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back to article Flying in the US? Remember to leave your hand grenades at home

It will not come as explosive news to most sensible travellers, but US airline passengers have been warned to leave their grenades at home when getting on a flight. The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has issued a stern warning to anyone thinking of bringing their favourite handheld bomb on holiday. In a blog …

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In checked baggage

You can carry guns/ammunition in checked baggage but not a joke "take a number" sign shaped like a grenade?

In fact it's become standard practice among film-makers and photographers to pack a gun with heir expensive equipment and declare it - so that it gets special treatment, instead of being stolen by the baggage handlers or TSA.

Houston airport has a huge steel bar surrounded special luggage room just for lugagge with guns

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Re: In checked baggage

In fact it's become standard practice among film-makers and photographers to pack a gun with heir expensive equipment and declare it - so that it gets special treatment, instead of being stolen by the baggage handlers or TSA.

Now that's the best argument I've heard for carrying a gun. Probably not worth the hassle for standard checked luggage though.

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Re: In checked baggage

M7 bayonet, check

M67 fragmentation grenade, check

M84 stun grenade, check

M11 pistol, check

P11 underwater pistol, check

M16A4, check

M590 shotgun, check

M72/A2, check

M19 mine, check

Please proceed to the boarding gate and thank you for flying American..............

The M1A1 Abrams will have to go in the hold Sir, enjoy your flight.

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WTF?

First knives and liquids, now grenades.

Next it'll be fully automatic assault rifles with bayonets. Where will this madness end?

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Indeed, it is exactly this kind of goverment overreach that is strangling the airlines to death. You never known who might be onboard with you and with all these bullshit rules you just can't be safe without weapons. We bought our own plane three years ago. It's just a turboprop but is fitted out very nicely. My pilot doesn't care what I bring on board. I'd suggest you look into a similar arrangement for yourself.

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Re; liquids

The ban on liquids is being phased out in the EU, and should be completely lifted by January 2016.

http://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/air/security/aviation-security-policy/lags_en.htm

In my own personal experiences, airport security is fairly random at the best of times. A couple of examples:

Many many years ago (post Lockerbie, pre 9/11) my girlfriend at the time was returning to the US through Heathrow (she had been living in the UK studying French Patisserie for a year). Going through the security controls, the guy on the x-ray machine told one of his colleagues to check her bag - but neglected to tell him what to check for. The second guy opened it up, rummaged through a few layers of clothes and declared everything was fine. My girlfriend thought nothing more of it. Until she got home and unpacked. Her roll of rather large chef's knives were stuck in the bottom of her carry-on bag.

And secondly, about nine months after 9/11, I was returning back to the UK from Bergamo (very outer Milan) for a weekend with a backpack toting, role-playing guy off to some whatever-it-is-those-folks-go-to in front of me. The backpack was full of chain mail, assorted accessories, and a couple of very large swords sticking out the top. I swear the security guys didn't even bat an eye lid when he went through.

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Re: We bought our own plane three years ago

If you don't mind me asking, what did that set you back, and what does it cost you back on a monthly basis to maintain and keep?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: We bought our own plane three years ago

Microsoft Flight Simulator just lacks the hijack and check in doesn't it.

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Anonymous Coward

I always found these restrictions crazy, they limit what you can take on, but the problem is you can buy a hell of a lot of things after getting past security, so if you really wanted a weapon of some kind on the plane there are plenty of resources to make one...

I may be paranoid, but that does not mean they are not out to get me.....

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SCSI cables

I brought all of my SCSI cables (old and new) in hand-luggage in 2004 or so and the people at security didn't know what to make of them. Computer equipment, I said. I had to take them out of my suitcase because it was already too heavy. It must have looked very impressive on the x-ray machine.

Still, they let me through and I am thankful for that.

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Re: Re; liquids

Ah! You forgot that that was not the swords you were looking for.

In a Jedi mind control sort of way.

