drug dogs bark and sniff the meat package, handlers just go 'oh, they're just after the meat' and dismiss it as a false positive. But that's assuming that the dogs don't have a specific reaction to drugs that's different from just 'excited doggie' mode (which I believe they are trained to do and when properly handled), in which case, dumb, dumb idea.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:21 AM on January 24, 2015


Once they took fuzzy handcuffs away from me at Paris-Charles de Gaulle terminal 1.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:59 AM on January 24, 2015 [3 favorites]




Huge wooden mallet, for the win.
posted by chavenet at 4:25 AM on January 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Not that it's smart to carry a firearm or a grenade onto a plane or anything..
..but just how many of these weapons were ever actually going to be intended for anything malicious on the plane?

The purported goal of the TSA is to keep us safe from those who would do us harm. If just about all of these weapons were *not* intended for that purpose, are they really keeping anyone safe? And if so, is it really worth bragging just about all of the largely harmless idiots they do manage to catch?

Or are they merely doing this to appear like they're doing "something" as part of security theater?
posted by leviathan3k at 5:12 AM on January 24, 2015


..but just how many of these weapons were ever actually going to be intended for anything malicious on the plane?

Does it matter? How do you think a person who's insecure enough to bring his gun with him on his belt might react to, for example, some arabic-looking guys arguing with the flight crew?
posted by ymgve at 6:07 AM on January 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


Randomly leaving guns and ammo lying around in such a way that you don't know where they are (Oops! In my carry-on!) runs counter to the notion of "responsible gun owner."

That's a totally valid point of view and probably the way it is treated in most countries, but at a practical level that is not how ammunition is treated in the US. It's sold in all kinds of stores from big box to gas stations, you don't need a permit or any kind of reason to buy it, and it's not treated (legally or in practice) as something dangerous or needing special storage (unlike guns themselves). Open the glove boxes of most of the trucks in town and you will find half-used boxes of ammunition; I was in someone's office the other day and they were using boxes of .22 on their desk as a paperweight. (An expensive, difficult to find paperweight these days, thanks to the ridiculous hoarders, but that's its own issue.)

Again, I'm not arguing that you are wrong; rather, that view is going to be a minority view at best in the US, for all that says about our society. Cigarettes are more tightly regulated and proscribed than is ammunition, for example. (For that matter, I'd be fine if I had a firearm in my work vehicle, but I'd be given an official reprimand for tobacco use.)

Airports, correctional institutions, and federal buildings are about the only places I can think of where having some loose bullets would be an issue, so I'm not at all surprised that they turn up all the time in bags and pockets. I am, however, plenty surprised at the grenades and other oddities -- that goes past WTF? to "Sir, you need to have a conversation with this nice Federal Marshal" because that is just not ok on several levels.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:20 AM on January 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


So I guess this is the really exciting stuff from the TSA's perspective. Now let's see all of the mundane, harmless items that they've confiscated. Oh, what? That would make them look like assholes? Huh, I guess the TSA won't be putting together a gallery of that, then.

still grumpy about the 3.5" folding bike tool set they took from me years ago. "Oh wow, these are nice, I have a set like this." Well I guess you have two now, asshole.
posted by indubitable at 7:11 AM on January 24, 2015 [8 favorites]


If gun carrying passengers could sign a form stating that they don't intend to use a gun for malicious purposes, that would clear things up.
posted by coldhotel at 8:07 AM on January 24, 2015


That knife in an enchilada just looks like an accident. When my uncle comes to visit from Calif. my mother always gives him a box of sticky buns to take home with him. One time as he was going through airport security they opened up his box of sticky buns to discover it contained a large kitchen knife. My mother had cut a couple of buns off for breakfast and left the knife in the box. The knife was confiscated and my uncle and the sticky buns proceeded to California without incident.
posted by interplanetjanet at 9:01 AM on January 24, 2015


Todd Glass as Chainsaw Guy: "Don't fly Delta. It's bullshit."
posted by ostranenie at 9:05 AM on January 24, 2015


..but just how many of these weapons were ever actually going to be intended for anything malicious on the plane?

And security agents are supposed to know that how, exactly?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:07 AM on January 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


You have to declare them to the airline, they have to be unloaded, and they have to be in a locked, hard-sided container. The airline will then tag that bag, and you go to screening, where the TSA confirms that there are the stated number of weapons in there. You relock the case (if they needed to look inside) and they put it in cargo.

This is actually a wonderful way to protect any of your valuables you don't want TSA inspectors to have access too, as there's nothing that says that the firearm has to be the only thing in the hard-sided container, and you're expressly forbidden from using a "TSA Approved" lock that they have the master keys to open.

So if you're flying with a lot of valuable, easy-to-steal items like camera equipment or jewelry, get a hard sided lockable case that can hold it all and a big padlock. Then get a track-meet starter pistol (still considered a firearm under the regulations). Go through the firearms check-in procedure when you check in that luggage, and the only time the TSA will be around that case when it's unlocked and open is right at the beginning of your trip when you are there to watch them. As a bonus, your airline is going to track the case with extra care, because no one wants to be the air carrier that lost track of a case with a firearm in it once it's past security.
posted by radwolf76 at 9:49 AM on January 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


....but at a practical level that is not how ammunition is treated in the US.

