What's in your bag? - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

What's in your bag?

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Bizarre and ambiguous items may catch the attention of TSA screeners Bizarre and ambiguous items may catch the attention of TSA screeners
A record number of handguns have been discovered at TSA checkpoints in Mississippi airports. A record number of handguns have been discovered at TSA checkpoints in Mississippi airports.
After looking at the TSA's stash of weapons and prohibited items that passengers have had to surrender this year, some travelers are still not getting the message. After looking at the TSA's stash of weapons and prohibited items that passengers have had to surrender this year, some travelers are still not getting the message.
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

It's November now which means Thanksgiving is right around the corner and the holiday travel season is getting closer. Transportation Security Administration officials in Mississippi will be ready for thousands of fliers and travelers will need to be ready for the TSA.

However, after looking at the TSA's stash of weapons and prohibited items that passengers have had to surrender this year, some travelers are still not getting the message.

Now, property of the United States government, the TSA possesses containers full of knives, switchblades and a variety of devices that the TSA considers bludgeoning instruments.

While the travelers who had to surrender a small utility shovel or a wrench may not have intended any harm, the federal security director for TSA in Mississippi, Steven Corey, said his agents can not afford to interpret the threat.

"Something could be innocuous, but you would have to look at the intent, but we don't do that," Corey said. "We go strictly by that prohibitive item list."

Bizarre and ambiguous items may catch the attention of TSA screeners, but it is the more traditional banned items that has screeners most alarmed. Especially this year, because a record number of handguns have been discovered at TSA checkpoints in Mississippi airports.

"This year alone we've had 23 firearms come through Mississippi airports, which is a record," Corey said. "We haven't seen that number since 2005, here locally."

Most recently a loaded 32-caliber pistol was caught by a TSA agent at Jackson Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport on October 18. In cases like this one, when the weapon is discovered it gets turned over to law enforcement and the passenger could be charged criminally after an investigation.

Gun or knife, when a passenger is caught with a prohibited item Corey said the traveler is always packing a reason or excuse.

"The reason we hear most often when a person brings a firearm through checkpoint is, 'gosh I didn't know it was in my bag', or 'I forgot I had a firearm with me'," Corey said. 

However, some passengers may legitimately be confused by proposed changes to TSA guidelines in 2012 that never took effect. Corey said after push back from the aviation industry items such as, small knives, box cutters, hockey sticks and baseball bats are still not allowed on airplanes.

The agency's 3-1-1 rule on liquids remains in effect: 3 ounces of liquid per bottle in a 1 quart bag, and 1 bag per traveler.

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