TSA To Gun Show Attendees: Don't Think You're Getting On Board With Your Bullet-Encased-In-Acrylic Keychains

from the without-a-doubt,-we-are-now-safer-than-we've-ever-been-before dept

The TSA worries too much. It should take a year or two (or forever…) off. Even though it doesn’t think the next wave of terrorist attacks will target airplanes and fliers, it still cracks down on anything that even slightly resembles a weapon (“guns” that belong to puppets, purses with bejeweled “brass knuckle” clasps).

The agency recently reminded people flying into Vegas to attend the annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) that they’ll need to be extra careful about what souvenirs they want to bring home with them.

McCarran and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority issued a summary sheet of TSA rules — listing what can and can’t be taken in carry-on bags and checked luggage — to show representatives to pass along to attendees.

A basic rule of thumb: You can’t take a gun or anything that looks like one in a carry-on. That includes firearms, flare guns, pellet guns, BB guns, compressed air guns, starter pistols, gun parts, realistic replicas of firearms, ammunition, paintball markers, plastic explosives, hand grenades or realistic replicas of explosives…

There’s also a short list of things you can’t take in carry-ons or checked bags: flares, gun lighters or gunpowder, including black powder and percussion caps.

All of this is (somewhat) common knowledge. Weapons of any sort (even ones that don’t use bullets) are frowned upon by the TSA. Most gun owners know these rules and follow them. But this is what the TSA used as an example of the sort of thing it wouldn’t be happy to see making its way through security.

Yes, it’s a single bullet, encased in acrylic and attached to a keychain. This little fellow caused quite the delay in 2012 as the TSA confiscated dozens of these keychains in order to prevent terrorism from breaking out on flights leaving Las Vegas.

The operative theory (apparently) was that departing aircraft would be filled with bullets which, once freed from their acrylic prison, could be loaded into a gun or guns safely stowed away in the luggage compartments underneath the cabin of the plane. Or maybe the fear was that the bullets would be freed and the gunpowder used to create some sort of explosive.

To follow this logic, you have to assume that terrorists attended a gun show solely to pick up “non-suspicious” trinkets to assemble on board in order to hijack or sabotage the plane. This would also need the supporting assumption that several terrorists would have successfully made it past screening without being flagged by the TSA’s crack team of Behavioral Detection Officers or by the statistical perversity of random selection.

Or, more likely, there’s no logic. The rules say “no gunpowder” and bullets encased in acrylic likely contain gunpowder, therefore keychains attached to single bullets encased in acrylic are “no go.” There’s no room for logic when you’ve got a list.

Does anyone feel safer knowing the TSA is on the lookout for items like these? Does anyone breathe a sigh of relief upon seeing the confiscation of these trinkets and say, “Thank god. I wouldn’t want a bullet in a block of acrylic on board with me?” No, more likely the reaction of those boarding flights with SHOT Show attendees felt just as annoyed by the needless delay. Maybe they rolled their eyes and thought, “Of course they’d confiscate that. It’s in the gun ‘family.'” Maybe a few blamed the gun show attendees for the delay but I seriously doubt a single person thought any of the TSA agents were “earning their paycheck,” or successfully combating terrorism, by confiscating these souvenirs.

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Comments on “TSA To Gun Show Attendees: Don't Think You're Getting On Board With Your Bullet-Encased-In-Acrylic Keychains”

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Anonymous Coward says:


So its not ammunition if you put a bit of plastic around it?

“That includes firearms, flare guns, pellet guns, BB guns, compressed air guns, starter pistols, gun parts, realistic replicas of firearms, ammunition, paintball markers, plastic explosives, hand grenades or realistic replicas of explosives?

so a bullet is not ammunition when it is contained in something!!!! love the TD logic here..

“Yes, it’s a single bullet,”

great, at least you got that FAR! (now all you have to work out is a bullet is ammunition).
(its also an explosive)
I guess a bullet would also be consider a “gun part” as well

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: ammunition

I am positive those bullets do not have powder in them. It is quite common to have novelty bullets that are empty of propellant – e.g. I picked up a nice .50 BMG round that is a bottle opener from the SHOT show. It is just the bullet and the casing, that’s it.

