Tougher rules about what can be carried on a plane went into effect eight years ago, but security screeners in North Texas are still confiscating weapons such as knives and brass knuckles every single week.
A table full of knives, brass knuckles, martial arts weapons and hollowed-out grenades looked like a prop table on the set of a martial arts film. It drew a surprised looks from passengers as they walked through the lobby at Dallas Love Field.
"I'm sure somebody thinks they can get by with it, and that's the scary part," said traveler Joe Eastman as he surveyed a stun gun, police baton and a series of long-bladed knives.
Transportation Security Administration screeners found most of the items on the table in only a matter of weeks.
Screeners confiscated knives that filled one bin 3 inches deep in two weeks at Love Field, the smaller of the two major airports in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The agency agreed to hold the weapons it collected over a period of weeks to provide an idea of the kinds of things screeners encounter every day.
The TSA said it is finding more weapons this summer as passengers carry more bags onto planes to avoid checked baggage fees. Many of them are carried into security checkpoints by people who simply forget the prohibited items are in their bags.
Even toy guns can be a problem. They look like the real thing on an X-ray, sometimes forcing screeners to shut down the line.
"If they're running late and they're behind someone who has this in their bags, they could very well miss their flight," said Amy Williams, Love Field's federal security director.
In just one week in May, the screeners supervised by Williams found three real guns in carry-on bags at Love Field. Last year, they found 16 more.
At Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, screeners confiscated 17 guns in checked bags in 2009. Even if a passenger simply forgets her or she has a gun in a bag, carrying a gun into an airport checkpoint can mean a trip to jail, because guns are prohibited in airports -- even for people who have a concealed carry permit.
The TSA advises passengers to double-check their bags and pockets before getting into the security line to avoid trouble.
The agency has a full list of what's allowed and what's not on its website.
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