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Re: Re; liquids

Ha. You joke........but

Several years ago I read a report from a passenger who smelt petrol. He traced it to the overhead locker where there was a leaking chainsaw.

Apparently the chainsaw had been seen by the security personnel, but had been waved through because a chainsaw was not on the banned list!

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Re: SCSI cables

"I brought all of my SCSI cables (old and new) in hand-luggage in 2004"

I did something like that in 1996 coming back from a conference in Anchorage. At Anchorage I transferred my (company) laptop from my carry-on bag to my briefcase to make it easier to get at, but left the rest of the case and accessories in the other bag. (This was a time when you could bring a bag AND a briefcase on a flight...)

So I got to Seattle to change onto the flight to London, and the X-ray guy there asked to look in my bag because he could see what looked like coils of wire... Oh (Finnish words). I told (and showed) him what was what (power adapter and its cables for the laptop, duh), and he was suddenly much happier. We had a brief laugh about it and off I went.

Or when my dad went through Shannon in southern Ireland during the 1980s, and had to tell the security guy that yes he had coils of wire and a crimping tool...

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Re: Re; liquids

Meanwhile, last month my 10 cm (2 mm head) nail punch got a 1-way ticket to the trashcan. When asked, the bagcheck drone told me "it's metal, Mr". The thing costs 3 bucks so I did not pursue the matter further than pointing out that any one of the 5 pens in the same bag were more likely to be used as an improvised weapon (to which he just replied "yes, but this one is metal"... d'uh, so's my 15 cm aluminum-body mech pencil). If I was in the disposition to try and hijack a plane with my nailpunch, I'd just go and get a glass bottle of anything at the duty-free shop and use that instead. Or I could steal cutlery in any of the post-checkpoint restaurants. Whatev's.

They must appear to serve a purpose, so they pick stuff at semi-random and trash it; at some point lighters were a no-no, but they must have faced enraged smokers so now lighters are OK. I can't really blame the guys, they serve no purpose other than blunting the unemployment stats, if they did not discard some thing or other from time to time to make people feel like they're protected, they would kill themselves. Of course they pick preferably cheap-looking stuff, so as not to cause lengthy heated arguments with the victim. Over the years I've never had anything of significant value discarded by them. A lot of cheap stuff, but nothing even remotely dangerous, mind. Nail clippers, that kind of stuff.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: We bought our own plane three years ago

You have to enter the license code first.

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Windows

"I'd suggest you look into a similar arrangement for yourself."

I'll have my man servant look into that right away.

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Anonymous Coward

"but because the passenger was a soldier a white person"

There, fixed that for you.

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Anonymous Coward

What makes you think the soldier was white? That is a very racist comment, many non whites serve in the military so there is no need to think they were!

Skin colour has nothing to do with profiling... its all about cultures, past travel and if you look shifty..

That is why customs officers are so good at their job, they watch body language to find the people smuggling..

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Re: Skin colour has nothing to do with profiling

Hmm, I'd like to think that that is true, but I'm having serious trouble not doubting it.

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"customs officers are so good at their job, they watch body language to find the people smuggling.."

It's true, I would find it very difficult to walk straight with 20 lbs. of crack up my backside....

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I can't tell if you are trolling or not? Whilst at college, those who studied Law, or something, went America and all brown-skinned men were randomly selected for the security checks. So either skin colour has something to do with profiling, or all middle-eastern looking people look shifty,

...its all about cultures...

Wait, wouldn't that be offensive?

But, of course, you are trolling, right?

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WTF

Isn't a soldier EXACTLY the sort of person to be aware of what a grenade can do, so to pack one in luggage is inexcusable...?

How do you make a mistake and pack a grenade for a flight - I'm pretty sure the US military hand them out to their personnel when they get to the war?

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Re: WTF

Well I once traveled with a bag I had left a knife in the bottom, it got stuck in the folds, and it took me and the security guy 10 minutes to find the bloody thing, nearly missed my plane!