It would make absolutely no sense to enclose live rounds like that. If it’s a live round – think of how much more complicated the legal logistics become for shipping (now its a hazardous material in bulk), storing (see previous comment), much less selling/giving it away for free (i.e. you can’t transfer to minors, or knowingly to felons, etc).

No, it makes much more sense for whoever is ordering or making these to enclose dummy rounds. Dummy rounds are quite easy to make, you just don’t put any powder in – nothing magical there. I’ve made some myself for training purposes.

That, and the SHOT Show’s own rules state “No live ammuni
tion, ignitable powder, live primers, primer
carriers, or percussion caps will
be allowed in the exhibit hall.” (http://www.shotshow.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/SHOT14-Product-Eligibility-Rules.pdf)

This is common sense, something that you seem to be joining the TSA in lacking.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: ammunition

|what about the TERRORIST WEAPONS disguised as SHOT show merchandise?

Exactly, what about them?
Not heard of that ever happening.
Not concerned that it will happen.

More people die each year in automotive related accidents than have ever died from terrorists.

How many people do you know who has died or been injured in an automotive accident? How many do you know who have been injured from a terrorist attack?

Put your fears in check, automobiles are much more terrorizing than terrorists.

Just Sayin' says:

Re: ammunition

No, you don’t get it. In Techdirt world, the rules are NOT the rules, they are only suggestions and hints, ideas that should be pushed against aggressively at all times just for the fun of it.

I may sound like a prude, but I would rather that there is no chance of bullets or gunpowder in a plane I am flying on, rather than letting gun nuts tote their trinkets onboard.

They can put them in checked baggage and that would be that.

As other people mention below, this seems to be another “bash the TSA because we haven’t bashed the TSA today” articles, not something that is actually a valid gripe.

Oh Mike, how would you feel about, say, a switch blade knive in acrylic? WOuld you like to take a chance that it’s not really acrylic but something that can be dissolved in water?

How about a hand grenade, or a rocket launcher? Okay if they are in acrylic and fit in the overhead bin?

See how silly your arguments sound?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: ammunition

Agreed. Normally, I agree with a lot of what’s posted here on TD, but being against this is kinda ridiculous UNLESS the bullets can be proven to not have gunpowder. If it’s a bullet, there’s no reason why it should be allowed on a flight, and if there was a delay, that’s because a bunch of idiots thought, “I bet I can sneak on with this!” or something like that. If this was checked, like it should have been, then there would have been no problem getting on the plane.

The TSA can be a huge group of idiots, there’s no argument there. But in this case, they’re right.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: ammunition

While I understand the TSA’s action here — the item is explicitly prohibited — it is a case of rigid application of the rules leading to a ridiculous result.

What if the round was actually live? It’s encased in acrylic regardless. I don’t see how even a live round in that condition can pose any actual danger.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

yep, there are always idiotic cowards willing to give away my freedoms and security

FTFY. There is absolutely no security value to stopping these things, even if they are real bullets (with powder and priming cap, which is highly doubtful since I am quite sure the manufacturer who applies the acrylic doesn’t want anything to do with live bullets when subjected to hot acrylic,) and the only security danger posed by stopping a whole line of travelers at the TSA checkpoint over this is the added risk of having a large number of people in a kill-zone for an extended period of time.

If you really have a problem with them in luggage, treat them like full water bottles and snow-globes (or cupcakes) and have the traveler leave the line to find a post office to send the item, or throw it away.

Logic and reason…the TSA has proven time and time again they have neither of these skills.

Andy says:


Out of the TSA bashing articles, this one has the least substance in my book. Much of what they do is beyond ridiculous, yet a possibly live bullet has no business in your carryon… I wonder if it would be different of it was loose on a chain, making it possible to prove it has no gunpowder charge (casing amd bullet could be threaded for inspection)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: well

“Out of the TSA bashing articles”

what do you actually think TD is biased and just created “bashing articles”?

are you saying most articles are biased and not factually based?

are you saying that all logic and reason goes out the window whenever TD hears “TSA” or “NSA” and start frothing at the mouth.

