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TheStreet Open House

5 Big Winners from TSA Security Rules

Stocks in this article: UIS SI LMT LLL ACN GE NOC IBM OSIS

States who sell your confiscated stuff
What happens to all the items confiscated by the TSA -- all those lighters, knives and snow globes?

In many cases they are sold off by state surplus property agencies, with states, not the TSA, profiting from the sales.

Alabama has an eBay store under the ID alstatesurplus, as does Pennsylvania (pastatesurplus) and Kentucky (kysurplus). Illinois alerts shoppers to regular auctions via a Facebook page.

Georgia, Texas and Washington are among the states that have physical "surplus stores" shoppers can visit for all their pocket knife needs.

Some items may bypass such auctions. Firearms are given to local law enforcement and many municipalities donate usable items to VA hospitals or nonprofit organizations to use or sell. Scissors can often find their way to local schools.

Proposed legislation in California would have airports donate all those confiscated soaps and shampoos to homeless shelters.

According to a statement posted on the TSA's blog, a similar process was rejected as administration policy.

"Early on, there was a move to donate the liquid items to local homeless shelters but we were forced to suspend that practice after the determination was made that there is a liability risk," the TSA says. "We couldn't continue to donate items and not know if the if the water was truly water or if the shampoo was truly shampoo. While unfortunate, the litigious world in which we live forced the abandonment ... of that process. So now, those items are tossed out."

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