PSA-Flying with Firearm PARTS? Don’t EVEN!

We at TFB realize the substantial work that the Transportation Security Administration does to protect the skies above the United States, on a 24/7 basis. However, the frustrations and tribulations of one being passionate about firearms can cause concerns at the airport. We’ve covered flying with actual firearms very thoroughly in a post about a legal expert explaining the issue, and even confiscated firearms. However, something that has arisen to the attention of TFB is the laws governing parts. I went through an experience back in October, but have always been of the opinion that a magazine, a scope, maybe a stock weren’t items that the TSA cared about. Actual ammunition and firearms are of course something that we need to be aware of when transiting through airports, but mere parts?

When I was returning home from the Red Oktober Kalashnikov competition in Utah at the end of October 2016, I had a 30 round Kalashnikov Magpul Pmag in my possession, something that was given out at the shoot to all the participants. While at the McCarren International Airport in Las Vegas, I was stopped at security X-Ray machine and told to see one of the TSA agents. At first I thought my stuff had turned up positive for a Gunshot Residue test, due to the large amount of shooting I had done. I was then shocked to find out that the fuss was about my Pmag. To be honest, I felt like I had been slapped with some secret regulation that had been waiting to get me all along, and I could have been much more respectful and courteous when the agents asked for my ID, address, and phone number. I took this photograph on my phone of the agent writing all my information down. The Pmag is off to the left, next to the orange scissors, still in the plastic wrapper-

Luckily I had a friend outside security, and I was able to exit, give the magazine to him for his checked baggage, and he was able to mail it to me. If he hadn’t had been there, it would have been confiscated. Later on, I thought nothing of the incident, however I received this letter from TSA in the mail yesterday-

My overall conclusion from this whole episode is very confusing. Because on the one hand, TSA has this rule, but on the other, the organization itself barely even follows it, as evident by all my previous travel with bags packed with firearm parts such as magazines, grips, charging handles, etc… So I supposed what it comes down to is that if the TSA agents at your particular airport feel like enforcing the rule or can even recognize what a “Firearm Part” is. And on that note, what is a “Firearm Part”? Is it grip screws? bipod springs? Scope caps? Will I be getting another letter from TSA because I attempt to take a HOG saddle with me on my carry-on?

I polled other writers and others have had similar experiences specifically with parts-

From one of our writers-

Back in 2010 I flew from Laguardia NY airport to Vancouver Canada. I had 1 stop in Toronto and went thru airport security at both Laguardia and Toronto.

When I got to my mother-in-law’s house in Vancouver, I emptied out my carry on. It was a Triple Aught Design backpack. I don’t remember what possessed me to check the hydration bladder compartment but when I did, I discovered a 10rd 9mm Glock 17 magazine inside. The magazine was empty and yet it made it past TSA X-ray in NY and Canada.

I contacted a friend who works for the TSA at BWI in Baltimore. I told him what happened. He said if I had gotten caught there could have been a wide range of fines and possible jail time.

If the TSA determined it was artful concealment, think of the proverbial drugs inside a wooden statue carry on, then it is a felony.

Also considering I left from NY, Port Authority supersedes TSA in terms of control and they would definitely fine me a couple thousand dollars and probably put me in jail.

From another writer-

I had a bullet in the bottom of my back pack in Salt Lake. TSA was cool… they tossed it in a drawer and said it happens all the time. I showed the guy pics from my hunt and that was it.


Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at


  • Gregory

    I never use a bag that has anything to do with firearms as carry-on luggage. I will not give the TSA any excuse to do anything to me.

    • Rob

      This is likely the best course of action.

    • David Silverstein

      Golf club cases are good for checked luggage. Boring, old golf clubs cases.

  • Major Tom

    And yet they wonder why people continually complain about their incompetent service and ridiculous number of security lapses. An empty PMag is a threat to no one, even a full one requires a working firearm to be anything other than a paperweight.

    • Nicholas C

      I concur. It is a plastic box with a metal spring.

      You know what else fits that description? Pez Dispensers.

      • Independent George

        I think you’ve hit on the solution.

        Adjustable Pez dispenser heads to fit over your mags! Pmags already have those covers to protect the feed lips, right? Now you can make them decorative AND functional.

        • Mystick


      • Major Tom

        Some magazines are metal. You know what else is metal and works with internal springs? A toaster.

        • Nicholas C

          True, but the one in the post was a PMAG.

          • Major Tom

            Do they make toasters that resemble PMags?

