Conceal, carry, board? Airports fertile ground for feds to find guns, bombs

When a baggage room at O'Hare was evacuated this week due to artillery shells found in passenger luggage, it was startling to everyone except the TSA.
April 12, 2014 5:14:30 AM PDT
When a baggage room at O'Hare was evacuated this week due to artillery shells found in passenger luggage, it was startling to everyone except the TSA.

There is a growing TSA inventory of confiscated bombs, guns, ammo and other weaponry at O'Hare and Midway-found in checked baggage, carry-on items and in travelers' pockets, according to federal records.

In the case of the artillery shells discovered this week, investigators found that they belonged to a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old who were returning from a school field trip to Europe. The teens were not charged after authorities determined the shells were inert artifacts obtained at a French World War I artillery range.

But at the height of the spring travel season, those kinds of incidents can gum up already slow security procedures. Last year 1,813 guns were discovered in carry-on luggage in the U.S. in 2013. Most of them were loaded. That is a 17% increase from a year ago.

Some people claim to be forgetful, like the 26-year-old pregnant Wisconsin woman who police say tried to bring a loaded gun onto a plane at O'Hare Airport in February. Angelique Kittell is charged with one count of boarding aircraft with a weapon and two counts of UUW by a felon. She is a convicted bank robber. Cook County prosecutors say Kittell had an automatic pistol with five live rounds in her carry-on backpack.

The photos of guns and weapons taken during 2013 in Chicago and elsewhere is a gallery of firepower. From a flask of black powder, 22 feet of fuse, a large empty CO2 cartridge, and miscellaneous ammunition in a passenger's bag to electric detonators and a block of inert C4 with duct tape and wires protruding were discovered in checked baggage to six inert pressure plates, 50 inert initiators, an inert landmine, inert explosives, and two initiation systems in the his bag.

Authorities warn travelers to leave it at home-even the inert, non-functional collector's items, because they will probably cause you and others to miss their flights.


Load Comments