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Re: WTF

"I'm pretty sure the US military hand them out to their personnel when they get to the war"

You are mistaken, here in the USA soldiers have to provide their own hand grenades. Given that they are stocked in all convenience stores right next to the beer this is not a big issue.

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Re: WTF

Hand grenades are extraordinarily stable devices. There is no reasonable chance of accidental detonation and certainly the soldier knew this or would never have put it in his bag in the first place. Hell, you can shoot the things and they won't explode and they are stored and shipped in crates at the munitions plant with nothing but cardboard 'egg carton' padding inside for protection.

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Re: Hand grenades are extraordinarily stable devices

Agree totally. I am convinced that there is no chance for a hand grenade to go off unexpectedly under any circumstances that can happen in a place.

If the reverse were true, you'd have no troop transports containing soldiers with hand grenades. Given the number of men that have been transported in full battle equipment over the years, if hand grenades had a tendancy to go off after a sudden jolt, I think we'd know about it.

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Childcatcher

Re: WTF

How do you make a mistake and pack a grenade for a flight...?

The make-a-mistake part was in quotes, which should give you a hint. There are rooms set aside in most major airports in the US for military personnel on travel. All that I have been in have amnesty boxes where such things can be gotten rid of, no questions asked. Keep in mind that many soldiers are quite young and apt to do foolish things when left to their own devices. They are sent to areas where activities such buying an AK-47 at an open air market are commonplace. They end up with trophies because they are cool. The mistake this soldier made was in not taking advantage of the amnesty box (and in getting caught as a follow-on). I am not going to comment on why that might have happened...

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Facepalm

Oh dear

They're talking about not carrying grenades, I'm OK with that. Yes, the TSA checklist does mention "no explosives" and stiff fines if you do try to sneak 'em aboard. (Though there's a good chance you'd be given the Menezes treatment if the grenade's on your carry-on!)

But replicas? Shouldn't those show up as plastic and definitely not carrying explosive material? Really?

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Re: Oh dear

Ah, but what if it's a plastic grenade made of plastic explosives?

BOOM! MIND BLOWN.

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Re: Oh dear

> But replicas? Shouldn't those show

> up as plastic and definitely not

> carrying explosive material?

Not necessarily. Most replica grenades are actually honest-to-god metal body grenades.

They are typically old training versions, and have a 1/2 inch hole drilled through them, filler removed (natch), and the fuze replaced with a inert version.

We have an M67 version in our office. It has a "Blame" tag attached to the pin. We give it to the person who breaks the build...

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Re: plastic grenade made of plastic explosives?

Those are supposed to be caught by the explosives detectors, not the metal detectors.

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God-given rights

Didn't God give us our constitution which says we can carry tactical nuclear weapons?

Where's the NRA when you need them?

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Re: God-given rights

If it doesn't benefit a firearms manufacturer in the USA (and possibly elsewhere) the NRA wants nothing to do with you.

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It's in the labelling.

If you try to take a box of gunpowder green tea on a flight then they'll confiscate that too, simply because of its name.

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Anonymous Coward

"Dual Purpose Grenades"

I'm intrigued. What else can they be used for?

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Re: "Dual Purpose Grenades"

Obviously, you can either use them to blows things up, or knock things down.

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Re: "Dual Purpose Grenades"

Warfare and fishing.

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Re: "Dual Purpose Grenades"

"Warfare and fishing"

No, we use plain old dynamite for fishing - it's cheaper.

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Happy

Re: "Dual Purpose Grenades"

It is designed for use against infantry as well as light armor.

Meaning it is big enough to cause significant damage to a lightly armored vehicle or semi/improvised hardened position but not so big that it violates the "overkill" provisions of warfare conventions for use against Humans.

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Re: "Dual Purpose Grenades"

Is that not just an Americanism . Like Country and western being both kinds of music

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Re: "Dual Purpose Grenades"

Country music is about home life and western music is about the great outdoors.

