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TSA Confiscation of Replica Firearms and Toy Weapons

TSA Confiscation of Replica Firearms and Toy Weapons

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Old Nov 27, 18, 8:30 am
  #16  
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Another example of TSA expanding upon the regulation without authorization. Consistency is training once again proves to be the root problem at TSA.
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Old Nov 27, 18, 9:28 am
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Originally Posted by Boggie Dog View Post
Another example of TSA expanding upon the regulation without authorization. Consistency is training once again proves to be the root problem at TSA.
Don't be ridiculous! Lack of consistency is a feature, not a bug. Just ask the TSA. It helps ensure unpredictability for those bad guys that are supposedly out there.
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Old Nov 27, 18, 9:59 am
  #18  
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Originally Posted by ethernal View Post
Don't be ridiculous! Lack of consistency is a feature, not a bug. Just ask the TSA. It helps ensure unpredictability for those bad guys that are supposedly out there.
I understand but the rules on replica weapons, and in other areas, needs to be consistent. Not being consistent is not helpful to TSA, in fact it causes more harm to TSA than any good hoped to be accomplished. Want one reason people push back at TSA? Here is one example!
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Old Nov 27, 18, 10:07 am
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Originally Posted by Boggie Dog View Post
I understand but the rules on replica weapons, and in other areas, needs to be consistent. Not being consistent is not helpful to TSA, in fact it causes more harm to TSA than any good hoped to be accomplished. Want one reason people push back at TSA? Here is one example!
Lots of complaints in the last 2 or 3 weeks of travelers having items confiscated that were compliant and they had traveled with often beforehand. There must have been refresher training in "screener discretion" recently.

Last edited by petaluma1; Nov 27, 18 at 12:46 pm
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Old Nov 27, 18, 10:42 am
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Originally Posted by Boggie Dog View Post
A replica looks exactly like the real thing. What is the definition of a replica in the CFR?
"Weapons include firearms, as well as realistic replicas of firearms that may reasonably be thought to be actual weapons."

The reasonableness of TSA thinking something is a replica would be decided per instance and only at a trial/hearing but it will require a higher standard than Stewart's "I know it when I see it"
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Old Nov 27, 18, 12:22 pm
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Section 107 View Post
"Weapons include firearms, as well as realistic replicas of firearms that may reasonably be thought to be actual weapons."

The reasonableness of TSA thinking something is a replica would be decided per instance and only at a trial/hearing but it will require a higher standard than Stewart's "I know it when I see it"
There's nothing reasonable about confiscating a two-inch sock monkey's gun that has clearly been examined and shown to be a harmless toy, not a sneaky homemade weapon.

There's nothing reasonable about confiscating a brightly-colored plastic 'grabber' toy because someone allegedly might confuse it with a functional weapon.
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Old Nov 27, 18, 12:35 pm
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Originally Posted by Section 107 View Post
"Weapons include firearms, as well as realistic replicas of firearms that may reasonably be thought to be actual weapons."

The reasonableness of TSA thinking something is a replica would be decided per instance and only at a trial/hearing but it will require a higher standard than Stewart's "I know it when I see it"
Up thread I posted 3 cases where TSA screeners either confiscated or prohibited an item from flying in the cabin. Do you think those actions were consistent with the CFR? I am not arguing that an item that closely looks like a weapon might be prohibited but that is clearly not what has happened in the past at TSA activities.
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Old Nov 28, 18, 7:09 am
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Originally Posted by Boggie Dog View Post
Up thread I posted 3 cases where TSA screeners either confiscated or prohibited an item from flying in the cabin. Do you think those actions were consistent with the CFR? I am not arguing that an item that closely looks like a weapon might be prohibited but that is clearly not what has happened in the past at TSA activities.
On their face, no, of course not, they were absurd incidents.

Having said that, I also wasn't there and don't know any of the details other than what has been presented here, so it's possible there were other factors involved which would make the decisions reasonable.

But as much as it pains me to appear to defend the Dept of Homeland Insecurity - lets keep things in perspective. There are ~50k TSOs handling more than 450,000,000 checkpoint transactions every year. With that kind of volume of human interactions there are bound to be ridiculous and egregious incidents. Even if there were 300 such absurd incidents over the last 10 years, that would be 300 out of 4,500,000,000 interactions; lamentable to some degree to be sure - but hardly a deplorable state of affairs.

Last edited by Section 107; Nov 28, 18 at 7:15 am
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Old Nov 28, 18, 7:41 am
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Originally Posted by Section 107 View Post
On their face, no, of course not, they were absurd incidents.

Having said that, I also wasn't there and don't know any of the details other than what has been presented here, so it's possible there were other factors involved which would make the decisions reasonable.

But as much as it pains me to appear to defend the Dept of Homeland Insecurity - lets keep things in perspective. There are ~50k TSOs handling more than 450,000,000 checkpoint transactions every year. With that kind of volume of human interactions there are bound to be ridiculous and egregious incidents. Even if there were 300 such absurd incidents over the last 10 years, that would be 300 out of 4,500,000,000 interactions; lamentable to some degree to be sure - but hardly a deplorable state of affairs.
I donít see any real pain arising from the above attempted defense of DHS/TSA.

