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TSA and Tacpens

Reader reports that TSA has come out against tactical pens:

When is a pen not just a pen? The answer is when it doubles as a potential weapon.

A TSO at Palm Beach International (Fla.) was working the X-ray machine when he came across an anomaly on the screen and called for a search of a passenger’s backpack. Inside, the responding Officer discovered a tactical pen, used commonly by law enforcement as a defense tool with its sharp aluminum-based point on one end and blunt portion on the other.

A Supervisory TSO confirmed that item was a prohibited item. The police responded and issued the passenger a criminal summons to appear in court – under the state statute – for carrying a concealed weapon. He was cleared for travel and there were no flight delays.

I will note that even after I was pulled aside for being a smart ass err additional security measures, that TSA missed my TacPen. And my multitool.

25 Responses to “TSA and Tacpens”

  1. mike w. Says:

    The police responded and issued the passenger a criminal summons to appear in court – under the state statute – for carrying a concealed weapon.

    Huh? A tactical pen is considered a “weapon” under FL law? Wow.

  2. wizardpc Says:

    This, and possession of a handcuff key getting you 5 years in the state penn, makes me never want to visit Florida ever again.

  3. SayUncle Says:

    Really? I carry a handcuff key on my keychain.

  4. Gunmart Says:

    And what about those high dollar steel pens that are not marketed as “tac-pens” (They can still do some damage)…. are we now just gonna outlaw pens on a plane?

    The terrorists idiots have won!

  5. Weer'd Beard Says:

    TSA couldn’t catch a cold.

    Disband them TODAY! at this point we should settle for nothing less.

  6. anon Says:

    Somebody must have watched ‘Grosse Point Blank’ the night before…

  7. Gunmart Says:

    I mentioned it in that other post but here it is again….

    There is a tactical laser pointer out now:

  8. alan Says:

    “Tactical Pen” is a marketing gimmick. ANY pen can penetrate skin and can be used as a weapon. Those cheap plastic Bics are nice because you can splinter them and you have a nice sharp edge too.

    Another day, another TSA failure.

  9. mikee Says:

    The airlines still issue steak knives in first class when the filet mignon is served for dinner, and the economy passengers still get regular dinner knives. Good luck with all that security stuff, folks!

  10. dustydog Says:

    We’re 9 months out from shackling everyone at the security point. In 2 years it’ll be strait jackets and Hannibal Lector masks.

  11. falnfenix Says:

    Alan beat me to it – next up, TACTICAL PENCILS OMG THEY’RE DEADLY OMG.

  12. John Richardson Says:

    I carried one of the Stainless Steel Sharpie markers the last time I flew. I thought it would be less obvious than the Cold Steel Sharkie yet still work about the same.

    I think it is strong enough to make a good blunt striking tool like a kubaton or a yawara stick.

  13. Phelps Says:

    I never have any problem getting through with this:

    Or with this:

    Both go through the X-ray machine.

  14. Phelps Says:

    Actually, I’m looking forward to the day that they try to tell me that my Sharkie can’t go through. “Let me get this straight — now you are violating the fourth and first amendments?”

  15. Phelps Says:

    The airlines still issue steak knives in first class when the filet mignon is served for dinner, and the economy passengers still get regular dinner knives. Good luck with all that security stuff, folks!

    Actually, they don’t, Mikey. I’ve been in Business class a few times, and all the meals are some sort of pre-cut thing, like steak and peppers. Economy doesn’t even get utensils anymore, it’s all finger food.

    Is the world you live in anything like the one the rest of us have to share?

  16. Greedy Gun Runner Says:

    Once again the TSA misses the whole point. I guess I will just have to switch my tacpen to a 6″ screw driver….

  17. trackerk Says:

    Uh, he was issued a criminal summons for carrying a concealed weapon, but still allowed to fly? WTF? If they really thought he or his pen were a danger would they really have allowed him to fly? I’d say the guy should call the TSA as a witness at trial.

