Shotgun shell lights and other similar items keep TSA agents busy


Spear guns, knives, inert grenades, stun guns and loaded 9-millimeter handguns. The holidays brings no letup in the number of real or replica weapons that Transportation Security Administration officers uncover at airport checkpoints.

But finding them is more of a challenge at this time of year with the swelling volume of bags, many filled with food and novelties.

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Take the Christmas lights made of green and red shotguns shells that were recently discovered in a carry-on bag at Newark Liberty International Airport.

“Nothing says happy holidays like Christmas lights shaped like shotgun shells,” joked TSA spokesman Nico Melendez. The TSA prohibits passengers from packing ammunition, live or not, in carry-on bags.

Neither the TSA nor Airlines for America, the trade group for the nation’s airlines, could guess how many more bags the average passenger carries during the holidays but the Automobile Assn. of America predicts that the total number of holiday travelers across the country will be the highest in six years.

“All year long we get crazy items that come through the security checkpoints,” Melendez said. “The challenge is the number of people coming through the checkpoints and all the stuff they bring.”


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