Are you saying TD lacks substance??

TD caters for a certain class of radical, logic and reason has no place in their world.

You know they think 9/11 never happened, and if it did, its about time the people hurt by it should suck it up already!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

so a bullet is not a “dangerous goods”? and they are “everyday items”?

you want the TSA to ‘decide’ that a bullet is not a bullet when it is encased in plastic? That is your logic and reasoning about this ?

so if a bullet is not a bullet when encased in something, gunpowder is not gunpowder when encased in a shell?

I guess its the same logic when you say copyright theft is “infringement”!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Have you ever tried to fire a bullet encased in acrylic?

Have you ever tried to fire a dirty bullet?

Going by how idiotic your comments have been, I am going to go with “NO”

You are in more danger holding the gun that is firing a bullet that has been encased in acrylic than standing in front of it.

You are a moron.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Have you ever tried to fire a bullet encased in acrylic?”

no not personally, but I have seen many shots fired from plastic guns, (bullets fired encased in acrylic).

“Have you ever tried to fire a dirty bullet? “
No I keep my bullets clean, and have the ability to clean them before I fire them.

have you ever tried to fire a dirty bullet ?? if yes,, why?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

So you are not a beleiver in Copyright?

You think that it is theft of property and that normal property laws cover what we like to call “infringement”?

Good to see that you want to do away with copyright and revert back to sane property theft standards.

Caught stealing a movie? pay your $20 fine.

Sounds good to me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“So you are not a beleiver in Copyright?”

what ??? do you consider copyright something like God? do you need to be a “believer” ??

copyright is a framework for a set of laws, I believe laws exist, I simply don’t agree with weasel words like “infringement” as opposed to the real words.

Theft of infringement, call it what you like, believe what you like, but laws exist, believe it or not !

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

‘Infringement’ is not a weasel word. If you think it is, then you have never bothered to read the statues, nor are you familiar with the Supreme Court’s own findings in Dowling v United States. Theft is the real weasel word, here. You say you you believe in laws, yet you are unfamiliar with the law as it is.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Or, more likely, there’s no logic. The rules say “no gunpowder” and bullets encased in acrylic likely contain gunpowder, therefore keychains attached to single bullets encased in acrylic are “no go.” There’s no room for logic when you’ve got a list. “

what logic would you like to apply to “NO GUNPOWER” (except if encased in plastic) or something??

please explain the logic you would apply that would make gunpowder not gunpowder if it is contained in something?

is it “a gun made out of plastic is not a gun because its made from plastic!”
“Gunpowder is not gunpowder if it contained in something!”?

what is your logic??

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

I may be a little out of it (I did just get out of surgery today) so forgive me if I seem a little off. But who the hell would think that there’s a live bullet in a key chain? You don’t put a live bullet into a trinket, it’s too expensive. It’s probably not even metal.

However, I’m completely not surprised that this would be banned. It may be fake but the TSA banns everything fake.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I admit, that if I were going to make a keyring with a bullet in it with the intention of discharging the bullet on a plane, I would make sure the bullet was real when I made it.

I don’t care if the ones you can buy contain real bullets or not, just that they are allowed on planes. I do care that the one I make that looks the same contains a real bullet and has some hidden mechanism for fire it.

Sunhawk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’d take that bet.

Not only would ‘live’ ammunition violate the rules of the convention they’re being sold at*, it also complicates immensely the various stricture around buying, selling, transporting, etc.

Plus, it could lead to liability if someone fiddled around with it and managed to drill in and set off the charge.

So I would genuinely take that bet.

