KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Bobi McCumber is a seasoned traveler. She lives close to KCI and flies in and out of the airport a lot for work.
In April, the Kansas City mom went through security at the airport without any problems.
But while sitting in the waiting area to board her flight, she was surprised to find her stun gun in her purse.
“I thought I was going to be in trouble," McCumber said.
She keeps a stun gun for protection and forgot it was in her purse. It's compact, pink and can pack a powerful punch. Not sure what to do, she called her husband who told her to notify security. She did.
McCumber recalls what the security agent told her.
"She said, ‘This is a big deal. We're going to have to do a report, have to depose you,’” McCumber recalls.
TSA officials questioned her for 40 minutes. They took pictures of the stun gun and reviewed footage of her going through security.
How did a stun gun get through security unnoticed? TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz called it a rare incident.
"Our officers are very well trained in locating prohibited items so this incident would be a rarity,” Koshetz said in a statement to Call for Action.
This year alone, TSA security confiscated six stun guns, nine fire arms, 16 brass knuckles and 106 large knives at KCI. They even found a hand saw and a hatchet.
Penalties for bringing a prohibited item through security can be steep, up to $11,000 in civil fines and possible criminal charges.
TSA says passengers should unpack before packing to be sure you do not have prohibited items such as guns in your carry-on bag.
At KCI, security officials eventually let McCumber take the stun gun to her car. She was able to make her flight.
But two months later, she received a written warning from the TSA which said "during the screening process a prohibited item (stun gun) was discovered.”
That did not sit well with McCumber since she had to alert security.
"They did not find it on screening. That irritated me," she said.
McCumber wanted to share her story, hoping to improve security.
TSA said their officers go through constant training since more and more prohibited items are now disguised as everyday objects.
The TSA has a list of prohibited items that are not allowed on a plane. It also details items that can be checked in baggage. Learn more here: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/prohibited-items
Below is the complete statement from TSA:
TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz, offers this advice to passengers: “Unpack before packing to be sure you do not have prohibited items such as guns in your carry-on bag.”
Weapons—including guns—are not permitted in carry-on baggage. Passengers are responsible for the contents of the bags they bring to the security checkpoint, and TSA’s advice to passengers is to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items. Passengers who bring firearms to a checkpoint face in addition to criminal charges a civil penalty from TSA of up to $11,000.
Domestic passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a locked hard-sided case, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure. Information about the proper transport of firearms is available on our web site: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/firearms-and-ammunition
Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact the airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.
Passengers can review the prohibited items list on the TSA homepage or they can download the free MyTSA application from the TSA homepage. The TSA web site and the MyTSA app have a “Can I Bring?” feature that allows users to type in items they plan to bring on a trip to get an explanation of TSA’s security policies for the item, including whether the item can be taken in carry-on luggage through the security checkpoint, packed in checked baggage, both, or neither. The mobile app is available to download for free at www.tsa.gov (or directly at http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/my-tsa-mobile-application ).
There were more than 1,500 firearms stopped by TSA officers at checkpoints nationwide in 2012 . More than 1,200 have been intercepted so far this year across the country.
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