United Kingdom

The Very Tiny Terrorist


British airport officials have apparently received intelligence that Al Qaeda is recruiting an army of nine-inch terrorists.

Airport officials ordered a holidaymaker carrying a toy soldier onto a plane to remove its three-inch gun—because it was a safety threat.

Ken Lloyd was stunned when he was told he could not go on the plane with the nine-inch model soldier because it was carrying a 'firearm'.

The Canadian tourist and his wife had bought the toy, which holds a replica SA80 rifle, during a visit to the Royal Signals Museum at Blandford Camp in Dorset.

But when he tried to take the £135 keepsake through Gatwick Airport in his hand luggage it triggered a security alert at the scanners…

Officials declared the moulded gun could not go on the plane and Mr Lloyd had to snap off the model weapon and then post it back to his home in Ontario.

He said: 'As the figurine's SA80 rifle was pulled from the box, the security search officer contacted her supervisor. The moulded SA80 could not pass.

'My wife asked for a "reality check", explaining how this offending piece of sculptured moulding is a 9 inch painted model with a moulded and painted rifle that is part of the figure.

'The supervisor was confident within the surety of the regulations and said a "firearm" is a firearm and cannot pass.

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  1. I would have thought a firearm is something that can actually, you know, fire.

    1. This was my exact thought.

    2. But R C, a firearm is a firearm… even when it’s actually a piece of plastic shaped and painted to LOOK like a firearm.

      1. This is also a fire arm.


    3. You read my mind.

    4. Obviously, you are not familiar with bureacratic rationalizations, being sidetracked by common sense, reality, physics and what not. Let me elucidate a bureascrats’ thinking:

      Undoubtedly, most criminals or terrorists don’t have to shoot their weapons, never the less shoot and wound/kill potential victims to compel compliance with their demands.
      Sure, a pilot is a trained professional, probably more conversant with science and reality than the general public, and would undoubtedly recognise that the small plastic rifle would lack the muzzle velocity, as well as an insufficient caliber, to inflict permanent harm. But you forget that co-pilots lack the experience and judgement of a senior pilot, and in all likihood would knock the pilot cold if directed by a small plastic rifle toting terrorist. Such a scenario, albeit rare, is something that our vigilent anti terroist authorities must be ever…vigilent … about.

      1. On TV typewriters:

        Here is a true story about a glass tty: One day an MIT hacker was in a motorcycle accident and broke his leg. He had to stay in the hospital quite a while, and got restless because he couldn’t hack. Two of his friends therefore took a terminal and a modem for it to the hospital, so that he could use the computer by telephone from his hospital bed.

        Now this happened some years before the spread of home computers, and computer terminals were not a familiar sight to the average person. When the two friends got to the hospital, a guard stopped them and asked what they were carrying. They explained that they wanted to take a computer terminal to their friend who was a patient.

        The guard got out his list of things that patients were permitted to have in their rooms: TV, radio, electric razor, typewriter, tape player, … no computer terminals. Computer terminals weren’t on the list, so the guard wouldn’t let it in. Rules are rules, you know. (This guard was clearly a droid.)

        Fair enough, said the two friends, and they left again. They were frustrated, of course, because they knew that the terminal was as harmless as a TV or anything else on the list… which gave them an idea.

        The next day they returned, and the same thing happened: a guard stopped them and asked what they were carrying. They said: “This is a TV typewriter!” The guard was skeptical, so they plugged it in and demonstrated it. “See? You just type on the keyboard and what you type shows up on the TV screen.” Now the guard didn’t stop to think about how utterly useless a typewriter would be that didn’t produce any paper copies of what you typed; but this was clearly a TV typewriter, no doubt about it. So he checked his list: “A TV is all right, a typewriter is all right … okay, take it on in!”

    5. “”‘The supervisor was confident within the surety of the regulations and said a “firearm” is a firearm and cannot pass.”””

      Well, lets assign the airport security with these firearms instead of the one they might carry. After all, a firearm is a firearm.