  18. trackerk Says:

    This appears to be the guy’s attorney, but still no details about the case.

  19. Linoge Says:

    Flying out of Charlotte two Sundays ago, my backpack got pinged for an additional run through the x-ray machine, and then a human inspection. I have gotten into the habit of hanging all of my pockets’ contents off of its molle straps, and it was full of all the stuff we do not feel comfortable checking (cameras, CF cards, batteries, etc.), so it could have been damned near anything that attracted attention… We got over to the table, and the TSA weenie started pawing through the pockets, and repeatedly started coming up blank – I asked him what he was after, and he held his fingers about 6 inches apart, and said, “Something about this long, round, and metal.” Fearing the worst, I realized what he was after, pulled my County Comm Embassy Elite pen (which, as Gunmart observes, is not marketed as a “tactical pen”, but might as well be) off the shoulder strap of the bag, and offered it to him.

    Without even taking it, he asked, “What is that?” I unscrewed the top, and said, “A pen.” He blinked once or twice, took it from me, commented on how heavy it was, scribbled with it on a piece of paper, and went, “Huh.” Closing up my bag again, he took everything back over to the x-ray operator, who agreed that it was, and I quote, “A very nice pen,” and then ran my backpack through the machine a third time (’cause I could have snuck anything in there), before handing everything back to me, pen included.

    That was the first time in American, French, Irish, and Slovenian security where the pen attracted any attention whatsoever.

    Now, the County Comm version is one of the tamer ones out there, possessing neither points (aside from the pen tip), nor crenelations, nor anything even remotely sharp, but it is heavy, it is machined out of solid stainless steel (something I even pointed out to the TSA agent), and it is of a very convenient size. On a similar note, my NiteCore Extreme Infinity flashlight does have crenelations on it, and no one has ever cared.

    Every single pen in existance, and most pencils, “doubles as a potential weapon” – the TSA are idiots for making an issue out of this, and the Florida police/law are/is doubly idiots for giving the passenger the summons.

  20. CarlS Says:

    TSA “copping” an attitude. Idiots! You don’t need a “tacpen”. Any pen will do. Or pencil, if passengers follow law enforcement advice and “just give them what they want. Do not resist or you might get hurt.” Now, a question: Can I use the TSA excuse? “I’m just following orders, officer, and Yer Honor.” The last official orders I received were to continue to use my training, skills, and experience to support and defend the Constitution. Not the president, not the court system, not law enforcement … well, you get the picture, I hope. So, will the Nürnberg Defense work for me? In a U.S. Court?

  21. Lesane Says:

    Greedy Gun Runner beat me to it on #16, but I checked the TSA site for prohibited items, and did not see anything that the Tac Pen would fit into the category of. I did however see that I could CARRY ON a SCREWDRIVER as long as it is less than 7 inches. Really TSA? My pen is an issue!?

  22. deadcenter Says:

    You’ll notice that TSA didn’t charge him with anything. They just pulled the old BATF circus trick of trying to get the guy punished under local law. (refusing FFLs because of local zoning) Even if that didn’t work in the end. I would LOVE to see the cops and TSA be liable for the lawyers fees for everyone when they pull this crap.

  23. Greedy Gun Runner Says:

    @Phelps American Airlines has cheap metal butter knives in first class.

    @SayUncle in Florida you can’t carry a “concealed” cuff key with intent to escape. On your keychain is fine

  24. Greedy Gun Runner Says:

    Actually I just tell the TSA that its not a taciCAL pen its a tactiCOOL pen!

    Or tell them its a CROCHET NEEDLE with built in pen. Since the TSA lets grandma can carry a 9″ metal tactical crochet spike.

  25. Paul Says:

    My ‘tactical’ pen is an all steel pen I got from a secretary at a hospital. It is marked “Viagra”.

    It is quite heavy and erect… and I bet that label will get lots of laughs from the TSA goons as they let me through with it. That and my E2D defender flashlight.

Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.

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