*from http://www.shotshow.org/attendees/policies/

NO personal firearms or ammunition allowed. Only firearms on display by exhibitors whose firing pins have been removed (and have been inspected by SHOT Show Safety Advisors) will be permitted on the show floor.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

so if these were allowed, and someone who actually wanted a gun and real bullet on a plane would just make his own key ring from acrylic with a hole for a barrel and one for a firing pin, use a REAL bullet, and fire it !!

so someone who wants to shoot a person on a plane is going to take notice or care what the rules of the convention are ?

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

so if these were allowed, and someone who actually wanted a gun and real bullet on a plane would just make his own key ring from acrylic with a hole for a barrel and one for a firing pin, use a REAL bullet, and fire it !!

Umm, no. If the trinket is capable of firing a bullet, then it’s no longer a trinket. It is a gun. Allowing the trinket does not mean allowing the gun.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Oh John, inscrutable logic !!!

“If the trinket is capable of firing a bullet, then it’s no longer a trinket.”


so it really comes down to your definition of words. Its a trinket that IS CAPABLE OF FIRING A BILLET, it ALSO CONTAINS A BULLET, so if you put a bullet in a trinket the bullet is a trinket, and if you put it in a gun the trinket bullet becomes a real bullet? WTF.. Love the circular semantics logic.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“A basic rule of thumb: You can?t take a gun or anything that looks like one in a carry-on.”

Looks like is a key term, not that I doubt it is not a real bullet, it certainly looks like a real bullet.

if you have a weapon, or something that may be considered a weapon, it can be used as a threat, it does not have to be used.

Box cutters where used to threaten people and gain access to the cockpit, so ‘fake’ box cutters would be just as effective.

it you can look down some ‘tube’ structure, and see a bullet, you would assume it is a lethal gun, especially if the person pointing it at you tells you that.

“this is a gun, this is a bullet, do what I tell you or ill shoot you”.

and again, I would be really surprised if a small calibre bullet would exceed the price of $1 in the US.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

because if I wanted to fire a bullet on a plane I WOULD MAKE the keyring myself, AND PUT A REAL BULLET IN IT !!!.

I would make it look just like these ones, except I would make sure the bullet was real, knowing it would be past TSA (if they allowed them).

Then I would know it was a real bullet, I would also drill a small hole for the barrel and one for a firing pin, fill those holes with clear acrylic plugs and bingo I have a one shot gun.

I would not care if those key rings contained a real bullet or not, but I would make sure the one I made that looks just the same would contain a real one.. !!!

Or did you not think of that ?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I had to stop and really think about this for a few minutes. Not a terrible strain, mind you, but at what temperature does a primer cap or gunpowder actually ignite? I’m asking because I’m not entirely certain it really is possible to encase a piece of live ammunition inside acrylic, the melting point of which is 320F, and the working temp for pouring and molding is likely closer to 375F-400F to drive the air out and actually achieve a clear plastic, not to mention having a low enough viscosity to actually pour it. Please, by all means, make us a keychain with a live bullet in it, and let us know how that works. Remember, it has to look like the one in the picture in the article, meaning you can’t drill a barrel or a hole for a firing pin.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I think the ignition temperature or explosion point of the .22 round is not a factor in encasing them in resin. Acrylic resins are cured my a chemical reaction, not heat. In other words, it’s not just a plastic resin “heated up” to its melting point, then poured. Rather, clear acrylic resin is a two part product that cures when they are mixed together. This is much like a two part fiberglass resin that you buy at your auto parts store. While some heat is produced as it hardens, it’s nowhere near what it would take to ignite gunpowder. As .22 rounds cost only pennies each, and the keychains probably retailed for several dollars, I doubt that anyone bothered to empty the powder out of them or found a source for unloaded ones. My bet, the rounds are live. How great a risk they pose is up to debate, obviously.

Anonymous Coward says:

I guess the only thing to do is Fedex anything resembling ammunition from the gun show, to your house. Then fly home and wait for you package to arrive.

It appears firearms themselves, can be brought on as checked baggage.

I can see the TSA’s point on they keychain trinket. If there’s a ban on ammunition, including replicas, then I suppose the bullet keychain falls under the replicas category.

