A man flying through Baltimore-Washington International Airport was found with a missile launcher in his checked baggage, Washington's WRC-TV reports. And no, that's not allowed.
First, the good news: the device was not live. The bad news, for the traveler anyway, was that it was confiscated, tested for explosive residue, then sent to the state fire marshal to be disposed of.
When the device turned up on the security agency's X-ray machines, officers were dispatched to track down the traveler and ask him some questions. As it turns out, it was all rather innocent -- mostly. The man, identified only as a male traveler from Jacksonville, Texas, said he was an active-duty military member returning from Kuwait. He said he wanted to keep the device as a souvenir.
TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein suggested that perhaps the traveler could have brought back some other souvenir.
"Perhaps he should have picked up a keychain instead!"Fortunately for the traveler, his answers satisfied the TSA agents, and he was allowed to catch his flight.
The TSA takes weapons very seriously, and that includes military weaponry, even if it's disabled.
Not for nothing, the military takes a dim view of its servicemen and women bringing home "souvenirs" from their service. As Stars and Stripes explains, what service members can and can't bring home is strictly regulated, to put it mildly.For example, any and all weaponry is forbidden, and that even extends as far as spent shell casings. Troops also can't bring home personal property seized from enemy combatants, such as their letters or photos. Also forbidden is bringing back plants, animals, sand or soil from the where the serviceman or woman served; or any scientific, religious, archaeological or historical relics.
So what can troops bring back from their tours of duty? Non-personal and non-weapon effects from enemies, such as their uniforms or patches; flags and such; or bric-a-brac that they purchased from a vendor (and for which they can provide a receipt). And of course, all souvenirs are subject to the approval of the commander.
Meanwhile, a missile launcher may not be the most alarming thing that a passenger has tried to bring on-board an airplane. There's always contraband, such as drugs, stolen money, or in more heartbreaking cases, exotic animals. According to Mental Floss, agents have also found his-and-her wedding-themed hand grenades; multiple fake bombs; and a prop Freddy Krueger hand (it had blades on it, so it couldn't be brought on-board as a carry-on).