PORTLAND, Ore. – Next time you fly out of PDX, please leave your throwing stars at home.
That’s the message Oregon Transportation Security Administration Director Mike Irwin wants to pass along to the thousands of people who come through Portland International Airport every day.
Irwin said his agents confiscate throwing stars every other day at security checkpoints, and those aren’t the only weapons coming through.
“[We see] all forms of weapons: modern weapons, antique weapons. Just about everything,” Irwin said. “Hidden knives, credit card knives, lipstick knives. If you can imagine it, it’s come through the airport.”
In the TSA office at PDX, Irwin has laid out a table full of these items, including a belt with a saw hidden in the buckle, several hollowed-out grenades and a flare.
But he’s most worried about the guns.
“You know, we’re getting one [gun] every other week or so. And the problem is two-thirds of these are loaded,” Irwin said.
But Irwin doesn’t believe people are trying to hurt anyone on the plane.
“For the most part it’s just people forgetting they have [the weapons]. Particularly the guns. Because we interview everybody,” Irwin said.
“The federal budget is being squeezed so we’re going to have less people next year,” Irwin said, referring to the number of agents he’ll have available to staff checkpoints at PDX.
But don’t count on that making it any easier to sneak weapons through, he said.
“Technology will continue to increase as we decrease the number of people we have to have under the federal budget. And actually increase our detection capability. Our X-rays are getting better,” Irwin said.