      1. Winner.

    1. Sorry sir, smoking is not allowed either.

  2. The supervisor was confident within the surety of the regulations and said a “firearm” is a firearm and cannot pass.

    And the “supervisor” is a fidiot.

    1. With a commendation for meritorious service and now on the fast track for promotion.

  3. Even a 9 inch terrorist would have a bigger unit than any of these officials.

  4. It shows intent.

    1. Nice!

  5. ‘The supervisor was confident within the surety of the regulations and said a “firearm” is a firearm and cannot pass.

    Garbage in.

    Garbage out.

  6. We must crack down on inflammatory rhetoric toy soldiers.

    1. We watched a rerun of Small Solidiers last week — You can never be sure about these things.

      1. Two In a row! Comment of the day

  7. I guess they hate the troops.

  8. We can ask for ‘Reality Checks’!
    Who knew?

    1. I think only the Brits can do that. Even then, the reality is that their idiotic security theatre calls the shots.

  9. The supervisor was confident within the surety of the regulations and said a “firearm” is a firearm and cannot pass.

    And an inflatable woman has to pay a ticket, because a woman is a woman.

    1. Thanks for fucking up my vacation travel plans, asshole.

      1. Well, I do consider my harem of blond,brunette and redheaded inflatable women dependents, and therefore I get mucho deductions.
        Of course, the emotional toll of trying to keep them from bickering and squabbling amongst themselves…

        1. That’s why when I set up my stable of inflatable women, I made certain that none of them spoke a common language (other than the language of love).

    2. Conversely, an inflatable sheep would not be allowed on the flight, unless it were placed in the cargo hold with the other pets.

      1. Sir, I will not have my wife put in the cargo hold.
        And I need that 12 oz thermos that holds my woollite.

  10. Our society is intellectually bankrupt; your so-called reality check has bounced.

    1. This just in! Your reality-check is considered a REAL check and will be treated as such. Please countersign and include your account number and present a valid ID when making a deposit.


  11. These things have happened before. TSA has a reasonable rule against replica or realistic-looking toy guns, because these can and have been used to commit crimes and hijackings.

    The unreasonable part is where obvious fakes are lumped in with replicas.

    Given how poorly some TSA agents reason, maybe it’s better not to let them have any discretion?

    1. TSA has a reasonable rule against replica or realistic-looking toy guns, because these can and have been used to commit crimes and hijackings.

      [citation needed]

        1. TSA has a reasonable rule against replica or realistic-looking toy guns, because these can and have been used to commit crimes and hijackings.

          What, was this guy flying Liliput Air?

      1. Perhaps’s they’ve seen Woody Allen’s Take the Money and Run too many times.

    2. The TSA may have all kinds of regulations…..but this was at Gatwick and does not appear to be about them.

  12. And the irony of the TSA stopping a 9inch gun…


    1. he was allowed to board the flight after telling officials he worked as an international security consultant.

      That’s what he told me too, and, and, I let him board too.

      ** sniffs back tears **

  13. This is when I lose my shit and my freedom for assaulting a TSA agent.

  14. Up next, a ban on pointing your finger. After all, Jason Stratham used that as a firearm in Crank. To good effect, I might add.

    1. It works fine with spooks, but will get you killed if you point it at some zipper-head swamp rats.

  15. Quick! Someone go back in time 7 days and tell the Russians! I’m sure this will stop terrorists.

  16. I question the veracity of this anecdote.

    1. Do have any specific reas–

      Oh, Daily Mail. Never mind.

    2. You wouldn’t if you had ever dealt with a British Government bureaucrat in full denial mode.

    3. http://articles.cnn.com/2011-0…..s=PM:CRIME

      There ya go. Feel better?

    4. Re: Neu Mejican,

      I question the veracity of this anecdote.

      Translation: Our Sage And Wise Overseers are smarter than us, they have to be, so how can they act this stupidly? Can’t be – say it ain’t so, Shoeless! Say it ain’t so!