            *note to Magpul suggestion box: make PMag shaped toasters*

        • n0truscotsman

          I dont agree with much you say, but you have hit the nail on the head there.

        • MG

          My stapler!

          • Markius Fox

            *news ticker* Swingline sales skyrocketed over the past week…

      • Mystick

        Hey! You could put an eye out with one of those things!

      • Darren Hruska

        You don’t need a Pezazine that holds more than ten mints. Ban! Assault staplerclips are also a no-go.

      • Brandon

        I forgot I had an empty Hexmag in my pack coming back from McCarran (LAS) last year, luckily the TSA guys were super nice about it, enthuisets themselves. Short version is I had the carrier pull my Pelican, shoved the box in and sent it back through. The cool part was they let me use the employee line so I could catch up with the rest of the group.

    • flyingburgers

      The logical issue is that even with “parts”, i.e. no receiver, you can put together something that looks like a gun, and use it to threaten people in a hijacking. There’s been cases where people simply threaten to have a bomb and then they take hostages fly to Cuba, let alone flashing gun parts.

      Sorry, but TSA makes perfect sense in this case.

      • I agree. Use a locking firearm case for you gun stuff, and declare it at check in. The TSA is OK with that.

      • Phil Hsueh

        How does it make sense? What are you afraid of, that some terrorists are going to smuggle a gun onboard a plane, one part at a time and assemble it in the bathroom? I can see it now, one person brings in an unassembled receiver, another person brings in one spring for the trigger assembly, another a screw or two, another the trigger, the mag release button or lever, the spring for the mag release, the hammer/striker, the barrel, and so on. Of course, that would require the better part of a, if not the entire, flight to assemble a gun by smuggling it one or two parts at a time.

        • flyingburgers

          If gun parts are legal, then one person takes the entire gun minus the frame/receiver. Legal. Next guy smuggles in the frame. Now you have a gun. With a modern handgun, you can put them back together with your eyes closed.

          It’s easy to get the receiver in because the TSA will have to pick through and decide what is the serialized part. Compare a Glock vs a SIG P320.

          • int19h

            9/11 is not repeatable with any weapon now that we’ve learned that lesson, and cabin door is locked and staying locked no matter what, even if the attackers actually start to kill hostages.

          • neckbone

            Plus people will fight back now. And any Muslims on a flight are being watched by anyone with a lick of sense on that flight.

          • int19h

            By “Muslims”, you mean non-white people with excessive facial hair, I guess?

          • neckbone

            No, I mean anyone who is of the Islam faith. If you don’t have the situational awareness, you better educate yourself. Follow your instinct. And if you don’t know where I’m coming from, it’s to late for you already.

          • int19h

            Everybody can be a Muslim, man! EVERYBODY! It’s taqiyya all around!

            TRUST NO ONE!

          • iksnilol

            How can you see who’s muslim or christian or atheist? I mean, they all look pretty darn similar (people in general).

          • Marcus D.

            Since when is it difficult to pick out the serialized part? I mean, it does have a serial number on it, after all. and in fact, that is the ONLY part that is defined in the federal law as a “firearm,” afaik. Under what authority does the TSA, as a regulatory agency, get to change the definition?

          • Dan

            Why do you assume they have to follow federal definitions of firearm? I would only see a legit challenge if you were arrested for having a “firearm” when it in fact wasn’t. As far as saying this is allowed and this isn’t it’s their call.

          • Marcus D.

            I asked a question only. The basic principle that I assumed is that an agency, state or federal, cannot enact regulations that exceed the authority delegated to that agency by an enacted statute. For example, the proposed regulations for registration of “assault weapons” in California were rejected by the Office of Administrative Law because the regs exceeded the scope of the newly enacted statutes, and the defects, among other things, redefined terms that are already defined in the California Penal code. this is simply impermissible. Thus, I know that under federal law, a firearm is usually defined as the serialized receiver, not any of the other parts. Thus the question: is there another federal law that redefines “firearm” so as to include all of the various “non firearm” components?

          • flyingburgers

            Which is the firearm? You have 5 seconds (the time a screener has) and no Google. Also you can’t rely on the presence of a serial number on the part because it could have been removed.


          • flyingburgers
          • David Silverstein

            Why do you only have 5 seconds? If a TSA screener comes across any one of these, they could reasonably say they need to evaluate it further before making a decision. Just like they’ll take more than five seconds if your pocket knife is close enough to the limit to justify measuring.

