Air travel is hard. What with those pesky checked bag fees and all the tedious rules about how to pack liquids in carry-on bags, it’s easy to make a mistake and get stopped by airport security. Maybe you forgot your Swiss Army knife was still in your purse, or you accidentally left your corkscrew in your backpack—it happens to the best of us. All we can do is apologize profusely, allow the TSA agents to confiscate our contraband items, and move on with our travels.
Sometimes, however, people leave for the airport in such a hurry, they apparently forget to check their bags for things like, oh, loaded guns or throwing stars. Last year was a banner year for such forgetfulness.
According to the Transportation Security Administration’s annual Year in Review post, a total of 2,212 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags in 2014—a record breaking figure and a 22 percent increase from last year’s total of 1,813. A breakdown of all the firearm confiscations on FiveThirtyEight puts the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in the lead with 106 loaded and 14 unloaded guns confiscated last year. Two other Texas airports, Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby, make the top ten as well.
So Texans might have a small problem when it comes to bringing loaded guns through airport security. But a look through the TSA’s blog shows that Texans tried to bring a lot of contraband items through airport security in 2014. Here are some of the greatest hits:
- Five replica 40mm inert grenades were discovered in a checked bag at DFW in January.
- Someone tried to sneak a knife through security at IAH by sewing it into the lining of a purse in February.
- A multi-tool knife was found hidden in a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine at the San Antonio airport in March.
- Some throwing stars were accidentally left in a carry-on bag in June at IAH.
- Cute, but still illegal: some cat-shaped brass knuckles were confiscated at Dallas-Love Field in August.
- In what must have been a feat of engineering, both a compound bow and samurai sword were found in a carry-on bag at Austin-Bergstrom in August.
The TSA blog is a good place to learn about all the weapons you didn’t even know existed, much less could be stuffed into a carry-on or suitcase and brought to the airport. But all jokes aside, the TSA would like to remind us that these confiscations are not only costly to the people who fail to clear their bags of lethal weapons before traveling, but also pose a danger to other travelers and can cause serious delays in security lines.
It’s also interesting to note that some of these confiscated items can be bought back. The Texas State Surplus Property storefront in Austin has dozens of Swiss Army knives and other various goodies for sale, most of which once belonged to hapless travelers trying to make it through security at one of the state’s many airports.