Stick ‘Em Up, Partner
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Oct 01, 2018
The TSA is implementing some
pretty amazing technology in
order to improve explosives
detection. In late August, the
agency unveiled a state-of-theart
advanced technology computed tomography
(CT) checkpoint scanner for screening
passengers and their baggage.
“TSA here at Houston Hobby is honored
to be among the first airports in the country
to test this checkpoint technology,” said
Hector Vela, TSA Houston federal security
manager. “CT significantly improves our
threat detection capabilities, and passengers
in the lane where we are testing CT have the
added benefit of being able to leave their laptops
and larger electronic items in their bags
This sounds like a step in the right direction,
but passengers cannot leave their handguns
in carry-on baggage. It is still illegal
to carry a gun. Maybe that is why the TSA
implemented the technology in Texas in the
Not so fast. In that liberal bastion of
the Northeast, TSA confiscated numerous
handguns. I thought it worth mentioning because
handguns are strictly forbidden on an
airplane. August was a busy month for TSA
agents searching for weapons.
An Ohio man was stopped by TSA officers
at Pittsburgh International Airport
Aug. 17 when they detected a loaded handgun
in the man’s carry-on bag. The man had
a 9mm handgun, with six bullets loaded.
This was only one of 21 guns stopped at the
checkpoint so far this year. In 2017, TSA officers
at the airport caught 32 firearms at the
checkpoint. A typical first offense for carrying
a handgun into a checkpoint is $3,900.
Officers at Baltimore Washington International
Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
stopped a man with a handgun at one of the
airport’s checkpoints Aug. 19, marking the
19th gun caught at the airport so far this
year. Last year TSA officers detected 26 firearms
at the airport’s checkpoints. The man
was carrying his .38 caliber and a magazine
with five bullets in his carry-on bag.
A TSA officer stopped a man from bringing
a loaded handgun onto an airplane at
Washington Dulles International Airport on
Aug. 22. The TSA officer spotted the gun in
the man’s carry-on bag at one of the airport
checkpoints when it appeared on the X-ray
monitor. The .40 caliber handgun was loaded
with 10 bullets. Typically, more than 80
percent of handguns caught at checkpoints
nationwide are loaded.
For my fellow travelers, who crisscross
the country every day, firearms are still forbidden.
It might be a good practice to check
your baggage before you leave the house and
head off to the airport. You are not likely to
hear the TSA agent say, “Stick ‘em up,” but
you will be detained for a while.
This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of Security Today.
Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.