0 min left

TSA Union Calls for Establishment of Armed, Specially Trained Unit at All U.S. Airports

Union officials are calling for a specially trained TSA unit to carry weapons at security checkpoints after armed man stormed the security line of New Orleans’ airport.

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the union that represents TSA employees, is calling for officers to be armed in light of an armed individual’s attack at New Orleans’ Louis B. Armstrong International Airport (MSY). TSA agent Carol Richel was wounded by one of three bullets fired at the assailant.

CNN reports that AFGE President J. David Cox says TSA agents must rely on a “patchwork of local police forces” at U.S. airports that don’t report to the TSA, leaving agents vulnerable to potential threat on the frontlines of security.

“The employees that do the screening at all the airports now twice have become the victims and the targets of people that want to do harm,” Cox told CNN. The first incident occurred in 2013, when a gunman stormed in to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and killed a TSA officer.

While Cox acknowledged that New Orleans’ law enforcement personnel responded appropriately to last week’s incident, he is concerned that there are 480 airports across the country. He added that he is not suggesting that all TSA officers be equipped with weapons, but rather that a special unit be created, one which is trained how to respond to security threats in “tight spaces like security lines.”

A report released by the TSA in March 2014 identified several communications and operational gaps that led to slow response times in the LAX incident. Since then, the TSA has implemented multiple measures to correct these gaps, including issuing recommended standards for law enforcement resources at checkpoints and counters during peak travel times, according to a TSA news release.

[Photo: iStock]

Comments are Closed.
diver858 March 27, 2015

TSA agents are nothing more than cannon fodder for terrorists attempting to board an airplane, anyone looking to commit mayhem. While it may not make sense to arm them, "security" areas should be hardened with bullet proof barriers, offering TSA agents with some protection, the ability to physically prevent intruders from gaining easy access. Many years ago, I recall seeing a drill at DFW, where the TSA Agents formed a line with their bodies to block access - just making it easier for someone with nefarious intentions to pick them off.

Boggie Dog March 27, 2015

Two incidents involving guns at two airports over how many years? In each case local police responded and resolved the issue. It's sad that a TSA employee was killed at LAX but it could have easily been a passenger. the most recent incident demonstrated a very timely response from local police and the threat was resolved. There is absolutely no reason to place more guns in the hands of TSA employees. The likely outcome of doing so would be for innocent passengers getting shot.

pinkblanket March 27, 2015

They also need some snipers, a few German shepherds, Bearcats, MRAPs, and some smoke grenades. Just in case you know...

SeriouslyLost March 27, 2015

They want guns to go with their shiny, shiny badges. Then they'll be all grown up Law Enforcement and their parents will be So Proud. Personally, I'm in favour of it. If they're armed then they will invariably start killing innocent people and that might be the only way the US will get sane airport security programmes and processes.

BearX220 March 26, 2015

There are armed police at the airport. Why isn't that enough?