TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — COVID-19 put a damper on air travel but did little to change the way some travelers try to slip dangerous items past TSA security. TSA says since COVID a greater percentage of passengers has been stashing weapons in their carry-ons.
If you’re about to fly, do you really need to be told you should not bring an ax on a plane? Some people do. TSA found an ax in a carry-on in Phoenix.
Patricia Mancha of TSA says, “Earlier this year, there was a cane that had a sword in the handle. If you remove the handle, there's a sword in there. We also saw a very gnarly looking brass knuckle that had a lever and you released it and it was like two additional blades that came into the brass knuckle, and it looked like it could really do some damage on someone.”
Inspectors at several airports have confiscated versions of an example of good grooming and bad judgment---combs with a knife hidden inside.
And of course, inspectors find guns. At Tucson’s airport there was a mini trend towards finding pink guns.
From the red-handed traveler the usual response is “oops."
Patricia Mancha says, “The most often heard excuse that we hear is I didn't know it was in my bag, or this is not my bag it's my spouse's bag, and I didn't realize it was there so that is really the most consistent excuse we hear I didn't know it was in my bag something so heavy, something so hard to miss.”
Gun seizures per passenger went down the year before the pandemic. But in the weird world of 2020, the percentage of gun seizures went up as passenger counts went down.
“So we had based on the number of passengers the most guns that we have ever seen at TSA checkpoints.”
TSA says its detection gear is better than ever, so just put weapons in your checked bag where they’re locked away for the length of the flight.