          • Marcus D.

            The top is, the bottom is not, the middle can’t be ascertained because of the angle of the photo. but realistically, a TSA employee is not limited to looking at a photo or x-ray, so would have the opportunity to make the requisite inspection.

          • El Duderino

            Hell there are gun nuts on manufacturer forums who can’t distinguish assembly numbers and such from S/Ns. Do you think a TSA agent has a shot at getting it right every time?

          • law-abiding-citizen

            So are you arguing that a part isn’t considered a firearm until it’s got a serial number?
            What about 80% pistol frames & rifle receivers?

          • Marcus D.

            No I am not. If it is still an 80%, which in the case of an AR means it has no fire control pocket, then it is not a firearm under federal law. If it does, then it is a firearm whether it has a serial number or not. But most people don’t gad about the country with such firearms in their carry on luggage either. Nonetheless, a PMAG, a slide, or a barrel is obviously not a “firearm” within the federal definition, and it shouldn’t be too hard to train people to know the difference. Unless we are forced to deal with the lowest common denominator, i.e., utter stupidity.

        • Dan

          Why is that hard to imagine. Im sure people working in the world trade center would never thought a bunch of crazies with box cutters would smash a jet into their office.

          Don’t bring pieces of guns with you on the plane. You don’t have to like the policy. You also don’t have a right to fly on that airline. For the convenience of the people waiting to get through security stop bringing questionable stuff. Also don’t throw a fit. You won’t change policy in the security check point.
          This isn’t a hard thing to do. It isn’t a violation of you 2A rights yes it is stupid.

          • David Silverstein

            Keep up the bootlicking. They gotta stay shiny. A PMAG is not a gun and anybody that says different is a fool. Box cutters aren’t guns either, but it makes a lot more sense to ask someone to ship their box cutter (with a razor blade in it) than it does to ask someone to ship a PMAG (with no ammo in it and no gun to put it in). The point is, airline travel is supposed to be convenient. The rules of what you can and can’t bring on should make sense. Incidental violations of those rules shouldn’t result in tedious legal problems, they should result in having to ship (or forfeit) the property in question. The writer isn’t a terrorist. He’s just a traveler trying to get his stuff home.

      • Longhaired Redneck

        What if terr’ist #1 brings all the ‘non-gun’ parts? And then what if terr’ist #2 brings along some bastard and rat tail files and a hand drill? And then what if terr’ist #3 carries a chunk of aluminum on board? They take turns in the restroom with the drill and files, assemble all the parts, and “voila”! Instant assault rifle/machine gun. What if, indeed?

        • flyingburgers

          Already ahead of you. Can’t bring sharp cutting tools on an airplane.

          • Longhaired Redneck

            All sarcasm, albeit subtle. My overarching point is the progressive reduction of what constitutes a gun or any other weapon. The law can progressively proclaim that: a pistol is a gun: the serialized receiver is a gun: the cylinder or the slide (apologies to Bill Laughridge) is a gun: the firing pin is a gun: the screws securing the stocks are guns, and so on. You get the picture. It would appear that without logical and firm resistance, the day will come when one must pass a background check simply to purchase aluminum or steel, rod, flat bar, billet, fasteners and the like…

          • flyingburgers

            I understand that, but this is a special case: what you can bring on an airplane. Things that are restricted on an airplane: CR123 and other lithium batteries, booze over 140 proof, car batteries, oxygen tanks, spray paint, iron skillets, large quantities of polystyrene beads… Nobody complains about the constitutional rights implications of banning polystyrene beads on an airplane.

          • Longhaired Redneck

            You are preaching to the choir here, l agree with you. All l am trying to point out is that the way things are ‘progressing’, one day in the future, those still willing to fly commercially will be marched on to airplanes naked, cuffed (with non-metallic cuffs), and blindfolded. No carry on, no check baggage, no peanuts. People ultimately can’t be trusted, or so the security czars would have one believe.

          • int19h

            Most of what’s restricted on an airplane is similarly bullshit security theater. We could probably throw away 2/3 of that list, and be just as safe.

          • Marcus D.

            Every person who gets on a plane with a cell phone or a lap top has a lithium battery.

  • Landru

    What is a danger weapon?

    Is it a danger to itself?

    • ontheleftcoast

      The TSA contractors who write its documentation are native Engrish speakers.

