The gun seized by security (actual size)
Tue, Aug 6, 2002
AIRPORT security staff confiscated a TWO-INCH plastic gun from a toy soldier, it was revealed yesterday.
British tourist Judy Powell, 55, bought a GI Joe doll in America as a gift for her seven-year-old grandson George.
Security officials at Los Angeles airport found the toy — similar to Action Man — when they searched Judy’s bags before she boarded a flight to London.
Then they took the figure out of its box and confiscated its tiny replica Armalite rifle.
Judy revealed: “They examined the toy as if it was going to shoot them.
“Then they asked me if there were toy grenades as well. I thought they were joking, but they weren’t smiling — they were deadly serious.”
Judy, from Walton-on-the-Hill, Surrey, added: “I couldn’t believe it.
“I can understand them wanting to ban weapons or things that look like weapons, but surely common sense has to take over at some point.
“I was really angry at first because of the absurdity of the situation, but then I saw the funny side and realised it was simple lunacy.
“The whole world is going mad if we resort to such stupid measures.”
Judy, who bought Beanie Babies for her other grandchildren, joked: “At least THEY weren’t subjected to body searches.”
George’s mum Becky, 29, said the lad was “really upset” when he realised his GI Joe had been disarmed.
She said: “Even though he’s seven years old George knew the toy was missing an important part.
“I explained what had happened, but he just kept shaking his head saying it was silly and ‘Don’t those people understand the gun was a toy? and couldn’t shoot’.”
Airport security has been tightened since the terrorist attacks of September 11, and airlines can now ban anything resembling a weapon.
Security chiefs at Los Angeles airport said: “We have instructions to confiscate anything that looks like a weapon or a replica.
“If GI Joe was carrying a replica then it had to be taken from him.”