Is the punishment for bringing a gun through airport security too harsh?

Someone tried to bring this gun through security last week at Seattle's airport. Photo: TSA

Someone tried to bring this gun through security last week at Seattle’s airport. Do you think the punishment for doing this should be lessened? Photo: TSA

Here’s something that probably wouldn’t fly in California.

Georgia airports bust so many travelers for bringing guns through security that some members of the state legislature want to loosen the penalties for carrying a firearm through a checkpoint, according to the Associated Press.

The story talks about a man named Gary Lawrence who mistakenly brought a loaded 22-caliber revolver through Atlanta’s airport, one he usually uses “as protection against venomous snakes and coyotes.” He spent a night in jail and was charged with a misdemeanor, according to the AP story.

AP says some Georgia legislators think that this is unfair. They seem think people shouldn’t be published for what might be considered an honest mistake.

Now, gun-friendly lawmakers in Georgia want people licensed to carry a gun to avoid arrest if they accidentally take their firearms into the security checkpoint at the country’s busiest airport and willingly leave the security line. It occurs as gun rights groups in Georgia push state lawmakers to broaden the places where people can legally take guns, including churches and bars.

According to the TSA, travelers take guns through security a lot more often than you might think. Here’s the TSA tally from last week, which it published on its blog.

Gun NumbersUntitled

Facebook Twitter Plusone Linkedin Reddit Tumblr Email

LAX is expected to settle fines assessed by TSA

I came across an unusual entry in the agenda this week for the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners closed session meeting scheduled for Wednesday. It appears the Transportation Security Administration has assessed fines on Los Angeles International Airport.

Here’s what it says:

“Transportation Security Administration Settlement of five (5) Orders assessing Civil Penalties to Los Angeles World Airports for violations at Los Angeles International Airport. [2013LAX0162; 2013LAX0170; 2013LAX0216; 2013LAX0256; 2013LAX0017].”

I’ve reached out to the TSA about what these fines might be for, but I am not optimistic I’ll receive an answer. Usually I’m told this is “security sensitive” data. The meeting in which they will be discussed in closed to the public.

Do any of my readers know why these fines were asessed? If you know and want to say anonymous, you may email me at

Facebook Twitter Plusone Linkedin Reddit Tumblr Email

Airport Security: Former TSA screener writes confessional in Politico Magazine

A former TSA screener in Chicago says the agency was not a great place to work. Photo: Associated Press.

A former TSA screener in Chicago says the agency was not a great place to work. Photo: Associated Press.

UPDATE: Politico published a piece Friday detailing the TSA response. “Every passenger deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and Transportation Security Administration policy upholds this standard. TSA does not tolerate any form of unethical or unlawful behavior by its employees and takes swift disciplinary action if discovered,” the agency said, apparently in a statement.

ORIGINAL POST: Politico Magazine this week published “Confessions Of A Former TSA Screener” — a tell-all piece by former Chicago O’Hare screener Jason Edward Harrington. And it’s ugly.

Harrington says everyone at the TSA knew right away that the full-body scanners introduced a few years ago didn’t work — “The only thing more absurd than how poorly the full-body scanners performed was the incredible amount of time the machines wasted for everyone” — and that the machines showed way to much of everyone’s bodies.

Many of the images we gawked at were of overweight people, their every fold and dimple on full awful display. Piercings of every kind were visible. Women who’d had mastectomies were easy to discern—their chests showed up on our screens as dull, pixelated regions. Hernias appeared as bulging, blistery growths in the crotch area.

Perhaps equally concerning, he says officers were told to give extra screening to passengers based on nationality. He said there was something called “the Selectee Passport List.”

It consisted of 12 nations that automatically triggered enhanced passenger screening. The training department drilled us on the selectee countries so regularly that I had memorized them, like a little poem:

Syria, Algeria, Afghanistan
Iraq, Iran, Yemen
and Cuba,
Lebanon-Libya, Somalia-Sudan
People’s Republic of North Korea.

Harrington says he’s the author of Taking Sense Away, a blog in which he made some of the same allegations, albeit anonymously.


Facebook Twitter Plusone Linkedin Reddit Tumblr Email

TSA to open precheck enrollment center at LAX Terminal 5

TSA will open a precheck enrollment center this week at LAX. Photo: Associated Press.

TSA will open a precheck enrollment center this week at LAX. Photo: Associated Press.

The Transportation Security Administration will open its first Precheck processing station at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday, Jan. 30.

The application center will be located in Delta’s Terminal 5 in the gate area. TSA has had processing applications at three locations in the L.A. area for a couple of months now, but this is the first time travelers in the airport will have the opportunity to go through the process. Passengers on United, Delta and Alaska will be able to access the Terminal 5 application center. American Airlines passengers will not have access — at least until the airport reopens a tunnel connecting its terminal with Delta’s.

For those not familiar, TSA’s precheck program allows passengers to register for more humane airport security screening — so long as they pass a background check, provide fingerprints and pay $85 to join the program. Assuming you pass, you can keep your shoes on and keep your liquids and laptops in your bags.

Travelers can go through expedited security at just about every major airport in the country, including LAX, Long Beach Airport and Burbank Bob Hope Airport.

If you want to join, you’ll want to go to to fill out the pre-enrollment questionnaire. You can make an appointment for the background check on the website, or you can simply drop in at one of the enrollment centers. Eventually, TSA wants to have more than 300 processing centers.

Here are the other L.A.-are locations:

•             Carson, Calif.: Universal Enrollment Center/IdentoGO Center — 460 East Carson Plaza Drive, Suite 114

•             Glendale, Calif.: Universal Enrollment Center/IdentoGO Center — 603 South Brand Boulevard

•             Signal Hill, Calif.: Universal Enrollment Center/IdentoGO Center — 2501 East 28th Street, Suite 105

Facebook Twitter Plusone Linkedin Reddit Tumblr Email