The TSA had a large table set up at the Savannah Hilton Head International Airport and on it, all kinds of prohibited items that it says are taken from passengers every day at security checkpoints across the country. Among the items, corkscrews, pocket knives and huge, hunting knives.
Mark Howell with the TSA says carrying a prohibited item in your carry on will get you in trouble, especially if it’s a firearm. He says with changing state laws, more passengers this year are showing up at the checkpoint with a loaded gun in a bag. He says most of the time the answer is the passenger forgot it was there. But says that’s not a good excuse.
Howell says in the case of a firearm, local police have to be called and the line stops. “If you come to the checkpoint with that, you’re going to be subject to criminal charges based on whatever local law is, but also a civil penalty from TSA which can go up to $7,500 on the first offense. So, it can be a very costly mistake to bring that firearm to the checkpoint,” Howell told us.
Howell is urging all air passengers to take a few minutes before they get to the airport to determine just what is in their carry on luggage. He says people are complaining about lone lines this summer, but that every time a prohibited item is found, TSA staff has to stop the line to deal with that passenger.
Howell also told us that in 2015, 2,653 firearms were surrendered at security checkpoints. So far in 2016, it’s already 1,500 weapons.
He says the largest number of weapons have been confiscated in Atlanta. In 2015, it was 144 weapons. The first six months of 2016, it’s already climbed to 91.
Howell says for anyone who doesn’t know what is a prohibited item, it’s easy to find out by going online to the TSA.
He also says there is an app called myTSA that can be downloaded. And you can follow the TSA on Twitter and ask questions about an item you’re unsure of and he says you can also message the TSA through Facebook.