Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

Blog archive

Going great guns

Passenger screening at the nation's airports occasionally raises the hackles of some members of the public, many of whom seem to think that a lot of the screening is more inconvenient than productive.

The Transportation Security Administration likely would disagree, pointing to 45 loaded firearms, three passengers with firearms concealed on their persons, and WWI artillery shells.

And that's just last week.

And that does not even include the nine credit-card knives, 14 stun guns (including ones that look like cell phones and lipstick), and the six-inch saw blade concealed inside a bible that screeners located.

In fact, in any given week, transportation security officers detect dozens of loaded firearms and "artfully concealed" weapons.

For the curious, TSOs' discoveries are detailed weekly in photos and text on the TSA blog, which also notes: "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."

For the record, TSA found 1,813 firearms in carry-on bags at checkpoints last year—about five a day. Of those, 1,477 were loaded. Guns were detected at 205 airports. Atlanta led the way with 111.

So the next time TSOs look at you as if to say, "We are just doing our job" — they are.

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Apr 16, 2014 at 3:11 PM

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