      Ah, the SA80 is a lousy piece of equipment, anyway – the customs officer may have been trying to stymie further embarrassment.

      1. Old Mexican.
        This response is the response of an idiot.

        I just doubt the veracity of the story. Could be true…seems more likely it is partly true, but that details are being exaggerated or distorted. Be more cynical…particularly when a story fits your preferred narrative.

        1. Re: Neu Mejican,

          This response is the response of an idiot.

          Don’t exaggerate – idiots would simply drool over their keyboards.

          I just doubt the veracity of the story.

          I don’t doubt that you doubt it. Our Sage Overseers simply cannot be that stupid – they have to be the smartest people in the world to come up with ingenious ways of keeping us safe against evildoers.

          And I am being cynical, in case your sarcasm-o-meter is broken or something.

          1. Old Mexican.

            And I am being cynical, in case your sarcasm-o-meter is broken or something.

            You are cynical of me…not the story. The story fits your narrative, so you believe it down to the smallest detail…and even embellish it in your mind with elaborate images of the jack booted thug taking the kids toy away. Your lack of cynicism goes so far as to help you assign ridiculous positions to those that express skepticism of the story.

            The short version.
            You. Are. An. Idiot.

  17. I had a belt buckle shaped like an antique Colt revolver (much smaller than a real one, of course, flat on the back, and obviously not a gun) confiscated and moved to checked baggage at Heathrow, back in the early ’80s already.

    In Los Angeles, New York, Frankfurt and Vienna, it was okay, though.

    1. Perhaps you looked a bit Irish?

      1. Could be. And my name is Anglicized Gaelic. That would mean that I look Northern Irish, though, wouldn’t it?

        That said, I don’t think that a lot of 1851 Navy revolvers have played any role in the Troubles.

  18. No doubt, later this afternoon TSA will announce strip searches and cavity checks for all passengers because, well, you know, if they can make guns that small…

  19. Cancel order with Mattel for manufacturing of Barbie guns

      1. You sugarfreed the link. Take a screen capture of my blog and send it to me. I don’t understand what you see

  20. Okay, for the sake of argument, let’s say it’s a firearm. Even with a scope, I doubt that little gun is very accurate. What’s the range on that toy rifle, 30 feet? You might as well throw a shoe at someone.

    1. That doesn’t even account for the fact that the caliber would make the projectile no more dangerous than a rubber band.

      1. “You’ll shoot your eye out!”

      2. Shit. There goes my arsenal of rubberbands!

    2. Besides, wouldn’t you want the toy soldier to be armed so he could fight any toy terrorists that might have made it on board?

  21. IS the TSA employing former public school administrators?

    1. Where else do you think they can get jobs after the court orders that they be removed from any sort of employment involving children?

    2. Hey, they aren’t experts…

    3. “Don’t even think of trying to get on with that set of chattering teeth.”

  22. So my Hello Kitty AK 47 is right out?

    1. I’m affraid so, Betty Sue… I’m affraid so.

      1. What’s up with that weird ass handgrip? Is this some ban-state nonsense I ‘m unaware of?

        1. Heard somewhere it was a way of getting around ‘pistol grip’ regulations. Dunno if that’s true.

  23. this actually isn’t new. when i was a kid (late 80s) i was flying home with my family from arizona where my dad had bought me a keychain with a little old west style revolver pistol on it. security made me seal it in an envelope and check it with the other luggage.

  24. Do you rejects have anything better to do than second guess those in responsible positions of authority who have to make these judgment calls for the greater good of our safety? At least they are doing something productive with their lives instead of worshiping at the alter of the mindless Pursuit of Profit.

    1. ^^ This is a well-executed troll. ^^

  25. Fun fact of the day: the SA-80 mechanism was largely copied from the Armalite AR-18, which is an excellent firearm. However, the limeys copied several parts incorrectly, which caused the SA-80 to be an unreliable piece of shit.

  26. Security: I can’t let you board with that item. It’s classified as a firearm.

    Little Johnny: But dad, it’s a three inch piece of plastic. You can’t even put a bullet in it. It doesn’t even have a trigger.

