A reader asked an interesting question on our Facebook page – what does the TSA do with all our knives, tools and corkscrews after they confiscate them at the checkpoint? We did a bit of homework and found out that the final destination is different for each state.
In Illinois for example, the TSA delivers all their loot to the state surplus facility, where it is put it up for sale on their auction site. Think Ebay, but with bigger stuff and fewer silly fees for sellers. Small items like knives, kitchenware and tools are sold in bulk, which means you can’t go online to buy a single Swiss Army Knife – you need to settle for 90lbs of them, or 80lbs of assorted corkscrews.
In some other states with lower amounts of confiscated items, the knives are destroyed. In all states, guns are given to local police agencies.
So, unless you want your $100 Swiss Army Knife to end up at the bottom of a bulk lot of knives being sold for $50, leave it at home or keep it in your checked luggage.
Remember, the TSA checkpoint does not provide mailing envelopes for sending items home, so once they find a restricted item, you’ll need to surrender it or leave the checkpoint and find a way to get it sent home. Also, if you show up with an illegal item, you will lose it and will most likely need to answer to an airport police officer.
A list of all state and federal surplus sites can be found here: USA Government sales