Transportation Security Administration agents at Nashville International Airport told News 2 that 12 years after September 11, 2001, airline passengers continue to try to get prohibited items past security checkpoints.
Those items include guns, knives, aerosol cans and other accelerates.
TSA supervising agent Ryan Lierow said a popular and common weapon still being found on passengers is a knife the size and thickness of a credit card.
“These have been increasing in popularity due to social media and promotion. We see those on a regular basis,” Lierow said.
The knife folds open like a credit card, but once it is folded out, the card becomes a handle to wrap around an actual knife.
Other surrendered items include baseball bats, hammers, power tools, brass knuckles and homemade devices to charge cell phones and tablets.
“These look like an IED component,” said Lierow.
In 2013, TSA agents in Nashville took 74 handguns from passengers at the security checkpoint, many of them loaded.
“A lot of passengers will have these items and forget that they have them,” he said.
Other popular items found in carry on luggage are lotions, sunscreen, peanut butter, jams and jellies, and Jack Daniels.
Those items are allowed, provided they are in clear bottles no larger than 3.4 ounces.
“We’ve seen people carrying snakes, people who bring snakes through, snakes have gotten loose,” said Stephanie Cambridge, a TSA agent who’s job is to see that the surrendered items are taken to a locked room and held there until picked up to be delivered to outside locations.
Hazardous materials are taken off site and are destroyed. Non-hazardous items are sent to a surplus property division in Alabama and then auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Agents charged with taking those items are often seen as the bad guys by the passengers who must surrender them.
“At the moment we’re not their friends,” said Cambridge. “We just try to do everything with a smile and we keep in mind that our goal is to ensure that terrorists do not succeed,” she said.
For a searchable list of what is allowed through the security checkpoints, go to the TSA Web site.