Itís certainly a deplorable state of affairs when a government agency ó the TSA in this case ó can de facto deprive passengers of maintaining any and all their due property rights at the security screening checkpoint by going after passengersí items that pose no more credible threat to flight security than an otherwise permissible Mickey Mouse baseball cap.

Without due respect for property rights, government renders the public into being servants of the government and undermine the fundamental democratic requirement that government ó and its agents ó should be the servant of the public. Itís a deplorable state of affairs when governmentís due respect for property rights are as bad as they are.
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Old Nov 28, 18, 8:41 am
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Section 107 View Post
On their face, no, of course not, they were absurd incidents.

Having said that, I also wasn't there and don't know any of the details other than what has been presented here, so it's possible there were other factors involved which would make the decisions reasonable.

But as much as it pains me to appear to defend the Dept of Homeland Insecurity - lets keep things in perspective. There are ~50k TSOs handling more than 450,000,000 checkpoint transactions every year. With that kind of volume of human interactions there are bound to be ridiculous and egregious incidents. Even if there were 300 such absurd incidents over the last 10 years, that would be 300 out of 4,500,000,000 interactions; lamentable to some degree to be sure - but hardly a deplorable state of affairs.
There was one case on the whole planet of a failed shoe bomber yet TSA forces most travelers to remove their shoes so they can be x-rayed. Is that keeping things in perspective?

The size of the workforce isn't the problem. McDonald's, Burger King, and other such entities can produce a product across all of their stores so people know exactly what they are going to get. They do it by training their new employees to do things the way the company wants them to be done. I think we can all agree that these employees are in many cases not high achievers yet they either do it the company way or move on. I recognize that screening people and things is different than making food but the training principals remain the same. There is no excuse to not do the job properly and if the employee cannot do the job they need to move on also.

When travelers have no effective means to challenge a TSA decision at the checkpoint then the situation is indeed deplorable. It would be deplorable even if it was just one incident. TSA should be require to provide a means for a passenger to challenge a checkpoint decision to an office outside of the airport so the situation can have an unbiased view and an immediate decision. That would resolve the "Screener Discretion" problem. We know that checkpoint TSA supervisors ,on up to the FSD, back up their employees in most cases. Failing that their should be a method for the traveler to recover their property, including having TSA ship the item to them at the travelers cost.

How deplorable is it that a Flyer Talk member had their life saving Nitroglycerin Pills confiscated and was threatened with never being able to fly if they ever tried bringing the pills again? That isn't just a horrible decision by one person but was backed up through the chain of command at that airport. There has to be recourse but then TSA would think that weakens screener authority, or as I would term it, screening bullying.

When a system is broken it either needs to be repaired or replaced. Personally I don't think TSA is repairable.
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Old Nov 28, 18, 8:51 am
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Exclamation Moderator's Note

Folks,

Just a quick reminder that thread is about replica firearms and toy weapons.

Please let's not it turn into a debate about taking nitroglycerin pills and other medications through TSA checkpoints.

Please keep in mind FlyerTalk Rule 5, Stay on Topic, when posting in this thread.

Thank you for understanding,

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Old Nov 29, 18, 8:13 pm
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Originally Posted by Section 107 View Post
But as much as it pains me to appear to defend the Dept of Homeland Insecurity - lets keep things in perspective. There are ~50k TSOs handling more than 450,000,000 checkpoint transactions every year. With that kind of volume of human interactions there are bound to be ridiculous and egregious incidents. Even if there were 300 such absurd incidents over the last 10 years, that would be 300 out of 4,500,000,000 interactions; lamentable to some degree to be sure - but hardly a deplorable state of affairs.
Of course there will be bad decisions. The issue is that TSA doesn't seem to care about it. Everything is "screener discretion" when there should be an authoritative list of things which have been an issue but which are legal. (For example, nitroglycerin tablets.) Once an item has been established as being on that list the screeners should not be allowed to deny it, nor subject it to testing beyond what the list says is proper. (See the repeated issues with milk & formula.)
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Old Nov 30, 18, 5:44 am
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One of TSA's biggest problems is "screener discretion" which would be acceptable IF it were used intelligently. But so often it appears to be used as a means of retaliation or as a method to pull travelers' chains.
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Old Dec 8, 18, 5:07 pm
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Originally Posted by Section 107 View Post
Visit a penitentiary's museum - chances are you will find many examples of firearms made from very inoffensive looking objects. Google "zip gun" - they are made even from ball-point pens.
True. But you can make a shiv from damn near anything you can get post-checkpoint. This is not really a feasible thing to stop.

It's also not a threat to aviation, at least not after the hardened cockpit doors and passenger willingness to take action. If a passenger shanks another passenger (or flight attendant), they'll get immediately mobbed, and the plane's security will not be affected at all.

Title 18, Section 2113 Subsection d
... is totally irrelevant, and does not say what you claim it says.

