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TSA checkpoint confiscations: What happens to prohibited items?

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

When the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at the Rochester airport discovers prohibited items, including firearms, they don’t actually confiscate them. For instance, a recent case involved a loaded handgun found in a passenger’s carry-on bag.


TSA’s protocol allows travelers several options if they have prohibited items. They can place the item in their checked luggage, return it to their vehicle, hand it over to someone who dropped them off, or in some cases, mail it. Alternatively, they can voluntarily surrender the item to TSA. Surrendered items are then sent to the state for disposal, with most states selling these items in surplus shops and retaining the profits. TSA does not profit from these disposals.

Travelers attempting to pass through checkpoints with firearms face severe penalties, including fines up to $15,000. TSA reminds passengers that firearms are only permissible in checked bags and must be declared at the check-in counter.



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