The TSA is on track to set a record for the number of guns it has confiscated across the United States this year. But other prohibited items--including knives, cleavers, ninja throwing stars, and nunchucks--are more challenging to uncover, reports CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave.
"I'll ask a passenger direct to the face, do you have anything prohibitive in the bag? 'No.' We open up the bag, they'll have a knife, they'll have a fake gun, they'll have a nunchuck in there," said Scott Johnson, the federal security director at Dullies International Airport in Virginia. "And I just have to laugh at them, 'cause it's, do you think you can bring this on?"
Some items that could be considered dangers are more ambiguous, like women's purses, which have been stacking up because some handles resemble brass knuckles. Also on the no-fly list are fake hand grenades. Dulles Airport alone fills up a 55-gallon drum daily with prohibited items.
Some of the biggest head-scratchers end up on the TSA's Instagram feed, with more than 336,000 followers. It is an attempt to get the word out about what not to bring.
The most serious, of course, are the firearms. Officers stopped more than 1,900 nationwide, 18 at Dulles alone.
"We actually caught a .357 Magnum out here at the checkpoint. Yesterday we caught 63 rounds of ammunition in a bag," Johnson said.
But despite those successes, concerns remain over what's not being caught after details of an Inspector General Report leaked that officers at TSA checkpoints failed 67 out of 70 tests allowing undercover agents to repeatedly bring potential weapons through checkpoints.
"What I think their biggest failure is not looking at the whole picture of airport security, because if anything is going to be a real danger to us, it's not going to come through the checkpoint, it's going to come around the checkpoint," said Douglas Kidd of the National Association of Airline Passengers, a citizens group critical of the TSA.
Bringing a firearm or concealing a weapon like a knife in luggage can prompt criminal charges and significant fines. One other item left at checkpoints really stacks up--last year nearly 700 thousand dollars in loose change was left at airports.