Now, if the keychain had a pistol or rifle inside the acrylic, it appears fine to bring that on the plane in a checked bag.

I’d rather just drive there, load up the trunk with guns, and the glove box full of ammunition, then drive home.

I used to fly, but it’s too much of a hassle and expense these days. Not to mention it’s almost impossible to get a refund on a ticket. No matter what circumstances may arise that are out of your own control. Such as late or cancelled flights during layovers.

Anonymous Coward says:

The troll is once again trying to divert the topic. There is nothing about copyright in the article. Have a bunch of reports.

Have you ever really looked at a gun? Those guns have metal reinforcement for a reason. The same reason you can’t depend on plastic guns to hold up and fire rounds one after another. It’s because the shell casing isn’t the strongest in the world. You take that shell and put it outside the framework of a gun that isn’t reinforced with strength and the casing is subject to rupture from the firing.

I highly recommend this idiot claiming an inert round is dangerous to try the acrylic gun he keeps talking about. It is my hope when he does he won’t be able to operate a keyboard for a while.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

People still check luggage?

Ever since they started charging astronomical prices, I don’t know anyone that willingly checks their luggage these days.

I fly often (monthly), and I always carry-on everything I can. Hell, I’ve taken a second bag full of nerf guns through TSA numerous times without issue.

On a recent trip to Hawaii, I didn’t check any luggage, and opted to ship a box of stuff home, as it was still cheaper than paying for a checked bag.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Usually, I ship my luggage ahead using UPS or equivalent. I don’t check it — not because of the cost, but because I don’t want it search, lost, or stolen from. But sometimes I do check luggage. What I don’t do is take anything as a carry-on! It’s just far too much hassle, and far too intrusive going through security with one.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Indeed – I always take everything carry-on, but I’m careful to only pack what I need. I also would not check my bags, as the few times I have, they always seem to have a note in them telling me the TSA was happy to search them for me. I also know more people who have lost luggage during flights than have not.

Often times for a few days casual trip, I can get away with a single backpack containing everything I need – including a laptop (for work), or my tablet (for pleasure).

Having gone through security with my carry-on countless times over the last few years, I’ve come to accept my fate (and the fate of my belongings).

I also go for the opt-out/full patdown every time, so I’m at least feeling good that the TSA is “working” for their pay.

Rekrul says:

I’m not an expert on acrylic, but wouldn’t forming it into a block around a bullet involve heat? Either melting the material to pour into a mold, or maybe heat from a chemical reaction from the ingredients used to form the material, or maybe it needs to be cooked to sure it.

I’m not sure I’d want to use a live bullet in any process that involves applying heat to the item being encased.

The baker says:

Anyone know someone at Federal ammunition. A quick call or email could clear up the issue as to if the round is live.
A live round has a shell (casing), primer, propellant, (gunpowder) and a bullet. Any one of these missing and it won’t fire. The round encased in the acrylic is a .22 cal rim fire round. The primer material is deposited around the rim or the flange at the base of the shell, when the firing pin strikes the rim it compresses it and the primer material ignites and sets off the powder.
I imagine that they made thousands of these key chains and it wouldn’t be hard to take a lot of unprimed cases and bypass priming and loading powder and just press the bullets in. Cost effective, no machine set-up, safer injection molding, of the keychain and as one commenter noted, less shipping and regulatory issues. My bet is that they are inert. Also, my bet is if my kid took one of these key chains to school, he would be expelled and if you showed it to the average person on the street in a major US city would scare them into calling 911.

The baker says:

Re: .22 shell in a fire

A “cooked off” .22 shell … The bullet won’t even penetrate a cardboard box. The round needs a chamber to contain the explosion to propel the bullet at any velocity otherwise most of the energy just splits the brass not much goes into making the heavier bullet fly. It is the sharp edges of the shell that could put a eye out. If there is a fire that melts the acrylic you have much bigger problems than the .22shell.
( how do I know this? … Youth, camp fires, Hams beer and a pocket full of .22 shells. Great fun watching your friends run. … Don’t do this at home!)

lfroen (profile) says:

Re: Re: .22 shell in a fire

This is live ammunition. This is actually a dangerous thing. Yes, it can fire. And yes, it supposed to be banned on plane. TSA do a lot of stupid things, but this is not one of them.

