Guns, grenades, human skull fragments and a pepper spray disguised as a lipstick -- just a few of the things confiscated by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers from travelers in U.S. airports last year. In TSA's recent blog post: TSA Blog Year in Review: 2013, TSA blogger Bob Burns reviewed some of the dangerous or unusual items officers confiscated in 2013 as well as some of the creative ways passengers tried to hide them.
A total of 1,813 firearms were discovered, 1,477 (80%) of which were loaded.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world's busiest, topped the chart for gun catches with 111 guns discovered over the year.
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport followed, with 96 guns discovered, while George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston (68 guns), Pheonix Sky Harbor International Airport (66 guns) and Denver International Airport (51 guns) rounded out the top five.
The key message the blog wants to impart is: passengers can't fool TSA officers.
Deterrent vs detergent
"In what was believed to be an attempt to avoid declaring his firearms, a passenger at Houston (IAH) wrapped two guns in newspaper and placed them in a box of detergent powder in his checked baggage," wrote TSA blogger Bob Burns.
Another passenger was found at Salt Lake City with a non-metallic dagger strung around his neck with fishing wire.
A non-metallic knife was just one item that tried to bypass the security checks, but failed.
A stun gun concealed in a cane and a pepper spray disguised as a lipstick both failed to escape detection by the TSA.
The TSA also busted people hiding various kinds of knives.
"Our officers regularly find sword canes, credit card knives, belt buckle knives, comb/brush knives, knives hidden in shoes, knives hidden in thermoses and knives hidden under the bag lining near the handle mechanism," wrote Burns.
Other knife finds included one hidden in an ink pen and a multi-tool inside a computer hard drive.
Ninja stars too
The TSA also found 562 stun guns, a wood and metal mace, throwing stars and grenades -- both real and replicas.
Another takeaway: inert weapons are as confiscable as real ones.
That should serve as a lesson for the self-claimed military instructor who carried six inert pressure plates, 20 inert initiators, an inert land mine, inert explosives and two initiation systems in his bag and got detained at Norfolk, Virginia. The only non-weapon mentioned in the review was that of some human skull fragments in clay pots found at Fort Lauderdale in Florida.
The passengers claimed they bought the pots without knowing there were skull fragments inside, according to the blog.