With Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport seeing almost 46 million visitors each year, TSA agents are bound to regularly come across prohibited items stowed away inside travelers’ carry-on bags.
The types of prohibited items TSA agents see varies day-by-day.
However, because travelers have the option to transport many prohibited items in their checked baggage or mail them home — TSA agents don’t actually seize or confiscate any item that is discovered — agents only collect prohibited items that have been surrendered by their owners.
Firearms, though, are not typically among the items discovered by McCarran’s TSA representatives.
According to TSA’s list of firearms discovered in carry-on bags, about 279 firearms were found at airports across the country throughout the month of May — five of which were at McCarran. The list includes: a loaded (with a round chambered) 9 mm on May 11, an unloaded .40 on May 13, an unloaded .380 on May 14, a loaded .22 on May 21 and a loaded (with a round chambered) 9 mm on May 26.
McCarran didn’t crack the top 10 airports for gun catches in 2015 — Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) led the country with 153 total firearms discovered last year while William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) rounded out the list at 52 firearms.
What types of items do agents see most often at McCarran International Airport?
Agents see some unusual items like bakery rolling pins and power drills.
But, of the 10,000 pounds of prohibited items brought to McCarran Airport each month, knives are among the items most often discovered by security personnel.
At the airport’s A and B security checkpoints, which account for about 16,000 of McCarran’s 76,000 total passengers on Sunday, more than half of the prohibited items surrendered by travelers were knives — from pocket knives to “credit card” knives.
A fair amount of corkscrews were also surrendered to McCarran’s TSA agents due to the blade on the end, which is often used to remove wine labels.
Occasionally, promotional items distributed at trade shows will also trigger security scanners at the Las Vegas airport.
During the Shot Show Convention, attendees were given a keychain-like encased souvenir that contained one round of ammunition inside it.
As a result, to prevent the thousands of show attendees from holding up security lines, airport officials work with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) to warn guests before they go — if you have items like this, make sure it’s in your checked bag.
What happens to confiscated items?
Unlike items that get left in the security area (or throughout the airport in general), which are turned into McCarran’s lost and found inventory, any prohibited item that is surrendered to a TSA agent can not be reclaimed by its owner.
After an item has been voluntarily abandoned, it then becomes government property and is surplussed to the Nevada Department of Administration.
From there, it can be extremely difficult to track down, as these items are often offered in mass surplus auctions.
Contact Caitlin Lilly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find her on Twitter: @caitielilly_