Don’t sound ridiculous – it’s not a breast milk or bottle of shampoo. And average TSA agent is not supposed to be weapon expert: he supposed to follow set of simple rules. “No weapons or ammo or something that looks like it” is one of those rules.
Advice to vocal weapon – lovers: take this bullet, fly to let’s say India. See how far you will get with this in a pocket.

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: .22 shell in a fire

No-one actually stated that they were actual real live ammunition, as opposed to pure dummy rounds or metal in the shape of a bullet. As numerous other posters have said, it’s unlikely that an actual live bullet would be encased in acrylic, although knowing how insane US Gun Nuts are it wouldn’t actually surprise me if they did it out of some misplaced attempt at machismo.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 .22 shell in a fire

so you make your OWN, that LOOKS JUST THE SAME… WITH LIVE AMMO !!!! Geeezzz.

Any hobby shop has the kits to make acrylic encased things.

You make a keyring that looks the same as the ones you want allowed, but you make sure the bullet you put in it is REAL !!! job done.

If you have live bullet you are 90% the way to firing a live bullet, the rest is easy, the hard part is getting the bullet.

Sure, you might not be able to fashion a full gun and repeats or that can fire many bullets or accurately, but you could easily manage to discharge one bullet in a way that could kill someone. (called zip guns I believe).

SO TSA approve these keyrings, you make one that looks like them with a real bullet, but in two parts so you can remove the live round and fire it from your pen or something.

You figure it out,

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Assuming for a moment these are live bullets

Bad assumption – why would you use a live bullet in something like this?

Surely the use of a live bullet would bring the item under various firearms laws (you do have some firearms legislation in the US don’t you?) which would place extra costs on the company making and selling them. It would also have product liability consequences that could be very samaging in the US which is even more lawsuit-happy than it is gun-happy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Bad assumption – why would you use a live bullet in something like this?”

possibly if your intent was to shoot the bullet !!!
That would be one reason to use a real bullet.

I certainly would not assume the ones you can buy contained live rounds, but I would make no assumptions about the one I make that looks just the same containing a real bullet. Because I would ensure it was a real bullet.

If I am intending to kill someone on a plane (by shooting them with a jury-rigged gun and a real bullet) , I am probably not going to be too worried about firearms laws either.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

or they just stand up, walk towards the electronics bay hatch, when the hostess challenges him he points this ‘thing’ at her, tells her is a real bullet and is capable of being shot, and that you will shoot her if she (or anyone) tries to stop you.

You enter the planes electronics bay (on a ‘fly-by-wire’) place, and you start unplugging circuit boards.

The plane loses control, and crashes.

Anonymous Coward says:

LOL The last mode of transportation I’ll be taking to a gun show is air. Obviously I don’t go to gun shows to buy keychains. Gun shows kick ass you can send a 14 year old in with a pocket of cash and they’ll come out armed better than Cuba.
Don’t believe me? Go to one and try to purchase a weapon and when they ask you for the required credentials say LOL cya. You’ll get the following reply now hold on a minuet lets make a deal.

Most people care more about money than law they don’t understand. It’s the result of making law so confusing when it doesn’t have to be.

Joshua Bardwell (profile) says:

As others have pointed out, it is almost certain that these are dummy/inert rounds, and do not contain primer or powder. However, do you really want the geniuses at the TSA to be responsible for inspecting ammunition to determine if it really, truly is inert? Of all the BS things the TSA triggers on–and there are a lot of them–can we agree that something that actually is a decommissioned weapon is low on the list?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Back in the 80’s, my father had a bullet on his key-chain, something he fashioned while in the army. It straight up had the primer removed, with a key ring drilled right through the center of the casing. Security took it then. It really doesn’t surprise me all that much they took one now.