      • Mystick

        I was a private security supervisor when the TSA was formed, and after 9/11 prior to TSA, we received commercial contracts for the jobs the TSA currently perform. And commercial security is where the people that give security guards a bad name reside – and, for the most part, the stereotypes aren’t that inaccurate, unfortunately. My job there was not easy – lots of turnover and on-call filling in holes on the posts roster. I used to joke to my boss that he must go down to the bad part of town next to the Light Rail and hold up a sign in many different languages: “Don’t speak English? Don’t like leaving the couch? Like to steal things? WE HAVE A JOB FOR YOU!”. It was that bad.

        After a few months, the newly-formed DHS offered our contract guards the opportunity to join the nascent TSA. I attended one of the “pitch” meetings. Most of the guards said yes since the pay was far more than what we offered, with better benefits. I was offered a supervisory position, but declined because I was pretty much fed up with the job after working 80-hour weeks demanded by the insane security atmosphere of the time, never knowing when or if I would get to sleep on any given day… for months! The public sector side of the coin was no less demanding at the supervisory level.

        So, I can say, with personal experience, that the bulk of the TSA is comprised of the kind of people that give commercial security a bad name, and the hijinks and misadventures I read about in the news are completely plausible, if not inevitable, in my view. I’m honestly surprised it’s not worse.

        • Jim_Macklin

          Too often TSA means Too Stupid for Arby’s
          Rules with criminal penalties enforced by bureaucrats who allow people with strong finger nails to fly without handcuffs and boxing gloves and sedation.

        • Marcus D.

          I’ve met a couple. One was at O’Hare. I had a waiter’s corkscrew that had a 1/2″ blade for cutting off the lead or plastic over the cork. I was informed that this was a knife and a prohibited item. I’m like, what? It’s not even sharp. So I just broke off the “knife” (it was pot metal after all) and was on my way.
          Another time I was at the Baltimore airport. since my wife is disabled and in a wheel chair, I had to run around taking care of all the bags. As was typical, it was humid as all get out, and I was sweating like a pig. So I bought a bottle of cold water just before going into security. Nope, no can do, says the agent, who had taken my clear plastic bottle of water. I said, cool, give it back and I’ll drink it right here. Nope, no can do that either, it might have poison in it or something and the TSA would be liable if I got sick or died, says she. You are kidding me, right? Just stupid.

          I am so glad that I rarely travel by air anymore.

        • George Peter Anaipakos

          I was a “plank holder” when DHS was formed and when TSA was created I had bad feelings about the whole experiment. The desire was to Federalize the screening process so that there would be nationwide standards and professionalism. First they did away with the prior system of screeners (the old “square badges”) and then put out an announcement for the “New Breed” of Federal Screener. Unfortunately the way the announcement was written credit was (logically) given to people who had experience as airport screeners. And therein, as they say, lies the rub – The people given credit for past experience were the same ones they had been trying to replace in the first place! So what happens? We get the same square badge mentality, only now they are Federal agents with GREATER salary and MORE benefits than they had before! What a country.

          TSA = Thousands Standing Around

  • Brett baker

    Glad I don’t need to fly!

  • whit3

    I worked with a fella who had to fly quite often for business. We were going through security at Dulles when TSA stopped him. They kept asking him “do you want to tell us something?” to which he was rather confused. It turned out that he had a cigarette lighter in the lining of his jacket. The pocket of his jacket had a hole in it and the lighter had worked its way into the lining. TSA finally got the lighter back out through the hole in the pocket and we were on our way.

    But, my coworker told me that he had quit smoking months before, and that jacket with the lighter in the lining had gone through security at 5-6 airports until then.

    When the TSA said they were going to start examining your books and papers, I said enough. I don’t have to fly for work, and will no longer fly for any reason.

    • The TSA doesn’t have time to examine books and papers.

      You are probably confusing them with the Customs Service, who does have the right to do so but rarely does.

      • Nicholas C

        TSA Pre check is worth getting to avoid the hassle. Especially if you fly frequently for work. My wife has it for her work.

        • I have Global Entry which is mo better.

          It is only like $20 more, but you not only get Precheck, but you have special lines in customs that dramatically reduces the time it takes to clear customs. One trip and it is worth it. As the last time I went though customs the lines were 1-2 hours for passport control and another 1-2 hours for baggage control. While the Global Entry like was like 10 minutes for passport, and zero wait for baggage control.

          • Nicholas C

            Yeah thats great if one flies Intl a lot.

