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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Police stand outside Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Two of 10 panic buttons at the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at Terminal 3 of Los Angeles International Airport were not working on Nov. 1, though that discrepancy probably had no effect on police response, a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation said Thursday.
The buttons are designed for an emergency. TSA workers are supposed to hit them when they are in danger to ensure a rapid police response. But the law enforcement official said data shows TSA officials failed to hit any of the eight working buttons, probably because they were fleeing the area so quickly. That may suggest nothing would have changed had the two other buttons been operational.
The law enforcement source said TSA agents were aware that at least one of the buttons was not working at the time of the incident. The second one did not work when it was tested after the incident.
A TSA supervisor did use a special phone line to ring directly to an airport police dispatcher, the source said. The phone call was brief, as the caller quickly fled to escape the gunman, according to the source.
Reached Thursday, Los Angeles-based TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said he could not comment on an ongoing investigation.
LAX is expected to produce an after-action report soon. The public will be able to read it, but it will not include what is called “security sensitive” information.
US Airways is expecting to move to Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport next week, leaving Terminal 1, which it has shared with Southwest Airlines.
I’m being told that Feb. 12 is the targeted move date. I’ll update if that changes.
American Airlines, which is merging with US Airways, has printed up posters in an attempt to make things easier for travelers. Here’s the good news: American and US Airways will run shuttle buses inside the secure area of the airport to facilitate connections between the two airlines. This means passengers won’t have to re-clear security to switch airlines. The buses will leave every 20 minutes.
That’s a big deal, because American’s Terminal 4 and US Airways’ Terminal 3 are not particularly close to one another, despite the numbering scheme. There’s also no way to walk from one terminal to the other without re-clearing security.
Here are posters you’ll see soon at Terminal 3 and Terminal 4.
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.
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
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.