    Dad: Not now Johnny, the grownups are talking.

  27. What if I brought my mechanical pencil on the plane, and drew a picture of a gun?

    1. That’s just creating a paper trail.

    2. It looks like a boa constrictor swallowing an elephant to me.

    3. Not a problem until you start drawing cartridges that fit your drawing of a gun.

    4. As long as you don’t use the paper to sculpt a paper-machete version of a gun, you should be OK.

      (If you decide to test this theory, you never heard it from me. In fact, I was never here.)

  28. Like Toy Soldiers: step by step heart to heart left right left, we all fall down like toy soldiers…..

    1. Martika? Dude.

  29. I used to throw luggage at the international airport here. One day we recieved a Nintendo light gun (the orange and grey Duck Hunt one) in a plastic bag. The gate attendant said security wouldn’t allow it through in carryone so it had to be checked.


    We actually had some employees who couldn’t handle the job on the ramp go work preboard screening so I suppose I shouldn’t have been suprised.

  30. Could be the work of the Itsy Bitsy IRA.

  31. Haven’t there been cases in the USA in schools where tiny representations of weapons, even a crayon drawing of a gun, have been treated as guns under anti-gun policies?

    1. Yeah, there was the kid who, on “crazy hat day” or whatever it was, came in with a baseball hat with a couple 3″ G.I. Joes glued to the brim of a baseball cap, in honor of his older brother who was in Iraq or Afghanistan, IIRC. The G.I. Joes had their teeny-tiny “assault weapons” in their teeny-tiny hands, and the school administrators got their panties in a bunch over it.

    2. Well, if so, stupidity in one place doesn’t justify stupidity in another.

  32. So, was the toy soldier carrying grenades when he was finally let on the plane?

    1. He had a small .2″ two-way radio which tunes to military-only frequencies. That’s not civilian equipment, son. Gotta confiscate.

  33. Remember on Get Smart Destructo, “the toy mfrs.’ ultimate weapon”?

  34. ‘The supervisor was confident within the surety of the regulations and said a “firearm” is a firearm and cannot pass.

    Our lives are run by petty bureaucrats and desk clerks. These are the boots on the ground and “experts” on situations too complex and picayune for legislators to deal with.

  35. Someone at work made a good point. That they believe that it’s not just stupidity that creates these incidents, but governments are sending philosophical messages. The argument is not so much utilitarian, but intended to send a moral message: Hey kids, guns are bad, mmkay?


    1. Of course it’s intentional, I thought everyone realized it’s symbolism. The message in schools (with the GI Joe, the crayon drawing of a gun, etc.) is that guns are bad, but the message in both the TSA and school situations is, “Hey, we, the employees, actually get to lord it over the paying customers as part of our job! Such a cool thing, a little bit of compensation for the shit we have to put up with to get paid.”

      1. It means that in some sense, they get to be made to feel they outrank us. Of course it’s BS; even though public school teachers are hard to fire (if they play their cards right), they still have to jump thru ass-kissing hoops not only to get the job but even to keep it, notwithstanding the ostensible rules.

  36. I want photos of the security officers and their supervisors posted online. Seriously, we need to begin opening mocking idiocy.

    These jokers have power over the public and thus shouldn’t be able to hide in anonymity

    Photos with captions giving their names and explaining what they did would be enough. Their actions speak for themselves. Perhaps a web site devoted to this sort of thing would be useful and fun. Idiot of the day would be a great feature.

    1. openly*

    2. Why do you think they won’t let people photgraph or video them?

  37. >SA80


    Seriously, even a real SA80 wouldn’t post a danger to the plane.

  38. What if I try to board holding a 9″ figure of Johnny Rotten armed with a mic?
    There’s no future
    and England’s dreaming

    royalist scum

  39. Quote: d Mr Lloyd had to snap off the model weapon and then post it back to his home in Ontario.

    It’s not safe to carry on a plane but it is safe to send it in the mail? Who hires these people?

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