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Guns surrendered at airports on record pace

Discussion in 'Legal' started by rick_reno, Aug 16, 2005.

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  1. rick_reno

    rick_reno member

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    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8962856/

    Guns surrendered at airports on record pace
    Meanwhile, Feds mull relaxation of potential weapons rules

    WASHINGTON - The government is grabbing firearms from U.S. airline travelers at a record pace, according to information obtained by MSNBC.com.

    The record haul of guns comes at time when the Transportation Security Administration is considering a proposal to allow some previously banned items, including small knives and razor blades, back onto commercial flights.

    In the previous 12 months airline travelers have surrendered 714 firearms, nearly 60 per month, at airport security checkpoints, according to information supplied by the TSA. The previous high was 637 firearms surrendered at airport checkpoints in 2003.

    Confiscation of firearms, however, pale in comparison to other potential weapons. Every day for the past three years some 14,000 potential weapons were caught trying to pass through airport checkpoints, according to a study of TSA data done by the Deseret Morning News. That study also showed that small hub airports (those that serve between 355,000 and 1.7 million passengers a year) catch far more weapons (12.3) on average, per 1,000 passengers, than the nation’s major airports (6.4 per 1,000 passengers). More curious: the nation’s smallest non-hub airports, those serving fewer than 355,000 passengers per year, snagged the most potential weapons (15.1 per thousand passengers), according to the Deseret Morning News study.

    Potential weapons are surrendered by passengers at airports because the TSA has no authority to actually take items from passengers, said Carrie Harmon, a TSA spokesperson. Agency screeners can however, stop someone from boarding a plane if they don’t hand it over on request. In addition, federal, state or local law enforcement officers are available to the TSA should more dangerous weapons, like firearms or explosives be found, Harmon said.

    The TSA can’t explain why more weapons are being found per 1,000 passengers at smaller airports. Harmon denied that training might play a factor. “All screeners are trained to the same standards, to look for items within a specified amount of time,” she said.

    Nor will the TSA speculate as to why passengers continue to try and bring prohibited items through security checkpoints.

    “TSA has not done any analysis of passenger traveler habits or why passengers in one region or at one airport might bring different kinds of items or might bring more of one item than another,” Harmon said. “But I can tell you that security is uniform across airports.”

    Release the scissors
    Later this month Edmund Hawley, the new head of the TSA, will examine a wide range of proposals aimed at improving the performance of passenger and baggage screening at U.S. airports. Among those proposals are recommendations for revising the list of items currently banned from airline travel.

    TSA staffers proposed allowing smaller knives, ice picks, scissors and bows and arrows back onto flights, according to the Washington Post, which first wrote about the proposals. The easing of the security restrictions for those types of potential weapons was made because TSA evaluators deemed them to be of low risk.

    News of the TSA proposal and the continued increase in items caught passing through airport security drew congressional concern Monday.

    “I’m glad that TSA is reviewing its screening practices, which several Democratic committee members and I have called for in the past, because after all there is a world of difference between a firearm and cuticle scissors,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security. “But, I do hope TSA will move forward with caution since the risk that a terrorist would try to overtake a plane has not gone away,” Thompson said. “We’ll also be watching with great interest to be sure that these changes don’t mean the pendulum swings so far that travelers are made less safe or indiscriminately profiled.”

    One security expert brushed aside both the TSA’s proposed revisions and the news of increased weapons grabbed at security check points.

    “This is not a relaxation in security, you can’t relax what you don’t have,” said Mike Boyd, an aviation security expert and head of the Colorado-based Boyd Group. “It’s a change in the screening process,” Boyd said of the potential change in the TSA’s banned items list.
     
  2. jefnvk

    jefnvk Member

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    I'd be just as worried about the small airports. If I were a terrorist, I wouldn't fly out of Chicago or Detroit, I'd pick a small out of the way airport.

    Are these guns ones that people are trying to carry on?
     
  3. Vitamin G

    Vitamin G Member

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    I'm sure my completely depressurized and taken-apart (in accordance with regulations and policy) compressed air tank (for paintball) that was confiscated counts as one of those "Potential Weapons".

    Maybe because even the TSA isn't sure whats banned from month to month.
     
  4. Sleeping Dog

    Sleeping Dog Member

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    No, but the risk that the pilot will hand over a plane because passengers or crew are being attacked, like on 9/11/2001? That risk is now zero, probably since 9/12/2001.

    If TSA is relaxing the rules, can I get my corkscrew back? :rolleyes:

    Regards.
     
  5. Daniel T

    Daniel T Member

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    Those sneaky, underhanded weapons!
     
  6. Smurfslayer

    Smurfslayer Member

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    Rather than give them to the Fed...

    Why don't state grass roots orgs. man the airports so that these guns can be "surrendered" to a group who will put them to good use?
     
  7. Flyboy

    Flyboy Member

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    Well, maybe it's because people in Ponca City, OK are A) less-frequent travellers, so not as careful of what they pack, and B) more likely to own and carry guns, knives, etc., than people at, say, O'Hare, LAX, BWI, JFK, and so forth.
     
  8. Sleeping Dog

    Sleeping Dog Member

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    Not very efficient, if there are only 60 guns a month, nationwide. Big hassle for little gain. I'd bet many of the guns don't belong to the passenger, but to his employer (cops), and he just forgot he had it with him. If it's a department gun, the individual would not have the right to transfer it to a grass-roots org, even if he was inclined to do so. If a cop surrenders a department gun and continues his travel, would that gun find its way back to the department?

    Most of these so-called weapons are probably just normal travel items, like a nail file, which I guess could be used as a weapon. Unlike a Bic pen, which can not possibly be used as a weapon. :confused:

    Regards.
     
  9. jcoiii

    jcoiii Member

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    Just to clarify

    Are the weapons that are "surrendered" being taken at the security gate or out of people's luggage?

    (Oh, and pens and pencils are potential weapons. Do they count in the total?)
     
  10. psyopspec

    psyopspec Member

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    2 lighters, small pocketknife, nail clipper, cigar cutter over the last three years. Everyone else doing their part?
     
  11. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    We're not a police state. We're a shake-down state.
     
  12. Marshall

    Marshall Member

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    I guess that could be seen as 714 possible airline flights that could have had a terrorist with a gun on board. In that light, that's quite a few. However, I imagine most of them are Joe Blow trying to take (sneak) his gun with him on his trip with no harmful intentions at all. Just not a real bright idea.
     
  13. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

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    I dunno, man.

    If I pulled a dumb butted move like forget I had a gun in my carry on bag, I'd put it with its brother in the checked luggage. Either that, or I'd bring it home and catch the next flight.

    Then again, I only live 15 min from the airport.

    No matter what, the .gov doesn't get my gun for free.
     
  14. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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  15. Marshall

    Marshall Member

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    Glad to see there's such a variety, what's up widdat?
     
  16. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    I can. Even before 911 the security at small airports was tougher to get through because they don't have to worry about moving a large volume of passengers. They can concentrate on each person a little longer. The result was they hassle you more in the little airports than in the large ones.

    I never had to argue about whether my pocket knife was too long or too scary looking at a big airport, but there was always some self-important goober (or gooberess) at the small airports who had the time to try to enforce rules that he/she never took the time to read properly... I had one try to convince me that the length of her badge was the legal limit for a blade according to FAA restrictions. (The limit was actually 4" and her badge wasn't more than 3")
     
  17. shermacman

    shermacman Member

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    Plastic tweezers from a Red Cross First Aid Kit.
    Yup: they took plastic tweezers from me.
    They frog marched my 8 year old daughter without belt or shoes.

    They really don't understand the threat.
     
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