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

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.

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  • Lawrence Westlake

    TSA is the Republican Party of federal agencies. It can’t win for losing. And given the absurd demographics of the Internet’s chattering classes (the only way the post-9/11 context of it all could come into focus is if terrorists commandeered a plane and crashed it into a golf course at an affluent country club in the burbs) that won’t ever change. That all said, TSA like every government agency is bloated, inefficient and subject to mission creep. But there haven’t been any hijacked domestic flights since 9/11. And despite the visions that appear in Glenn Beck’s hallucinations, or in Rand Paul’s head after he gets too tired counting his government salary and public pension vesting rights, there is not a viable alternative in this arena to a little too much gumbmint. C’est la vie.

    • warnertoddhuston

      Are you done masturbating?

      • jim_m

        I swear that Larry is just a lefty troll pretending to be conservative.

        • Vagabond661

          The Colbert of Wizbang.

          • jim_m

            I don’t see the resemblance to Claudette

  • LiberalNightmare

    5 guns a day? If we compare that to the number of iPads that are stolen from passenger luggage by the TSA, we just about break even.

  • Vagabond661

    And the only reason the TSA agent was killed if I remember correctly is the armed guards had left.

  • jim_m

    Certainly no TSA Agents should be killed in the line of duty

    I think that public sentiment is otherwise.

  • Plinytherecent

    Please propose a metric that you would accept as indicative of TSA effectiveness. If you cannot, you have adopted a non-falsifiable position (just like the CAGW folks).

    • jim_m

      I think that the alleged purpose of the TSA, preventing terrorism, is not fulfilled at all by their activities. Multiple instances such as the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber have not been caught by the TSA or their foreign equivalent.

      The TSA is security play acting. It provides nothing in terms of additional safety, but it provides enormous inconvenience for everyone else. It should be abolished and private security put back in its place.

      • Plinytherecent

        O.k., so if TSA is not perfect, then it is useless (judging by the examples in lieu of a metric you provided). Pretty tough hurdle.

        How is your striving for perfection going?

      • westcoastwiser

        They’ll only claim success when they catch bra and vagina bomber

        • jim_m

          Nah. I believe success to them is catching a White, Christian conservative. The terrorists the left dreams of finding is what the TSA is directed to find.

    • How many actual bombs has TSA intercepted?

      • The rationale behind not telling is because if the attempts were known, the folks making the bombs would know what did and didn’t work as far as concealment went.

        Of course, the fact that there wasn’t a ‘kaboom’ should be a fairly good indication that the design didn’t make it through the TSA inspection.

        At this point, I don’t see any downside to letting the public know what’s been intercepted in the 2002-2010 timeframe.

        If the number is zero, however, it gets kind of hard to justify the money spent.

        A fully tricked out 747-8 is about $350 million. How much would a 3-day term life insurance policy cost for $10 million? I’m thinking it’d be a relatively small amount.

        How much did the TSA cost last year? $8-10 billion? That’s 22 747-8s.

        I know money isn’t everything – but at some point you’ve got to question whether you’re getting enough for what you’re spending.

  • westcoastwiser

    My son has shrapnel in his body from a grenade blast and it takes him an average of 1/2 hour to clear TSA… 3 or 4 scans 2 or 3 supervisors, then they just say ‘oh, shit, go ahead’ and he goes to his gate… he hasn’t used the shrapnel for any activity yet…