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How it happens

This happened to a friend of mine about six months after 9/11, when everyone was still very jumpy.

He had a real grenade that had been rendered inert he kept on his desk as a souvenir from his time in Desert Storm. He was still in the National Guard at the time and thus had a military ID.

Unbeknownst to him, the night before an early morning flight, his son took the grenade off his desk and ended up putting it in his carry on bag he'd packed and set next to his desk. He went through security, they saw it on the Xray, and immediately hustled him into a room for further questioning. Fortunately for him the TSA guy was a former Desert Storm vet himself, could see the grenade was no longer operational, and bought his story, so he still made his flight on time. The grenade was confiscated, however (somehow I bet the TSA guy ended up taking it home)

Obviously he wouldn't have deliberately packed a grenade, live or otherwise, but sometimes strange things happen when you have kids. I'll bet he checks the contents of his carry on before leaving to this day :)

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Re: the night before an early morning flight,

Right there is where you run afoul of the questions and regs at check-in. One of the questions they ask is whether or not you packed your bag and whether or not it has been under your control since you packed it. In this case the truthful answer is 'No' even though he thought it was. Yes, it is a hyper-legal point; but it's what they'll nail you on if you fight them. No, I don't like it any more than the rest of you do. I'd rather we did away with the theater show and had real security.

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One question

Just who legally has access to live grenades? It's pretty much one of four types of people: police, military, criminals or a specially licensed person such as a manufacturer. Grenades are classed as "destructive devices" in 26 USC § 5845 and it isn't exactly legal for the average Joe to pick one up at Wally-World.

The toys, lighters and inert replicas aren't grenades and is just the TSA whinging because the screener was embarrassed over peeing their pants and/or it caused a big hullabaloo in the terminal delaying other people from moving on and perhaps missing flights. IMO the TSA is perfectly right in complaining about it and people dumb enough to be carrying fake grenades should be pulled aside and questioned about whether they are intellectually capable of boarding an airplane for about 24 hours.

All that said, considering there were roughly 180 million air travelers, 83 grenades carried by 83 or, more likely, fewer people, the blog is little more than poking fun at that witless few.

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one of four types of people

Eddy, regarding that third type of person who has legal access to live grenades — I suppose that it’s only the better-connected sort?

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Facepalm

Re: one of four types of people

D'oh! Must proofread more betterishly!

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Re: One question

Grenades are around. Troops bring ammunition home all the time, especially National Guard troops where they don't have to fly to or from their armory. Guard troops are also the number one source of tracer rounds. There are controls on explodey stuff, but there's just so much of it everywhere it is impossible to maintain accurate inventories or prevent it from walking off.

In the big cash for guns roundups out west this year people brought live grenades, live mortar shells, at least one live tank round and two shoulder fired rockets.

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two shoulder fired rockets !!

Wow. Just wow.

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Re: two shoulder fired rockets !!

I have never forgotten seeing a LAW on the wall in the firearms section of the main Gart Bros store in Denver back in 91 or 92. Apparently it was considered a hunting weapon.

"Look ... a moose"

BOOM

<holds up shreds>

"Got em."

As for the rest, I recall flying back from Japan in 94 or 96 with a carry on bag full of interesting items.

On being stopped by the scanner, he opens my bag, pulls out several throwing stars, a folding knife, a polycarbonate knife allegedly designed not to show up on xrays, a set of brass knuckles, several thousand BB rounds and a few other similar things my military obsessed homestay had given as mementos. He then pulls out my old all metal pentax SLR & lens boxes, looks them over, and puts everything back in and I board the flight.

Apparently all that simply indicated "teenage male" and was classed as harmless fun in the days of airport sanity. Still have most of them lying in drawers back at the family home I think.

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Re: one of four types of people

Sadly in a true perversion of the law, according to a SCOTUS ruling, a convicted felon who has been released form jail can refuse to answer questions about carrying weapons and you can't hold it against him. Otherwise its constitutes self-incrimination.

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