Check-In at Dodge City

Check-In at Dodge City

The next time you’re aggravated, beltless and in your socks in the airport security line, you might consider the latest tally of loaded weapons confiscated from carry-on luggage around the nation.
Bob Burns, the information blogger for the Transportation Security Administration, reports that 21 loaded pistols were detected and seized last week. More than 800 weapons were taken from passengers so far this year. He also reports the offenders’ usual apology: “I forgot it was in my bag.”

Travelers might wonder if all the rules and procedures of the security line are really necessary. But as Mr. Burns wrote last month, “Sometimes the airport is similar to a gun and knife show.”
He catalogued some exceptionally “good catches” beyond guns, including a knife hidden in a lipstick case and another secreted in a passenger’s shoe sole. Beyond those, there is a growing arsenal of unloaded guns, extra ammunition, stun guns, mace, throwing stars, butterfly knives and more, including a sword cane worthy of first-class gold and platinum travelers. Security officers have found inert grenades serving as cigarette lighters, which can look dangerous.

Local laws at the nation’s more than 450 airports determine whether the police become involved after the weapon is discovered.
A man arrested in Orlando in September after three loaded pistols showed up in his carry-on might have been treated more leniently at other airports. Federal regulations only allow travelers to pack weapons in checked luggage after notifying the airline.
Mr. Burns, who says he is a sensible gun owner, always remains calm — whether the news is about government undercover testers smuggling weapons past security workers or the traveler declaring to alarmed screeners: “You better check me close. I’m about to blow.”


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