          • I think it was worth it even if I only took the one trip. For $20 I saved a couple of hours of waiting in line.

          • George Peter Anaipakos

            I agree, Global Entry and the Trusted Traveler Program are the only way to fly from Point A to Point B. That being said I always dread flying because of the hassle at the airports as well as the rudeness of the stewardesses who are there only to serve First Class passengers (the High Rollers) and the rubes in the cattle car can go to hell.

          • I don’t dread flying, sometimes you have to go with the flow. But outside the TSA I don’t have too many problems. It helps to be obnoxiously polite and willing to be flexible on things that don’t matter too much, but politely firm when it does.

      • Mystick

        The 4th Amendment disagrees.

        • Except it doesn’t apply. The border search exception is a well documented as being reasonable. As every country has the duty to ensure the safety of their citizens by controlling the border.

    • Phillip Cooper

      This sort of BS is the biggest reason I have turned down several lucrative job offers. I don’t want to deal with the Baggage Burglars and so on. I have exhausted my patience with stupid people and will end up in jail for some imagined offense when I tell them what I think of them.

    • Mystick

      “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

      • David Silverstein

        In fairness, your purchase and usage of airline tickets serves as consent. As much as I hate the sound of bootlicking phrases like this, “if you don’t want to be searched, don’t fly.”

  • SP mclaughlin

    I left a 28 gauge shell in a jacket and it got through TSA….
    Didn’t try and take it back on the return trip though.

    • iksnilol

      Not even TSA considers a 28 gauge to be a threat.

      Shame on you.

  • Luke

    Flew from Pitt to LV with a stripped upper and MRO no sweat. LV gave me this same treatment when I tried to fly back. Must be LV. The pregnant TSA agent that made the discovery was unpleasant to say the least.

    Got documents a month after suggesting that I now am on their radar. Great.

  • FlaBoy

    I got pulled aside for a dangerous item in my carry on bag. I was also asked “..if I wanted to tell them about something?”. I had no clue what they were talking about. Turned out my dangerous item was a cheap corkscrew I had purchased on a previous trip to open a bottle of wine in my hotel room. Like others, I had been through airport inspections several times with it with no problem. After lecturing me and confiscating the “dangerous item”, I was allowed to go on my way.
    Would love to see the headlines, “Old retired guy tries to hijack plane with corkscrew…”.
    It’s all just “security theater”. Of course, we are all paying for it.

    • Larry Thomas

      Only box wine is TSA approved for serving on flights.

      • iksnilol

        It’s sorta fitting. I don’t see why you’d splurge on the good wine then take a flight somewhere.

        Oh no, sir, you take the most depressing drink before a depressing flight. It’s only fitting.

    • Giolli Joker

      Then you can buy a bottle of liquor in a duty free and fly with hit.
      Nobody has ever been injured by a broken bottle…

      • Major Tom

        A 40 of cheap liquor is a pretty heavy and good blunt weapon when full.

    • Evan

      When I was on my way to Iraq, in uniform, our flight stopped in Baltimore, where the TSA tried to confiscate a carbon pick from my rifle cleaning equipment. After I explained to this clown that I had an M16 under my seat, and so did everyone else on my flight (except the guys with machine guns), and a 7” bayonet as well, and that all those other guys wearing the same outfit as me were doing so for a reason, I was finally allowed to keep my gear. They did take my cigarette lighter though, I imagine out of spite.

  • Raptor Fred
    • Anonymoose

      But I see the greatest implement of battle ever devised sitting there!

  • Phillip Cooper

    TSA “Agents” are the dregs of a bad system. I know some of them locally and they are just NOT what you’d call bright.

  • Holdfast_II

    Was training our new puppy at the time, and was using a lemon mist sprayer that looks EXACTLY like a can of mace, except for the label. Made it through multiple x-ray scans of my carry-on backpack.

  • RocketScientist

    “We at TFB realize the substantial work that the Transportation Security Administration does to protect the skies above the United States, on a 24/7 basis.”

    HAHAHAHHA. Thanks, TFB. I was having a real pisser of a morning so far, then I came across this and put a big ole’ smile on my face. Needed a laugh.

    • neckbone

      Right and when they run tests to see how many guns/explosives they can catch, they fail around 95% of the time. Big gov. keeping us safe.

      • Evan

        They did attempt to confiscate rifle cleaning gear (namely a carbon pick) from me at the Baltimore airport once…when I was flying to Iraq on a plane full of Marines, with our weapons under the seats, and while I was in uniform.

