The Lone Star State leads the nation in an embarrassing category: the state with the most firearms and weapons confiscated at airport security checkpoints and in checked baggage.
While most of us get popped for a water bottle, pocket knife, or even a bottle opener, some people have apparently forgotten that security has been “increased” since 9/11 and try to board planes with guns and even hand grenades in their carry-ons or checked baggage. The people of Texas lead the nation in bringing weapons to the airport.
In new numbers released from the Transportation Security Administration, the nation’s “Top Ten” for finding weapons in luggage for 2014 reads this way:
- Dallas/Fort Worth 120
- Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Intl. 109
- Phoenix-Sky Harbor 78
- Houston-George Bush 77
- Houston-Hobby 50
- Tampa 49
- Fort Lauderdale 49
- Nashville 48
- Orlando 47
Other Texas airports with weapons being found include the following, according to the TSA:
- Austin-Bergstrom 44
- San Antonio 22
- Midland 6
- Corpus Christi 5
- El Paso 3
- Valley Intl 2
- Lubbock 2
- Harlingen, Laredo, Waco and Wichita Falls 1 each.
For the entire country 2,212 weapons were detected, and that’s up 13% from 2013. For Texas, that’s 359, or 16% of all weapons and prohibited items taken nationwide.
The problem is that people face some serious charges in almost every state, except Texas. Earlier this month, Breitbart Texas’ Lana Shadwick reported on one individual who was arrested after he forgot to remove his Glock 26 pistol. TSA officials discovered the gun during an x-ray screening of his bag. The authorities arrested him and took him to jail in Austin.
In the August 1st article for Breitbart Texas, Shadwick detailed the recently passed Texas law that makes “I forgot” and “I didn’t know it was in there” as giving holders of the state’s Concealed Handgun License (CHL) forgiveness for accidentally bringing a gun through a security checkpoint. Unfortunately, that law does not go into effect until September 1, 2015.
The TSA’s Instagram account posts pictures nearly every day under the category “What were they thinking?” including a sickle found at Hobby Airport in Houston.
Not to be outdone, a passenger at Love Field had this wicked looking knife on when they went through security.
And in San Antonio, an old mortar round was in checked baggage. The TSA doesn’t allow this, even if it has been deactivated.
The TSA blog posts these pictures almost daily from across the country. They also have an Instagram account with more than 320,000 followers.
This week, their post includes:
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 line is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. The passenger can face a penalty as high as $11,000. 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.
At Dulles International outside of Washington, an inert (deactivated) artillery shell caused a two-hour delay for a handful of flights. No word on charges against the traveler who possessed it in his luggage.
The TSA doesn’t have a sense of humor about any of this. In the first week of August alone, 55 firearms were found, 48 were loaded, and 13 had a round chambered. The biggest of the week was at DFW Airport, with a passenger arrest after TSA officers discovered a loaded .40-caliber folding stock rifle with 15 rounds in a carry-on bag at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
That rifle is a Kel-Tec Sub 2000 rifle, retailing for between $350 and $500.
Other categories of forbidden items, either carry-on or in checked luggage, include fireworks, Bear-spray (super pepper spray), hidden knives (in belt buckles, combs, credit cards), cans of propane fuel, stun guns, personal-sized pepper spray and non-declared ammunition (only in checked luggage).
One TSA blogger suggests simply: “If you think it might be outlawed or forbidden, just leave it at home or in the car”.
Milford is a news contributor to Breitbart Texas. You may follow him on Facebook.