Travel reminder: NO grenades, throwing stars, or stun canes(?)

Okay, breathe. Congress has officially left town. Your long-awaited August vaca to ABDC (anywhere but D.C.) may commence as planned.

As you pack your bags, here’s a quick Loop service reminder of some of the items the Transportation Security Administration does not allow in your carry-on bag. Some travelers, it seems, would benefit from a reminder.

“There are so many strange things, you can’t make them up,” said Lisa Farbstein, a TSA spokeswoman. “Some of these Tasers are designed to look like cellphones. I’ve seen a hatchet. A handsaw.”

Need a visual? TSA helpfully keeps a weekly blog tally of the items its agents finds in passenger’s bags around the country. The Loop has compiled a few notables:

1. Loaded firearms. (You can’t bring shampoo, did you really think you could bring a gun?)

Last week, the TSA found 50 firearms, 44 were loaded and 13 had rounds in the chamber. Most people say they forgot they had it on them, Farbstein said. But “if you own one, you need to know where it is at all times,” she said. Yes, that makes sense.


Loaded firearm discovered in carry-on bag at San Antonio. (Courtesy: TSA)

2. Any kind of throwing weapon meant for ninjas

At airports around the country last week, TSA found 16 knuckle knives at Dulles International, throwing knives at San Jose and Long Beach airports and a throwing star at Las Vegas.


Knuckle knives, Throwing Knives, Throwing Star. (Courtesy: TSA)

3. Marijuana, in any quantity (it’s not fully legal, yet, folks), but especially not so much that it weighs as much as a large child.

TSA isn’t even looking for drugs, but as the TSA said in its own words, “While we are looking primarily for explosive devices, it’s difficult not to see 80 pounds of it.”


Eighty pounds of marijuana in checked bag at the McClellan – Palomar (CRQ) airport in California. (Courtesy: TSA)

4. Stun gun canes. Sorry Grandma.

Earlier in the month, TSA found a stun gun cane at the Tampa airport. They are, as the name suggests, a walking cane that doubles as a stun gun for self defense. Some even come with flashlights! As the ad says, “They’ll think it’s just a cane, until it’s too late.”


Stun cane at Tampa. (Courtesy: TSA)

5. Hand grenades. Or anything that looks like a hand grenade.

This month, TSA found a grenade-shaped vaping device at Salt Lake City airport. You can bring vaping devices, or e-cigerattes on airplanes with you, TSA says, “unless they look like a grenade.”


Grenade-shaped vaping device. (Courtesy: TSA)

Still confused? Farbstein says there’s an app for that. Just download “My TSA” and go to the “Can I Bring?” icon.

We gave it a go.

As it turns out “bomb” is “not permitted” on the airplane. The app even gave us the benefit of the doubt, asking: “You didn’t really want to know if you could bring a bomb on a plane, did you?”

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.
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Colby Itkowitz | August 1