  • Slab Rankle

    I have to be blunt here, but only a real moron would try to fly with firearm parts or accessories, firearms, ammunition, shell casings, etc… in his carry on baggage.

    What the bleep is wrong with you?

    For his next trick, openly carrying an AK47 into the courthouse!

    What could possibly go wrong?

    • pvw2

      What the bleep is wrong with you slob wrinkle? Never made an honest mistake? Didn’t know a loose bullet was at the bottom of your bag? Must be nice Mr. Perfect.

      • Nicholas C

        Exactly. People make honest mistakes. We are not infallible. We try our best. Plus this isnt something as heinous as a negligent discharge.

    • Lyman Hall

      You know, when I call someone a moron in a forum, I check my post for spelling and grammar, first. Just an idea.

  • USMC03Vet

    Those standard capacity clip-a-zines with their baby killing spring and polyer cased mass murdering bodies. I’m surprised you weren’t reported to The Hague and tried on the spot for crimes against humanity. How dare you, Sir.

  • Flight Er Doc

    I am saddened that the Government of the United States has employees that write such ungrammatical and illogical drivel.

    Honest to G-D, are they really all that illiterate?

    • Mystick

      Not surprised, though.

    • int19h

      What do you expect the workforce to be like when it’s formed, among other things, by advertising the job on pizza boxes?

    • Blake

      Almost all TSA employees work for private contractors.

      • iksnilol



  • Slim934

    “We at TFB realize the substantial work that the Transportation Security Administration does to protect the skies above the United States, on a 24/7 basis.”

    Gag me with a spoon. 99% of TSA activity is theater to make themselves look needed. It’s little more than a make-work program and a long-term scheme of psychological conditioning of the population (to make us more pliable to state authority).

    If Trump actually wanted to drain the swamp he would burn that agency to the ground.

  • Walter E. Kurtz

    More moronic behavior on the part of TSA. It was foolish to even create the agency. It should be abolished ASAP. Other ways of deterring real terrorists exist…and they don’t have to involve inconveniencing the entire traveling public. The horror….the horror….

    • neckbone

      I’d like to hear just one person that is happy with the tsa for once.

  • Travis

    Exactly why I refuse to fly today. Leave your rights at the airport door.

  • 22winmag

    Ammo is limited to 11lbs by law, but I talked to Southwest and they said my entire 110lbs worth of free checked bags could be guns.

  • John

    I had the same thing happen a couple years ago coming home from SHOT show with a Geissele trigger. I had to catch a later flight, because after getting through the substantial line (took about 45 min) I had to go back to the ticket counter, get a box, mail it to myself, and then go through the security checkpoint again.

    It sucked. But it says in their material that you can’t have triggers or trigger materials.

    I think it’s stupid. It’s a curved piece of metal with a spring. No big deal.

    But they did say it in their fine print.

    It sucked, but I sucked it up and don’t take triggers in my carryon any more. I always check it.

    • Blake

      at least there was specific policy documentation they could point to…

  • AUGunsmith

    “We at TFB realize the substantial work that the Transportation Security Administration does to protect the skies above the United States, on a 24/7 basis.”

    Some idiot fell for security theater.

    • David Silverstein

      No. They just know when to attack and when to patronize. You can just feel the contempt dripping from that sentence. But the author knows that it won’t do him any good at all to be on the TSA’s bad side.

  • Sulaco

    Once had to get the supervisor at a check point to clear me because the guard said I had a dangerous item in my stuff and he would not allow it on the plane…the item he did not like was the five pointed star, my deputy sheriff’s badge in my wallet. Last time I flew they took nearly ten minutes to decide I could get my backpack back and go because they couldn’t figure out if an item in the backpack was dangerous…the item was my Rolex watch. We are in the very best of hands.

  • Lyman Hall

    A co-worker had a bullet in his bag at DEN. TSA had a fit and called Denver PD over. Denver PD asked him what kind of powder he uses in his reloads.

  • Swarf

    Don’t defend the TSA, Miles. They are terrible.

    As evidenced by… everything about them.

  • asaguest

    In the early 1970s I had a big personal problem with a fellow who worked for a federal intel agency. Shortly afterwards I was pulled out of line in a Colorado airfield and told I was now on a “profile list”. From then on every single time I flew up until around 2004 I was pulled aside, searched, interviewed, my baggage examined and generally hassled. I am not exaggerating. Domestic, short hop, international; all flights. I am long since through being angry about it. Interestingly after getting on a plane without issue for the first time in decades around 2006 I dropped my keys in the seat cushion and after fishing them out realized that the custom silver keychain fob I had been carrying since the early ’90s contained a secret folding knife I had completely forgotten about.

