TSA Misses Loaded Gun Inadvertently Left In Passenger’s Computer Bag

As if all the stories about body scanners and crotch-grabbing weren’t enough to cause you to question the effectiveness of the TSA, here’s a story from Houston where they missed an actual weapon as it made its way through their security scans:

Houston businessman Farid Seif says it was a startling discovery. He didn’t intend to bring a loaded gun on a flight out of Houston and can’t understand how TSA screeners didn’t catch it.

Nearing the height of last year’s Christmas travel season, TSA screeners at Bush Intercontinental Airport somehow missed a loaded pistol, one that was tucked away inside a carry-on computer bag.

“I mean, this is not a small gun,” Seif said. “It’s a .40 caliber gun.”

Seif says it was an accident which he didn’t realize until he arrived at his destination. He says he carries the glock for protection but forgot to remove it from his bag. He reported the incident as soon as he landed, shocked at the security lapse.

“There’s nothing else in there. How can you miss it? You cannot miss it,” Seif said.

Authorities tell ABC News the incident is not uncommon, but how often it occurs is a closely guarded government secret. Experts say every year since the September 11 attacks, federal agencies have conducted random, covert tests of airport security.

A person briefed on the latest tests tells ABC News the failure rate approaches 70 percent at some major airports. Two weeks ago, TSA’s new director said every test gun, bomb part or knife got past screeners at some airports.

“It’s very concerning. I’m very scared. First of al, I can’t even believe it could happen,” traveler Joy Mansfield said.

“It makes you wonder what exactly all the security hoopla is all about if a loaded gun can go through,” traveler Leeza Erfesoglou said.

Indeed, it does make you wonder. Although I guess that things would’ve been different if Seif had hidden the gun in an area that would’ve been subject to TSA groping.

H/T: Radley Balko

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Trumwill says:

    Incidentally, I got the Freedom Grope on my flight down to visit home. It was really an apologetic sort of thing. It’s unlikely to have found anything of the sort they are supposed to be looking for if it were moderately well hidden.

  2. But, of course, the TSA knows exactly what they are doing and so we should implicitly trust all of their policies!

  3. sam says:

    The guy’s an Iranian. Wait a minute, a law of nature’s been violated.