The agency has taken to social media to showcase the dangerous, hilarious, and often weird, things confiscated from travelers.
Between the long lines and removing everything from your bag, the TSA isn’t exactly the most popular group at the airport. But the agency is making an effort to show the public the ways airport security pays off and saves lives.
Luckily for us, they’ve decided to share the odd and unusual finds in an entertaining way. The official TSA Instagram account has over 200,000 followers and documents the surprising finds, while the TSA Blog isn’t shy about showing us the other side of national security.
Weapons are some of the most frequently confiscated items at airports. 2,212 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags in 2014, 1,835 (83%) of which were loaded. According to the TSA’s “Year In Review” for 2014, that’s a 22% increase in firearm discoveries over the 1,813 discovered in 2013. Some of these guns belong to passengers with concealed carry permits who forgot to leave their weapon at home before heading to the airport:
A 94-year-old man attempted to enter the checkpoint at LaGuardia Airport (LGA) with a loaded .38 caliber revolver clipped to his belt.
Thousands of knives are discovered in carry-on bags every year, some of which are deliberately concealed. Other choice items include an intert Claymore land mine (yes, a land mine), homemade explosives, novelty weapons, and cane swords.
Click through the slideshow to see the wild items that caught the TSA’s eye.
1. Medieval Flail
This replica weapon was discovered in a carry-on bag at the Chicago Midway Intl. Airport in September of 2013. Replica weapons are actually allowed in checked bags so your Viking Halloween costume lives to see another day.
Spearguns, even those wrapped in packing tape, are not allowed in the cabin of a plane. This one was discovered in a carry-on bag at Newark Liberty International Airport in March 2014.
3. 6-Blade Throwing Knife
Found in a carry-on bag in May 2014 at Las Vegas Intl. Airport. Even ninjas have to go through airport security.
4. Live Mk 2 Hand Grenade
Found in a carry-on bag in May 2014 at Los Angeles Intl. Airport. According to the TSA, “The checkpoint was closed while an Explosive Ordnance Team transported the grenade to an offsite location to disrupt it. The individual was arrested and is facing felony charges in Los Angeles County.”
5. Bullet and Gun Knife
Found in a carry-on bag at the Yuma Intl. Airport in July 2014. Knives, even knives shaped like guns, are allowed in checked bags, but not carry-ons.
6. Knife Mounted to a Walker
This knife was discovered mounted to a passenger’s walker at the Newark Intl. Airport in May of 2012. Grandma doesn’t mess around, but even she has to pack her knives in a checked bag.
7. Ammunition Smuggling
In July of 2009, officers discovered 200 rounds of .25 caliber ammunition in four hollowed-out bibles. This is one of those pictures that needs no comment.
8. Cannon Barrel
This antique cannon barrel was discovered in a passenger’s checked baggage at the Kahului Airport in October 2014. According to TSA officials, plenty of cannon balls have been found in bags over the years, but this is the first cannon barrel they’ve ever seen.
9. Anti-Tank Weapon
This (thankfully) expended 84-mm anti-tank weapon (AT4) was found in 2012 at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport. Heavy artillery weapons (live or expended) are not allowed on airplanes in any capacity.
10. Concealed Weapons
This disassembled firearm and ammunition was discovered in three stuffed animals in May of 2012 at the TF Green Airport. The .40 caliber frame was discovered in one animal, the firing pin and two .40 caliber rounds in another, and the slide in a third.