    • int19h

      Ah, the wonders of opaque, non-reviewable, “we don’t know what you’re talking about” blacklists.

  • Toddrick VonChattingham

    Several years ago I was stopped because I forgot to declare a gun in my check bag, (which met TSA guidelines.).

    They stop me, ask a bunch of stupid questions, then told me to have a nice day. Everything was cool, until about 4 months later when I received a letter from the TSA.

    They were fining me $500.00 for failing to declare a firearm.

    There were 3 options on the back:

    A.) Get hosed and pay up.

    B.) Challenge them.

    C.) Challenge them in court.

    I chose B. I challenged them and basically said, “Prove it.” Which they could not, and subsequently dropped the case.

    Long story short: challenge them.

  • Daniel

    I had an upper in a checked bag. Overzealous TSA agent called the Houston PD. Reportedly told them I was “traveling with M16 machine gun parts”. I got called from my gate. 8-10 officers responded. I was never cuffed but was sat down against a wall with a couple uniformed officers as well as a handful of plain clothes men. I told them I’ll offer no info beyond what is on my DL. 15 minutes later all but 1 officer left. Took a statement from TSA agent and myself. HPD had it cleared up pretty quickly.
    They hinted at knowing I routinely (almost monthly) fly with firearms and referred to previous flights. I fly a couple times a month for work. I missed my flight obviously. Told the gate agent I’ll take my parts home and they put me on a flight the next day. First class seat. HPD handed me my stuff and I was on my way.
    No joke- my zippers were torn off my checked bag when I arrived the next day. Seriously. Both zippers. Gone. Bag was trash at that point. Fast forward 30 days or so- I got one of those letters also. Still have it in my safe. I was given a $500 fine for the “incident” as they referred to it. Was also stated that if I disagree I could go before a judge, in Virginia (I live in TX and work in CA), and plead my case. Not an option as I could not jeopardize my travel for work. I wrote a check and never heard a peep about it again.

  • Avid Fan

    I think they’re still waffling on the whole “finger gun” issue. And beware wearing a jacket/shirt/hoodie with pockets deep enough to stick said finger gun into and wave it threateningly. Anyone caught thinking the word “bomb” will have their brains scrambled.
    In an environment where no one has a weapon, everything is a weapon. Allow the stewardess to lock up CC weapons in overhead bins with luggage. Airport should notify those flying into CC unfriendly cities.
    And in a “sterile” weapon free environment where do you draw the line at what is confiscated. A metal pen, a metal watch, glasses, paper clips, magazines, keys etc etc etc. Silly security is silly.

  • why blur your info when you leave the case number.? #fail

  • mazkact

    It is getting harder to fly with a firearm. Recently my Wife and I flew to visit family and as usual I had a handgun in my checked baggage. There was only one full service check in person available at one of the largest airports in the country on a Saturday morning. I was in line for three hours. Southwest is pushing Kiosk check in and you cannot do that if you have a firearm in checked baggage. Still it is worth the hassle. Many airports are in “seedy” parts of town and leaving out in a rental car I feel much better when armed.

  • Blake

    “So I supposed what it comes down to is that if the TSA agents at your particular airport feel like enforcing the rule or can even recognize what a “Firearm Part” is. And on that note, what is a “Firearm Part”? Is it grip screws? bipod springs? Scope caps?”

    & know you know what new mothers, people with disabilities, & gazillions of other people go through daily with this incompetent administration.

    Read up on this poor guy’s plight, who travels regularly for conferences:

    “I have a neurological disorder that causes episodic muteness and muscle spasms. I always require medical liquids (namely, juice) at hand, and sometimes I require paper to communicate (with people who don’t know American Sign Language).”

    “Right now, the TSA’s “recommended but not required” stance encourages agents to violate travelers’ rights by forcing them to disclose their disability and encouraging someone with no medical training decide whether something is “medically necessary” or not.”

  • Nashvone

    I’m the Operations Manager at work and I have to deal with all things OSHA. The first thing I was told at a training seminar was that the only way to be 100% compliant would be to clean out the building and go out of business because there are laws on the books that contradict each other. I’m sure the TSA has many similar situations where the word of law is only understandable in the court room and not by the agent in the field. If the agents really understood the entire code, they could find a reason to no let anyone fly.

