Guns, Knives, Other Items People Tried to Fly With in 2015

1-22-16 TSA firearms
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) discovered and intercepted a record 2,653 firearms in carry-on bags at airport security checkpoints across the country in 2015, up 20 percent from 2,212 the previous year. The firearms were found at 236 airports, and nearly 83 percent of them were loaded. Transportation Security Administration

Some travelers like to pack more than a toothbrush and a change of clothes in their carry-on and checked bags, and they kept the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) very busy in 2015.

The agency said Thursday it intercepted a record number of firearms last year, as well as finding a slew of other prohibited and just plain strange items in people's bags. Its annual year in review blog post, also published Thursday, included additional examples and photos of some of the most perplexing finds.

The agency screened more than 1.9 million passengers each day, for a total of roughly 708.3 million screened in 2015 (that's up by 40.7 million from the previous year). It also screened more than 432 million checked bags and upward of 1.6 billion carry-ons.

Within the latter, TSA agents found a record 2,653 firearms, up from 2,212 in 2014. The number of firearms intercepted by the TSA has seen a steep rise in the last decade, with 606 found in 2005 and 1,123 in 2010. Of the firearms found in carry-on bags at TSA checkpoints around the country last year, 82.8 percent were loaded.

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport leads the list, with 153 firearms uncovered there last year, followed by Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (144) and George Bush Intercontinental Airport - Houston (100). Five of the top 10 airports are in Texas.

"The transport of firearms by commercial air in carry-on bags represents a threat to the safety and security of air travelers," TSA Administrator Peter V. Neffenger is quoted as saying in the agency's press release. "Through increased training in detection methods, our officers are becoming more adept at intercepting these prohibited items."

1-22-16 TSA Firearms infographic
The TSA discovered 2,653 firearms at checkpoints around the country in 2015, a record number and up 20 percent from 2,212 the previous year. Transportation Security Administration

In addition to firearms, the agency last year recovered ammunition, black powder (or gunpowder), a live flashbang grenade, sharp objects and inert items that appear real, including several grenades.

1-22-16 TSA ammunition
The TSA has found ammunition in passengers' carry-on bags several times throughout 2015. Pictured are just a few examples. Transportation Security Administration

Passengers sometimes went to great lengths to conceal knives and other items. One traveler at Bishop International Airport put a folding knife into a cardboard package of instant coffee, while another at Omaha Eppley Airfield hid a multi-tool (similar to a Swiss army knife) in a travel-size shaving cream canister that had been emptied.

1-22-16 TSA shave canister
A multi-tool was discovered inside of a hollowed out shaving cream can at Omaha (OMA). Transportation Security Administration

The TSA also found marijuana hidden in a battery at Tulsa International Airport; two handguns, an unassembled rifle and ammunition concealed in amplifiers at Orlando International Airport; a knife wrapped in a computer charger cord at Ketchikan International Airport; and two knives in the hidden compartment of a shoe at Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport.

1-22-15 TSA marijuana battery
A D-size battery with a screw-off top was discovered at Tulsa (TUL), with a small amount of marijuana hidden inside the battery. Transportation Security Administration

Some of the more peculiar finds include a chihuahua in a checked bag at La Guardia Airport, a sickle in a carry-on bag at Newark Liberty International Airport, an inert cannon ball in a checked bag at Blue Grass Airport, a meat slicer in a carry-on bag at Southwest Florida International Airport and a samurai sword attached to a compound bow in a carry-on at Austin–Bergstrom International Airport.

1-22-16 TSA chihuahua
"Ay, Chihuahua! It’s always important to double check your bags before traveling, especially to make sure your Chihuahua hasn’t stowed away inside one of them," the TSA wrote on its blog. "That’s exactly what happened at New York’s LaGuardia (LGA) Airport. While resolving a checked baggage alarm, an officer was shocked when he found a dog in the bag! Apparently, the dog climbed in while its owner was packing her suitcase. TSA worked with the airline to identify the owner, and the two were happily reunited." Transportation Security Administration

The TSA Blog has additional examples of the various items people tried to travel with in 2015.

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