Airport security

TSA’s Week in Review is dynamite

Each week the Transporation Security Administration shares a tally of the firearms its officers find at airport checkpoints.

I find that list both fasciniating and frightening.

From June 4 through 10, for example, 78 firearms were found in carry-on bags at airport checkpoints around the country.

Of those 78 firearms, 61 were loaded and 25 had a round chambered.

Alarming? Yes. A record? Not at all.

The guns are scary, but so too are the other prohibited items that TSA tells us travelers try to take on board with them.

For example, last week’s ‘catch’ included the replica Improvised Explosive Device (IED) pictured above that was found in a traveler’s carry-on bag at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

It looks like it could be real and TSA reports that after finding this item, the checkpoint was closed down for almost 20 minutes before the Chicago Police Bomb Squad was able to respond and clear the item.

Most people found with firearms in their carryon bags tells the authorities that they just ‘forgot’ they had their guns in the bags they grabbed on the way to the airport. But that replica IED? What were they thinking???

Want TSA PreCheck? Go buy some paper.

Summer is coming and checkpoint security lines at airports around the country are going to get longer.

So if you haven’t signed up for TSA’s PreCheck program yet, now would be a good time.

Don’t want to take an extra trip to the airport to do that? You may not have to if you’ve got a Staples office supply story nearby.

Staples office supply company and Idemia, the company that has the TSA contract to enroll people in the PreCheck program, have teamed up to set up IdentoGO enrollment centers in 50 Staples stores.

The cost of enrollment in the TSA PreCheck program is $85 and is good for five years at $17 per year.

Need to get new passport photo or a certified birth certificate?  Those IdentoGO Centers at Staples will help with those too.

 And if Staples isn’t in your community, check this site for another place to sign-up for TSA PreCheck.

It’s only February and TSA has set a new record

It was alarming to learn that during 2017,  the Transportation Security Administration found a record setting 3,957 firearms in carry-on bags at airport checkpoints.

That was 16.7 percent (556 more) firearms than found in 2016, when ‘only’ 3,391 firearms were found.

Will 2018 see a dip in the number of firearms passengers bring to the security checkpoints?

Not likely: It’s only February and another record has been broken: between February 5th and 11th, TSA found a record breaking 104 firearms in carry-on bags. Of those 104 firearms, 87 were loaded and 38 had a round chambered.

The previous week-long record? 96 firearms found during one week in July 2017.

165 guns found at airport checkpoints in 2 weeks. What??

On the TSA blog each week there’s a report on the number of firearms – and loaded firearms – officers find at airport checkpoints.

The weekly numbers – and images – always alarm me. But this week’s report on the number of firearms found in the past TWO weeks is super alarming: over the past two weeks TSA officers found 165 firearms at airport checkpoints.

79 one week. 86 the week after.

Of those 165 firearms, TSA tells us 144 were loaded (!) and 56 had a round chambered.

Whenever I write about this I get emails telling me not to worry.  “Those aren’t terrorists,” people tell me, “Just innocent ‘regular’ people who forgot they had their guns with them.”

What happens to these people? Often, nothing.

Depending on the state and the situation, travelers are somtimes just told to come back without their gun. Sometimes there’s a fine. Occasionally, an arrest.

You’d think that since by law no passengers are allowed to bring guns into the secure side of an airport – or onto an airpane – the number of people bringing guns to the airport would be decreasing.

But the yearly tallies just go up.

Any solutions??