  • Blake

    TSA’s own FAQ ( ) is characteristically unclear on this:

    “Rifle Scope (Scope Only)
    Carry On Bags: Yes
    Checked Bags: Yes”

    “Shell Casings
    Carry On Bags: Yes (Special Instructions)
    Checked Bags: Yes

    Empty shell casings are allowed in carry-on bag as long as the projectile is no longer intact. They are allowed only if the primer has been removed or has been discharged. If the projectile is attached & the powder has been drilled out, it is considered a replica and not allowed in carry-on.”


    “Firearm parts, including magazines, clips, bolts and firing pins, are prohibited in carry-on, but may be transported in checked bags. Check with your airline to see if they allow firearms in checked bags. Read the guidelines for traveling with firearms.”

    How the heck is a TSA agent supposed to distinguish what a firing pin is?

    & do slings, bipods, etc fall under the “scope” or “parts” category? How about an AFG?

    & does a Tac-Sac qualify as a firearm part, a sex toy, or both?

    • FarmerB

      So I presume if you pick up an aftermarket trigger, that should go in your checked luggage – but do you have to declare it as a “firearm”?

  • scaatylobo

    Having seen their work,all I can say is I am THRILLED that I do not fly.
    I have been easily able to avoid flying for over 25 years,and will be thrilled if it never requires me to violate that rule.
    Trusting my life to the total morons that are “making us safe” is a very poor idea.

  • iksnilol

    If I ever travel to the US. It’s definitely gonna be by boat. Or via car (I’ve always wanted to drive through the north pole).

  • FarmerB

    Hmm. I fly around the US a lot and that could have been me. Wasn’t aware of it.

  • George Peter Anaipakos

    As a Federal LEO I was traveling armed in civilian clothes and, following procedures in place at the time, I identified myself at the ticket counter and had the documentation (ie: Will sit in assigned seat, will not consume alcohol, blah blah blah) and went to the security area where I waited for the local police officer to confirm my status (badge check) and sign me into his log. I had been through this procedure many times and no big deal (I thought). The TSA screeners were aware of who I was and why I was waiting for the LEO to confirm my identity. When one of the screeners asked to look in my carry on I allowed it thinking that we are all on the same team here and I didn’t want to seem like I was trying to act like a big shot (I’m definitely not!). That was a big mistake, since the screener found a pair of scissors in my shaving kit that I had originally used to cut my kids finger nails when they were very young, the type that have the rounded tips so the kids can’t be cut. The screener said I could not take the scissors on the plane because they were “forbidden” by statute (?) I told him that I was a Federal agent with a gun and a knife and was he joking? The Police Officer had shown up by then, but could not get the TSA screeners to return my scissors! I boarded the flight without my property, but the passengers and crew were MUCH safer.

  • El Duderino

    That’s a 30 bullet caliber clipazine that can kill 600 children in less than five seconds. It has no business on an aircraft or anywhere on Earth for that matter!

  • Spencerhut

    My wife almost got arrested for an AR barrel in her carry-on once. Not a single other part, just a bare barrel. The TSA made quite the fuss over it, acted like she was a terrorist trying to bring down a 747 full of baby kittens or something.

    It all turned out fine, but it really freaked her out.

  • Henrik Bergdahl

    Say after me: “The illusion of safety requires security theater”.

  • Ger San

    Parts is parts.
    TSA has prohibited gun parts from the beginning. Anything that gets through does so because the x-ray operator doesn’t recognize it. Good, bad, or otherwise, this ain’t nothing new.

  • HubbaBubbaD

    From the TSA website firearms page:
    When traveling, comply with the laws concerning possession of firearms as they vary by local, state and international governments.
    If you are traveling internationally with a firearm in checked baggage, please check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for information and requirements prior to travel.
    Declare each firearm each time you present it for transport as checked baggage. Ask your airline about limitations or fees that may apply.
    Firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and transported as checked baggage only. Only the passenger should retain the key or combination to the lock.
    Firearm parts, including magazines, clips, bolts and firing pins, are prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage.
    Replica firearms, including firearm replicas that are toys, may be transported in checked baggage only.
    Rifle scopes are permitted in carry-on and checked baggage.

  • Markius Fox

    Two words: Security Theatre. That is what the TSA really is.

    Now, repeat after me, subjects: YOU ARE FREE.