Teenage Floridian Vanessa Gibbs missed her plane ride home from Norfolk, Va. the other day because her purse featured a gun-shaped applique that TSA agents deemed illegal as a "replica" gun. Commence adding bold western wear to your list of "TSA-banned fashions," underneath snake pants and hummingbird pants.
Gibbs told Jacksonville's WJXT-TV that the TSA agent who inspected her "was like, 'This is a federal offense because it's in the shape of a gun'... I'm like, 'But it's a design on a purse. How is it a federal offense?'" Gibbs escaped being detained by authorities but had to check her bag so that the fake gun's invisible bullets wouldn't go off inside the cabin, theoretically killing all of her fellow passengers as they ascended into the clouds and entered an alternative universe at 30,000 feet.
TSA maintains that its agent acted appropriately in dealing with Gibbs and her bag, because replicas of guns have been illegal since 2002. One could argue that Gibbs' purse-gun looks real enough, but it's two-dimensional—how could it fire off any bullets? Also, does TSA's rule mean that gun-shaped necklace and bracelet charms are prohibited? What about gun designs on t-shirts? And, most importantly, what about my tiny green plastic Uzi-shaped earrings—are those illegal "replicas," even though nobody but Barbie could realistically fire them off (at Ken, after he left the toilet seat up again)? Slippery slope, guys.