grenade launcher TSA juggage
Courtesy TSA and AP
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TSA grenade launcher luggage
(Transportation Security Administration via AP)

The TSA finds hundreds of firearms in luggage every year. But this . . .

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A Florida man’s plans to bring a military rocket-propelled grenade launcher back home were shot down after security screeners at a Pennsylvania airport spotted the non-functioning weapon in his checked bag.

The Transportation Security Administration says the unassembled parts of the launcher and a replica grenade were found on Monday when an alarm went off as the bag passed through security equipment at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown, about 60 miles (96 kilometers ) north of Philadelphia.

The man, from St. Augustine, was stopped by police and told officials he thought he could bring the non-functioning launcher onboard in a checked bag.

The items were confiscated and he was able to catch his flight to Orlando.

TSA says no realistic or replica weapons of a military nature are allowed onto airplanes.


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  1. the TSA lies, then. their own web site says replica weapons are allowed in checked baggage.

    • I’ve flown with real (declared, unloaded & cased) firearms in checked baggage. Why wouldn’t a replica be OK?

      • Probably because this wasn’t declared. That’s a demerit right there. There’s also the fact that it’s a replica grenade. We can say “replica” here and the whole affair just seems silly, but on site at the airport, where you have to make the go/no-go call on a grenade, it’s different. If it turned out to be real and had blown a hole in the fuselage, no one in here would have rushed to defend the TSA for giving the passenger the benefit of the doubt that he wasn’t a terrorist.

        TSA agents are not munitions experts. Looks like a live grenade? Close enough. It’s confiscated. Jack wagon is lucky he wasn’t arrested. Overreaction? Perhaps, but certainly a realistic prospect.

        • it’s not just airports…they recently evacuated our court house because some had one of those dummy grenade gag gifts…the one that says “complaint dept..take a number”….with the #1 attached to the pin…we’ve all seen those…except our sheriff’s dept, apparently…

        • They have fancy scanners they could simply have run the replica grenade through – either that or give it a tap, since it’s clearly (from the color of the separated halves) either wood or a foam casting.

          Expecting the TSA to know how to operage their own explosives detectors is simply asking too much I guess!

  2. Because Replica’s are just as dangerous looking as real weapons & democraps.

  3. Some TSA guards are stupid and can’t speak proper English, don’t know their own f’ing rules and should be fired. A TSA guard who spoke very little English and wore a headscarf and physically appeared to be middle eastern asked my son in his PlayStation III that was crammed into his backpack “Is that a computer?”. Huge words “Sony” and Playstation III all over it… Son said “no but it has a computer inside it… it’s a game console”. TSA woman… “You have to open it then”… Son… “It can’t open, it’s a game player” TSA woman… “Then you can’t take it on the plane”. Son… “Dad?” Me… waves over older white appearing man who looked tired… gave him a sit rep… Older guy told Fatima that he would take care of it. When she was out of sight, he quietly apologized to us, told us to go quickly and mumbled something about the TSA hiring process.

    • TSA where I live is desperate for manpower. They are actively advertising for new hires, and I hear current employees are getting a ~20% retention bonus.

      I suspect they lost a lot of TSA employees during the shutdown because they weren’t getting paid.

      • After reading the blog “Taking Sense Away” from a former TSA staff member, you get the impression that any TSA staffer who tries to follow the rules while applying common sense and discretion is very quickly removed from their role. But someone who poorly educated, has a big chip on their shoulder, is pretty, vindictive, and spiteful, likes feeling up little children, elderly, and pretty girls, and finally will add people to the no-fly list for kicks is guaranteed a long career.

        And the rot goes to the top with the senior managers having delusions of grandeur of being a pre-eminent three-letter agency.

  4. You have to wonder how many weapons actually do get past them. On a side note, recently a TSA agent confiscated my $2 survival multitool card. I asked why and the dude said, “see that 3/8″ sharp edge and sharp tip? It’s considered a knife.” I said thanks for keeping us safe.

    • I’ve had that exact one happen to me. Had flown with it atleast 20 times before this one dude said something.

      Told him he has a useless butthole. It wasn’t even sharp and sure not dangerous.

