Hartsfield screeners confiscate about 250 weapons per day

By Justin Reedy

Federal security screeners have confiscated more than 16,000 prohibited objects n ranging from knives to bullwhips to pepper spray n from travelers passing through Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport in the last two months.

Despite warnings to travelers after 9/11 about bringing sharp objects and other restricted items onto commercial airliners, security personnel have collected an average of about 250 such items each day during the last two months, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

Since April 1, TSA screeners have confiscated four firearms, about 13,000 sharp objects such as scissors, knives or box cutters, more than 2,000 tools such as drills, wrenches or pliers, about 800 flammables or irritants, like fireworks or pepper spray, and more than 100 miscellaneous "dangerous objects," such as cattle prods, brass knuckles or spear guns.

With so many items still being found on airline passengers, people should try to be more aware of what items aren't allowed onboard commercial airliners, according to TSA spokeswoman Yolanda Clark.

"As we enter the summer travel season, we encourage travelers to visit the TSA Web site and follow those guidelines," Clark said.

Tips for air travelers, as well as a comprehensive list of permitted and restricted items, can be found on either of the agency's Web sites, www.tsatraveltips.us or www.tsa.gov.

The TSA has several recommendations for airline travelers this summer to prevent problems at airport security checkpoints. For instance, people taking golf clubs should clean their club heads before traveling since some golf course fertilizers can set off explosive detection equipment.

In addition, some types of sporting goods and camping gear, ranging from baseball bats to pocket knives, are restricted to checked luggage only. Though summer is fireworks season, recreational pyrotechnics and other incendiary devices are not allowed on airplanes in either checked or carry-on luggage. Up to two packs of safety matches or butane lighters are allowed in a carry-on bag, but "torch" lighters are not allowed at all.

Most sharp objects are not allowed in travelers' carry-on baggage, though safety razors and blunt scissors are not restricted. Many tools, such as screwdrivers, saws and hammers, are allowed in checked bags only.