I mean really, they will take your shampoo. They are in no way going to let a bullet, even one which is obviously inert and in a hard plastic shell, through security. I can’t see why anyone is shocked by this.

John Cressman (profile) says:


I am usually a kool-aid drinker here – well, I agree with alot of it.

BUT… I could see a legitimate reason for this and let me preface this by saying I’m a gun owner with his concealed carry permit.

Here’s the problem I see…

If they allow any bullets – with gunpowder or not – then that sets a precedent. Then it raises MANY questions:

1) How can you tell if it’s REALLY embedded in acrylic or something simply made to look like there’s no access – plastic coated clear gel for instance? Personally, with the general ineptitude of TSA agents, I don’t want THEM making that judgement call.

2) Judging by the bullet, it looks to be a 22 caliber long rifle. Honestly, not REALLY worrisome on a plane BUT if you allow a 22, where do you draw the line? 357? 9mm? 45? 44 magnum? 50 caliber? And if they’re allowed… how many key chains could you have? 1? 2? 3? A dozen? A dozen 44 magnum bullets on the person behind me might concern me.

3)I could see a terrorist or hijacker, with a few accomplices, and a 3d printer, they could print out a gun, separate it into multiple pieces and divide it between 2-3 people, then on the plane assemble it in the bathroom, break open “fake” acrylic shells to get the rounds and load it into the gun, which while it would only have a couple of shots before being useless could still wreak havoc – one shot could de-pressurize the cabin. By the way, the firing pin would still have to be metal but can easily be hidden within a carry on. It would take all of about 3 minutes to do it.

THAT being said… as an Israeli security recently pointed out about our system, on the X-Rays machines gel inserts look just like plastic explosive and he got through with no problems or questions. So there are probably easier ways for someone who is desperate.

So in this instance, I AM for stopping bullets from going onto planes in the passenger compartment.

On the other hand, I am NOT for stopping monkey puppets with tiny fake guns. Although, as soon as one monkey puppet starts arming itself, then they all start arming and then it escalates and the next thing you know we have armies of monkey puppets with miniature AR-15’s, grenade launchers and who know what else – just lining up to board planes.

And sadly, the monkey puppet army would most likely be more effective than the TSA.

teka says:

Re: Well...

re: #3)

It sounds like a wonderful action movie plot, and would be a thrilling sequence in that movie between the moving speech by the touch-but-fair cop and the crook-with-a-heart-of-gold.

In real reality life planes don’t become wind tunnels or tear apart when a bullet goes through a window or wall. The pressure leaks, the pilots get a little blinking light and it is time to land while everyone is annoyed by the whistling sound and popping ears. This would be on top of the team of would-be hijackers being torn apart by outside the locked cockpit.

Unless, of course, the terrorists are sock-monkeys. Then all bets are off.

Anonymous Coward says:

Better solution

get rid of the TSA…

and put a gun rack full of 9mm pistols for the passengers that care to take one along on the flight. The weapons are returned upon landing at their destination.

Wait for the next terrorist dumb enough to hijack a plane full of passengers with weapons.

People need to realize that if you are not willing to participate in the security of this nation as necessary then you deserve NO FREEDOM! As YOUR SUPERIORS aka police will protect you for you.

it is what the 2nd was all about. people don’t have to be on the ground or in a special club to form a militia at a moments notice to safeguard things. You may be surprised at how fast a nation can come together when they all have to protect each other.

X says:

I feel so safe and fuzzy and warm...

….knowing that intellectual midgets who are one step away from graduating from 9th-grade Special Ed (at age 32) are working for the TSA, I feel so secure now.


It is like giving a retarded 3-year-old a revolver that has been painted pink and sky blue, and telling the child that putting the barrel in their mouth and pulling the trigger will give them candy.

Sad thing is, the TSA screeners actually believe they are making our world safer.

Just like the Republican Party politicians who depend on idiots and morons to be elected to office, the TSA requires it’s “employees” to have in IQ of less than 50, and if they graduated middle school with a grade point average of more than 2.0 they are disqualified.