Oh, totally. No disagreement there. I grew up right on the Michigan border, and have spent my fair share of time in the US. We used to joke about getting some ammo with our groceries when we were shopping in the US.

I think the TSA should have let the cannon barrel go, provided the owner could produce an eyepatch, and formally declare the item in pirate-speak.

Yar.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:09 AM on January 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


..but just how many of these weapons were ever actually going to be intended for anything malicious on the plane?

OK, let me be (my guess is very) generous and say that the TSA catches 90% of the guns that people try to carry on to planes. That would mean that something like 246 firearms made it into the passenger cabins on airplanes. Considering that there were no incidents of any kind involving firearms that I can remember or cursorily google on an American airplane in 2014, I will assume something less than .4%.

This seems to me to be kind of a dumb thing for the TSA to brag about considering how incompetent they generally seem to be, instead of looking to me like, "gall dang look at how many guns they intercepted!" it looks to me like, "wow, if they caught that many, think how many they must have missed." Plus, with stories like inside men smuggling over a hundred guns on airplanes it seems that someone funded, smart enough, and motivated (or ten dumbasses on different flights) could fairly easily smuggle pretty well whatever they wanted on board. This is why I just can't help but wonder if there's really any credible threat to national security at all.
posted by cmoj at 12:11 PM on January 24, 2015


I've got a question about this dwarven hammer or whatever the hell it is, pictured middle bottom.

How could they reasonably expect someone could effectively deploy this as a weapon on a flight? You're going to need one hell of a swing radius open to you.

In first class, maybe. In coach? Never.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:59 PM on January 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hmm...

650 million screenings last year.

If I fly from Seattle to Denver and back, there's a small chance that I'll accidentally forget that my gun was in my bag and have it confiscated in Seattle. But my odds of having it confiscated in Denver are probably much, much closer to zero.

So, ~325 million 'first screenings' where a forgotten gun might reasonably be forgotten. Maybe 350 million because some people take one-way flights.

So, 350 million screenings resulting in 2200 guns, or about one gun per 160,000 screenings.

Careful examination of the first result in Google says that there are around 11 million people in the USA licensed to carry a concealed handgun; that's around 5% of the adult population. These are the people who carry guns regularly and probably are most likely to forget that they have one. Let's say that 3% of the population has a gun on them often enough that they might forget they have it when going to the airport.

That means that your average regular-gun-carrier has about a 1 in 5000 chance of accidentally trying to bring a gun past security.

That number seems... high to me. I wonder how many of these were ordinary people who forgot they had a gun, and how many of them are nonfunctional replicas, flare/starter guns, toys, guns printed on t-shirts, or something like that.
posted by Hatashran at 2:12 PM on January 24, 2015


Once they took fuzzy handcuffs away from me at Paris-Charles de Gaulle terminal 1.

Really? I've taken all manner of bondage gear on various flights within the US and to France and the UK. Both checked and carried on. I'm sure there were snickers and guffaws but I've never had any actual trouble.
posted by desjardins at 2:40 PM on January 24, 2015


I thought maybe I'd just gotten lucky, but nope, handcuffs are specifically allowed by the TSA. Not sure about other countries, obviously.
posted by desjardins at 2:41 PM on January 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


... desjardins, I can't begin to thank you. I'd been assuming handcuffs were on the prohibited list.

Woohoo! :)
posted by joycehealy at 2:56 PM on January 24, 2015


That number seems... high to me. I wonder how many of these were ordinary people who forgot they had a gun, and how many of them are nonfunctional replicas, flare/starter guns, toys, guns printed on t-shirts, or something like that.

The weekly TSA blog posts shows the number of guns that were loaded, and how many had a round already chambered. Those are certainly real guns. Replicas are in a different category.
posted by ymgve at 3:17 PM on January 24, 2015


about this dwarven hammer or whatever the hell it is

While I'm opposed to racial profiling, I think an exception can be made for cave trolls.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:33 PM on January 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't see what the problem is, since the owner went through the effort of making it extra safe.
posted by ckape at 6:41 PM on January 24, 2015


"No no you don't understand. It's a knife enchilada."
posted by aydeejones at 3:50 AM on January 25, 2015


I didn't see any Halberds, Mace, or Cudgels. I always check my Battle Axe because there's a whole stigma with the "Battle" term which I'll admit sounds cool but like -- a regular axe or just axe handle will kill you just the same, but you call it a "Battle Axe" and make it look a little scarier and add an extra sharp side (this one isn't even pointy on the end) and everybody loses their minds!

I understand why non-human entities and wizards have to fly on their own power or with DragonAir but regular airlines don't profile for human clerics who can perform area spells.
posted by aydeejones at 4:00 AM on January 25, 2015


« Older reeeee~wind!!   |   All Sports Illustrated Staff Photographers Fired Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments