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No more tactical pens for air travel

Discussion in 'Travel' started by jzmtl, Oct 14, 2010.

  1. DBR

    DBR Loaded Pockets

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    Yes it can, so can a pencil.

    Years ago, way before the "tactical pen craze," there was a patent applied for, for rubber bodied pens that prisoners could not assault staff and other prisoners with. The use of a pen as a weapon has been around for a long, long time.

    Tak Kubota, inventor of the Kubotan, his first idea was "pen fighting." Using a pen. He couldn't find a good enough pen so he invented the Kubotan which is just a minimized Yawara. Further, a fan of his at Maglite designed the Mini-Maglite to be used as a Kubotan flashlight. Kubotans were banned by the FAA for YEARS when you could still carry a folding knife onboard if it was non-serrated and under four inch blade length.

    Really? It might surprise you to learn that the first TSA Screeners were all holdovers from all of the private security companies that worked in the airport for years. They basically made low-wage, no benefit morons into Feds with the stroke of a pen. All of them that then wanted to be a pseudofed (pardon the pun, it was fully intended) and get much better pay and bennies just had to pass another background check. Voila! A workforce was created.
     
  2. davem

    davem Loaded Pockets

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    The OP noted the traveler was cited for concealing a weapon while going through airport security. While I personally would never choose to carry an overtly "weaponized" tactical pen on a plane, the question remains, has the slippery slope been breached? We ARE talking about a pen...I wonder why TSA didn't just confiscate it? Will my Muzzuoli Officina pen be next? It has an aluminum body.....
     
  3. benjisimon

    benjisimon Loaded Pockets

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    I agree. If I had to guess, I'd say there was probably something a bit more significant going on here than just presence of the pen itself. A few flights ago the I had one of those steel credit card multi-purpose tooly thingies taken from me during the screening process. The screener simply told me it wasn't allowed through and asked me if I wanted to ship it or have it confiscated. He wasn't angry or implied I was trying to sneak something past security.

    Heck, a few times before that incident, the woman in front of me had her bag passed through the scanner and the agent told her it contained something inappropriate. At first she was confused, and then a lightbulb went off in her head. The man then appeared to pull a large knife looking object (looked to me to be the shape of a bread knife - though, I didn't get a good look at what it was) from her bag and confiscated it. The woman was free to go without any further questioning.

    Just wonder if there's more to the story here.
     
  4. shrap

    shrap Loaded Pockets

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    The TSA agent might have felt the traveler was trying to "sneak something past" security with their "weapon that masquerades as a pen". That would be similar to carrying those plastic "CIA letter openers" - there's no legit reason to carry one. Whereas someone carrying a SAK or chef's knife can blame forgetfulness for carrying a dangerous but innocent weapon.

    I'm not agreeing with the decision, but in that context a tactical pen would be worse than a 10" chef knife in the eyes of the law.
     
  5. benjisimon

    benjisimon Loaded Pockets

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    Unless, you're say, briging it as a gift to someone you're visiting.

    I see what you mean - and that's as good a theory as to what happened as anything else.
     
  6. DBR

    DBR Loaded Pockets

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    It's not about "terrorism" or "terrorists." It's about controlling the Citizenry.

    I knew the person that started that particular craze, of carrying Officinas as impact weapons. I used to have the little article on my website and I took it down for other reasons. That's another story altogether unrelated to this.

    There was a person, using the term because I cannot use another, more colorful term on here, named Bart Bjorkman if I remember correctly, who went around to several forums and was gathering all of the information that he could on various items like this. He assembled a book and published it and sold it as a guide to law enforcement. Look it up. He even contacted some Knifemakers who made various things that were not knives so people could defend themselves in certain environments and he did so under false pretenses as a customer, just to gain more information to rat out his fellow man.

    I think we are at the point in our development as a society where we should know what the deal is. When you enter a logic free zone, don't even try to figure out why you are being singled out by illogical, unreasonable and irrational people.

    The really sad thing in these stories is, we hold up some of the passengers of Flight 93 as heroes and then we turn right around and take any tool, no matter how innocuous, away from good people that could potentially be used in a lifesaving manner. Now, that strikes the thinking person as being madness until you realize that this is not about making us safer, it is just more control freak behavior from a bureaucracy gone berserk. If you put a bureaucracy in place, it is going to start doing what it is told to do. Sometimes you will get through with a penlight, for example, other times you will not and you will be charged or at the very least you will have the item confiscated. Which also makes the government money because they sell the stuff on E-bay or sell it to someone who then sells it on E-bay and that has been going on for years, too.
     
  7. Monocrom

    Monocrom Loaded Pockets

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    But "tactical" pens are indeed pens. They're not pieces of metal shaped to look like a metal pen with a clip attached. Having once worked as a High-end pen salesman, I can tell you that one of the best balanced pens I've ever used for writing is the Schrade pen. (Original model, not version II that was recently released.)

    I can write hours with it with no fatigue at all. And I do that on a nightly basis while taking notes at the medical institue I attend. Point is, it is indeed a pen . . . and a surprising good one too.

    This whole thing is silly beyond belief. I'd expect this to unfold in an episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

    "Excuse me Sir, you cannot bring that weapon on board."

    "But that's my pen."

    "No it's not, it's a weapon pretending to be a pen."

    "But it actually writes. Ink comes out of it."

    "It's a dangerous weapon and I'm confiscating it."

    "Right! Too silly! I'm putting an end to this sketch. Far too silly."

    That's when the military officer enters. The disturbing part is that this is the reality that goes on everyday. And no one is stepping in to stop it.
     
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  8. DBR

    DBR Loaded Pockets

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    Same can be said for flashlights. It's also a flashlight. Doesn't matter to control freaks.
     
  9. shrap

    shrap Loaded Pockets

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    It's up to the judgement of the TSA agent (or judge, if you want to go that far) to decide what is a normal "tough" pen and what was designed for self defense but masquerades as a pen in order to avoid detection. This isn't a new thing: the same discussion happens when we try to classify "assault weapon" and "illegal drug". For both of these, because we don't seem to trust people's judgement and there's no way people will agree, we have long excruciating and pointless laws about the exact definition of an "assault weapon" and it's features - bayonet lug, overall length, folding stocks, and so on. For the latter we have a whole department of government that decides what can be sold safely over the counter and what requires a prescription, schedule 1/2, etc.

    This isn't silly, this is completely expected. We've been dealing with this stuff our entire lives - in every country., I'm kind of surprised you all haven't realized that by now. We'll never get to the point where we can agree what a "pen" is and what is a brick taped to a Bic. You can moan about how irrational it all is but it shouldn't be surprising.
     
  10. DBR

    DBR Loaded Pockets

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    I'm not really surprised by it and I do expect it. I'm not "moaning" about it, either.
     
  11. Monocrom

    Monocrom Loaded Pockets

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    No, it's completely silly. Having worked security for nearly 5 years, I'm not surprised that stupidity and silly rules exist out there. But this particular level of retardation is indeed very surprising. And it is indeed silly because any metal pen can be used to strike someone. So can a clear plastic Bic.

    Having gathered a nice collection of tactical pens, mainly because I like pens, I can honestly say that there's nothing weapon-pretending-to-be-a-pen special about them. The majority have a flat top, tapered barrel. That's common as dirt in the "regular" world of pens. Nothing remotely special to them for use as a weapon. But by banning them, the TSA can pretend that they're doing something to combat terrorism. It's something they can hold up to an ignorant public, and pretend that they are effective at preventing violence on planes. A way of pretending that safety has been maintained. And that's pretty much it.

    As for what is a pen . . .

    "Right! Too silly! Everyone knows what a pen is. I'm putting an end to this post."
     
  12. DBR

    DBR Loaded Pockets

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    The TSA is to terrorism as Barney Fife is to violent crime in Mayberry. A degree of lunacy not often seen.
     
  13. bud760
    • In Omnia Paratus

    bud760 Loaded Pockets

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    never got into the whole tactical pen craze. i do have a flashlight that i have brought into flights many times and never got in trouble. sometimes i can see the guy give my bag a second look on the x-ray machine look at me with a stink eye but can't really do anything :laugh:
     
  14. indigo_wolf

    indigo_wolf AKA Breezy

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    Kubotans I understand, they are what they are, with little or no apologies. Tactical pens not so much. It just seems to mimic like the escalation cycle that develops between speed radar and radar detectors.

    Some favored Pens/Pencils (All owned between 10-20 years):

    Faber-Castell TK-Matic
    [​IMG]

    Rotring Initial Ballpoint

    [​IMG]
    Rotring Initial Rollerball

    [​IMG]
    Pelikan Pharo
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    ATB,
    Sam
     
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  15. Monocrom

    Monocrom Loaded Pockets

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    A quick trip to Staples, Office Max, Office depot . . . All will yield excellent non-tactical pens that work well for S.D. and can be carried onto a plane.
     
  16. DBR

    DBR Loaded Pockets

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    The stainless steel bodied Sharpie marker is an excellent version of the Sharpie. I almost don't want to say that on a forum for fear it will end up on the list as well.
     
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  17. Monocrom

    Monocrom Loaded Pockets

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    No worries. Even if it does, there's several generic pens out there that will also get the job done which no one has mentioned.
     
  18. Straya

    Straya Loaded Pockets

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    There is a full plastic body one what would also work well and would never show up on X-rays.

    Although when they are advertised on sites like this probably doesn't help.
     
  19. attorneyadrian

    attorneyadrian Loaded Pockets

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    Just as an FYI, I just got back from a 4 day trip to Mexico from the US.
    I flew through Boston and Cancun airports.
    I had my Countycomm Embassy Pen with me in my Timbuk2 messenger bag. First time it was with two other pens on the pen slots, 2nd time, loose in the bottom of the bag.
    I went through security without a 2nd glance both times.
     
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  20. DBR

    DBR Loaded Pockets

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    That's good news, Adrian. I just got one in a trade and picked it up today. Stout! Don't much care for the globby Fisher refill, however.