TSA Claims It Took 5 Guns A Day From Passengers, But Are We Safer?

-By Warner Todd Huston

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) thinks it has a great selling point with its announcement that it took 5 firearms a day from passengers trying to board planes in 2013. But are our airports and planes safer because of this?

The TSA made the announcement on its January 24 “year in review” blog post where officials bemoan that their work “being on the frontline also comes with a great risk.” This because after patting down over 600 million passengers one TSA Agent was killed in a criminal action at LA International Airport.

Certainly no TSA Agents should be killed in the line of duty and the loss of TSA officer Gerardo Hernandez is unacceptable, but for the TSA to act as if their job is fraught with constant life threatening dangers is a bit much.

But the more interesting note is the number of firearms confiscated by TSA officials.

1,813 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging nearly five firearms per day. Of those, 1,477 (81%) were loaded. Firearms were intercepted at a total of 205 airports with Atlanta (ATL) on top of the list for the most firearms intercepted (111) in 2013.

There was a 16.5% increase (257) in firearm discoveries from last year’s total of 1,556.

One is tempted to reply to this by asking, “so what?”

But a follow up question quickly comes to mind. Are all these confiscated guns proof that the TSA has made air travel safer?

First of all, many of these guns were being carried by legal, concealed carry license holders who were foolish enough to forget they had their firearms with them as they went through airport security (or those uninformed enough to think their CCL was a guarantee that they had a legal firearm and didn’t need to worry about security).

So, many of these guns confiscated are merely examples of the federal government violating the Constitutional rights of thousands of American citizens by illicitly confiscating their guns.

How can I be so sure of this? Because in the TSA blog post one thing seems to be missing. Any proof that the guns confiscated were a threat to other passengers or that the folks carrying those pistols were criminals, murderers, unstable or even terrorists.

One would think that if the TSA had stories of guns confiscated from would-be terrorists that these facts would have been featured prominently in the TSA bog post. But there isn’t a single mention of any actual threat averted–though one instance noted is that of a stolen firearm recovered by police.

What we have is thousands of firearms confiscated and to what end?

After all, thousands of firearms were carted around in planes in the decades before 9/11 and we didn’t have a wild west in the air, did we? So, we can assume that 99.9 percent of those guns confiscated really did nothing to keep air travel safer.

Copyright Publius Forum 2001