Yeah…I feel REAL safe with these tools working at airports.

Sad Day says:

TSA is a Joke

I’ve had TSA confiscate a Glock magnet, like of those magnets you put on your fridge. It was a magnet with a picture of a Glock glued onto it. The entire magnet was 3-4 inches in length. The TSA searched my bags and then confiscated it stating that “Firearms are not allowed onto the plane.” I never knew that pictures of firearms were considered Firearms as well. Simply bunch of crap. Stop wasting our time and try to implement regulations that actually make flying safer.

DCL says:

In the middle on this one

While I think it is dumb that the TSA has draconian rules and less then impressive front line workers I kinda see their point here…

The logic I think they use:
– It looks like a duck (in plastic)
– It may sound like a duck but we can’t tell because it is in plastic
– It may smell like a duck but we can’t tell because it is in plastic
=== It passes one of the tests so it must be a duck. That is the safest view.

I do think that it is highly unlikely and dumb for anyone to encase bullets like that… but a terrorist may try it. Personally in this case I don’t I want them the front line workers to determine if the bullets are real, they haven’t shown enough ‘common sense’ for that. I just want better exceptions that the drones can follow.

So it makes sense to me that that rule have an exception that if the object can easily be demonstrated to lack propellent and/or be non functional then it is allowed.

A simple hole drilled in the casing (like for a key ring) is all it takes. For the the manufactures adding a hole before shouldn’t be that much of a burden.

And SHOT can help out too with some publicity pressure.. with a rule that any keychains or items meant to be commonly carried that are sold at the show should meet the TSA guideline exception… A message like that makes the org sound reasonable and reduces friction with non-gun owners.

And at the end of the day it seems that if having a small hole in your bullet key chain (to prove it as non-functional) lets you get on a plane it outweighs the principle of gun rights in this situation (where guns are already banned for good reason).

I find it hard logic path to follow that this change would restrict real situations where where it should be perfectly legal to carry live ammo if you wanted to (in a theater, at a restaurant, at home, while miniature golfing, etc)

On that note… I also think they should allow a non-locking blade if it is less then a 1.5 inches long.

Shawn (profile) says:

In Massachusetts ...

An empty casing is considered ammunition and you are not allowed to possess it without a license to carry…

Section 129C. No person, other than a licensed dealer or one who has been issued a license to carry a pistol or revolver or an exempt person as hereinafter described, shall own or possess any firearm, rifle, shotgun or ammunition unless he has been issued a firearm identification card by the licensing authority pursuant to the provisions of section one hundred and twenty-nine B.

Ammunition?, cartridges or cartridge cases, primers (igniter), bullets or propellant powder designed for use in any firearm, rifle or shotgun. The term ?ammunition? shall also mean tear gas cartridges, chemical mace or any device or instrument which contains or emits a liquid, gas, powder or any other substance designed to incapacitate.

TSORon says:

Yet Still

1,813 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging nearly five firearms per day. Of those, 1,477 (81%) were loaded. Firearms were intercepted at a total of 205 airports with Atlanta (ATL) on top of the list for the most firearms intercepted (111) in 2013. Seems some people have not gotten the memo yet. There was a 16.5% increase (257) in firearm discoveries from last year?s total of 1,556. Is TSA just dealing with more people, or just more dumb people? Sometimes its difficult to tell the difference until the cops are called.

Anonymous Coward says:

.22 rounds encased in acrylic carry “zero” threat, but expecting TSA agents to use logic and make judgment calls on a case by case basis is downright risky. I say that with no disrespect toward TSA staff. The problem is that whenever you sanction personal judgment within an organization that requires a uniform standard, then somebody, somewhere at some time will make a very bad decision. It’s just better to say, “no bullets, no compromise.” I’m with the TSA on this one. That said, I was torqued when they made my wife throw away her “Disney Snow Globes” on our way back from Orlando….the very same ones that they were selling inside the airport gift shop.

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