"(a) Whoever, by force and violence, or by intimidation, takes, or attempts to take, from the personor presence of another, or obtains or attempts to obtain by extortion any property or money or any other thing of value belonging to, or in the care, custody, control, management, or possession of, any bank, credit union, or any savings and loan association; orWhoever enters or attempts to enter any bank, credit union, or any savings and loan association, or any building used in whole or in part as a bank, credit union, or as a savings and loan association, with intent to commit in such bank, credit union, or in such savings and loan association, or building, or part thereof, so used, any felony affecting such bank, credit union, or such savings and loan association and in violation of any statute of the United States, or any larceny—

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

(b) Whoever takes and carries away, with intent to steal or purloin, any property or money or any other thing of value exceeding $1,000 belonging to, or in the care, custody, control, management, or possession of any bank, credit union, or any savings and loan association, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; orWhoever takes and carries away, with intent to steal or purloin, any property or money or any other thing of value not exceeding $1,000 belonging to, or in the care, custody, control, management, or possession of any bank, credit union, or any savings and loan association, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

(d) Whoever, in committing, or in attempting to commit, any offense defined in subsections (a) and (b) of this section, assaults any person, or puts in jeopardy the life of any person by the use of a dangerous weapon or device, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty-five years, or both."


So (a) that says nothing about toys, just actual "dangerous weapon or device"; and (b) it's only a tack-on crime to the crime of actual bank robbery.

Your logic is like banning fingers and pockets, because people have used fingers in a pocket to commit robberies (pretending it's a gun). Um, no.


Originally Posted by gsoltso View Post
I have only seen one CFR reference and that is at the Federal Register.
Thank you for the genuinely useful link.

That is an (alleged) interpretive rule, not a regulation. It interprets 49 CFR 1540.111 (which bans "a weapon, explosive, or incendiary", as well as firearms and ammo in some cases).


TSA's "interpretation" says this:

"Weapons. Weapons are objects that may be used to attack another. TSA considers an item to be a weapon under 49 CFR 1540.111 if it is created for use as a weapon or is so similar to an item created as a weapon that it appears to be, or is easily used as, a weapon.

Weapons include firearms, as well as realistic replicas of firearms that may reasonably be thought to be actual weapons. Such realistic replicas are prohibited because their similarity in appearance to real weapons may allow them to be used to intimidate passengers and flight crew. The screener has the discretion to determine when a replica is so realistic that it should be prohibited. Other toy weapons will be allowed in the sterile areas and cabin....

Explosives. Explosives are substances that explode or cause an explosion. While many explosives may have commercial uses, they clearly could be used to damage an aircraft or against passengers and flight crew members. Examples include dynamite, plastic explosives, blasting caps, fireworks, flares, gunpowder, hand grenades, and ammunition for firearms. Realistic replicas of explosive devices are prohibited for the same reasons that realistic weapons are prohibited: They can be effective in intimidating crew and passengers.

Incendiaries. Incendiaries are devices or materials capable of causing a fire as well as realistic replicas of these devices Examples include gasoline and other fuels, gas torches (including micro-torches and torch lighters), and strike-anywhere matches. Incendiaries also include aerosol cans containing flammable liquids. Although many personal care and toiletry items may come in the form of aerosol cans containing flammable contents, the prohibited items list specifically excludes these items when carried in limited quantities into a sterile area and the cabin of a passenger aircraft. Under these conditions, the materials pose little risk."


I think this is a case of interpretation that clearly fails even Auer deference.

There is no world in which a nonfunctional replica is in fact a WEI. The language of the regulation and statute is unambiguous. I don't think that the canons of statutory or regulatory interpretation permit a reading in which something that is not a weapon, explosive, or incendiary could be banned by a law that only applies to "a weapon, explosive, or incendiary".

But that issue will only get ruled on once a court gets it. (Which at present probably only likely in my case, Sai v. Pekoske, No. 15-2356 (1st Cir.).)

It's noteworthy that TSA did not choose to amend 49 CFR 1540.111 to prohibit "a weapon, explosive, or incendiary, or a realistic replica thereof". They could have passed that regulation, instead of this absurd interpretation that "an X includes a not-X". Yet they didn't. That failure is interesting, isn't it?​​

Last edited by saizai; Dec 8, 18 at 5:24 pm
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Old Dec 8, 18, 8:54 pm
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I have ICP power supplies in my tools. I have carried them for years. With a child's imagination, one might be able to think that these look like detonators.

In fact, one TSA screener did. It was in the line before the x-ray. He started to screen my bag as I was in line and found the power supply. He held it up and said that it was a detonator for an IED. I said that it was an ICP power supply and that the confusing technical words on the face indicated that. The words were "ICP Power Supply." Anyway, he had stopped the line going into the x-ray and was creating quite a scene. I decided to join in. "Are you accusing me of having a bomb? Are you accusing me of a crime?" Then it got bizarre. He held it up in the air and said that these switches are used to detonate the bomb. He then started flipping the switches. A few of the people hit the floor and crawled under things certain that he had just set off my bomb. I stood there calmly watching. When he was finished, I asked, "Are you finished? Put my bag through the x-ray and call a supervisor. I need to report this."

On the other side, nothing. No supervisor and the bag did not even get the normal bag rape. He was gone. I stopped at the desk and reported him. Idiot.
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