    • recently got busted for one of those credit card knives I forgot was in my wallet…actually complimented that deputy for his thoroughness…..

  5. I guess a lot of TSA people are like some cops that don’t know the law either. I’m not anti cop , this is just an observation from over the years. I quit flying when they started the TSA abuse.

  6. The TSA officer always has discretion to reject an item in checked or carry on luggage. At least until somebody raises a ruckus and sometime after the ruckus a new rule is issued allowing the item after all. At which point the local TSA officer can still say “No, I have the authority to reject any item”, even if you wave the TSA’s own published rules in his or her face.

    See the note after the second paragraph:

    Realistic replicas of explosive or flammable devices are prohibited in checked or carry on luggage. See page 4:

    Replica firearms are okay in checked luggage.

    I kinda’ doubt the replica RPG launcher would be considered a replica firearm by the TSA. A replica destructive device maybe.

    • “..The TSA officer always has discretion”

      Which is *precisely* the problem with TSA and why they need to be disbanded now!

      The rules say A is allowed. The agent at the checkpoint has ‘discretion’ to say A is not allowed. You have no recourse because the TSA can, at their whim, decided what is and is not allowed.

      The only thing the TSA is authorized to do is disband.

    • “The TSA officer always has discretion to reject an item in checked or carry on luggage.”

      The TSA officer can use his/her discretion when screening an item. But THE FINAL DECISION FOR ANY SUSPICIOUS ITEM is a supervisor or higher call. This is why there are so many inconsistencies at every airport. A tube of toothpaste passes through LAX but not Miami. Each airport has it’s own interpretation of policies and procedures.

      Remember, TSA is not law enforcement. They cannot arrest you for anything. They can detain you but they must call an LEO to make an arrest or to escort you out of the airport. They are basically customer services agents with a badge. It is security theater and their dramatizations are government interference at it’s finest.

  7. You folks not familiar with Allentown International Airport have to know that it is “International” in that they occasionally fly to Canada. It is a rather small regional airport. I live in the general area and have tried to book flights from there, but they load you up in a shuttle bus to either Newark, JFK or Philly and charge you a couple of hundred dollars extra for the bus ride. I am somewhat amazed that the TSA agents there would even recognize a grenade launcher, replica or not. I would have bet money that they would have identified it as a plumbing tool and let it go thru.

  8. Hey! I have one of those. Its not really a replica, but rather a de-milled Russian RPG 2. Note the large hole just above the trigger. The “bomb” is an empty plastic nosecone type deal. These were used during the cold war era – first being adapted in 1954, and still seen during early Vietnam period.

    Its basically a cool but useless conversation piece – the only damage it could do were it you hit someone with it …

  9. Isn’t Sarco near there? They advertise those trainer /demilled RPGs in firearms news. Also I think the fear of bringing replica weapons is someone might try and bluff with one for a hijacking.

    • “..the fear of bringing replica weapons is someone might try and bluff with one for a hijacking.”

      Except first, checked baggage. People are in the top of the plane, checked bags are in the bottom of the plane. Only in the movies is there a way to ‘sneak’ down there.

      And second, if you see a replica grenade in someone’s bag while on the aircraft and your first though is ZOMG! then you don’t trust the TSA anymore than I do. If you actually trusted the TSA to do what they say they do then your first thought should be ‘that person was screened so that must be one of those customer-service joke things where it says take a number, that couldn’t be a real grenade because we have the TSA looking out for us.’

      And then my personal rant…. how can anyone who supports the 2A be in anyway supportive of the TSA? The very existence of the TSA is a gross violation of our 1, 2, 4, and 5th Amendment rights. The only thing the TSA is constitutionally authorized to do is disband.

      • Spot on, and…

        “And then my personal rant…. how can anyone who supports the 2A be in anyway supportive of the TSA? The very existence of the TSA is a gross violation of our 1, 2, 4, and 5th Amendment rights. The only thing the TSA is constitutionally authorized to do is disband.”


        • “The only thing the TSA is constitutionally authorized to do is disband!”
          Yes, and I would add,
          The only thing the BATFE is constitutionally authorized to do is disband!
          And you could say the same for a lot of other governmental alphabet agencies, especially the TLA’s (Three Letter Acronyms).

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