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NYC airports using airline ticket agents agents of the government

NYC airports using airline ticket agents agents of the government

Old Oct 23, 07, 2:04 pm
  #1  
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NYC airports using airline ticket agents agents of the government

I arrived at the John F Kennedy Airport in NYC and went to the America West ticket counter in Terminal 7.

I told the ticket agent that I needed an unloaded firearm tag to put in the bag I was checking that contained an unloaded gun.

The ticket agent looked at me with a puzzled look on his face and I repeated my request. He went to another agent who pointed to some boxes containing forms on a cart.

The agent went over and placed a multi part form in front of me and told me to fill it out. I recognized the form as one that is used when flying while armed in the cabin. I informed the ticket agent he had the wrong form and I needed the small orange card that went inside the bag. He walked away and came back with the with the correct tag and put it in front of me and said fill this out. I signed it and gave it back to him.

After he filled out the airline portion I reached for the tag to put it in the bag and he said that the tag does not go in the bag yet.

After checking my other bags, the ticket agent took my bag and told me to follow him to the CTX machine that was around the terminal in the United Airlines area. At this point, the ticket agent took possession of a firearm in NYC.

At the CTX machine, before the bag was screened or opened, the TSO called the PAPD. This is one point I would like to bring up.

At this point the NYC area airports are the only ones in the USA who are doing this. This is not SOP for any other airport. This brings this area out of the consistent screening promised by the TSA years ago.

I have been through major airports including Phoenix Arizona , Dallas Ft Worth Texas, Washington DC, and Orlando Florida and done the exact same thing and the screening was absolutely consistent. Once the tag is signed and in the bag, then it went through the CTX machine and possibly opened by a TSO. Never in any case was one of the airport LEOs called, notified, or requested. The bag then went through to be loaded on the aircraft in the baggage compartment.

The PAPD is using this procedure to arrest people who may not have a local NYC permit. This was not applicable to me, however I still feel that this procedure is a selective enforcement of local laws that if the following conditions are met do NOT require the possession of a NYC gun permit or license:

1.) The person is not a prohibited possessor of firearms or ammunition as defined by federal law.

2.) The person is permitted to possess a firearm at their departure point and their destination point. For example if flying from Connecticut where they have a permit to possess a firearm to Arizona where the permit is recognized.

3.) The person travels with the gun secured in the case not accessible from the passenger compartment of the vehicle and takes that bag containing the firearm directly to the ticket agent to declare it.

4.) The person declares the unloaded firearm packed in accordance with TSA and FAA guidelines to the airline.

According to the US Department of Justice in a letter dated February 18, 2005 this is exactly the intent of the United States Code 18 U.S.C. Section 926A. According to the letter the DOJ informed the appropriate law enforcement agencies of this information. I have attached a copy of this letter. The letter is also available the internet at:

http://www.nraila.org/images/DOJltrTSA.pdf

Nowhere in the DHS, TSA, or FAA rules is there a requirement for a local law enforcement agency to intervene in the process of legally declaring a firearm to be placed in the baggage compartment of an airplane.

While this may be the SOP for NYC airports, it still does not make it lawful or right. Just because of local opinions that may be unfavorable to gun owners, it still is not the right thing to subvert the Federal requirements so that local opinion of a local law may be enforced.

I fully support DHS and TSA in their pursuit of making the skies safe through their published regulations.

It does not make the flying public any safer by enforcing local laws that conflict with Federal Statutes. The Federal Statue in this case preempts local laws if the person traveling has complied with the TSA and FAA requirements. It is not the local agencies responsibility to perform this search or intrusion into the activity of someone traveling lawfully.

PAPD officers have acknowledged that the case would most likely get dismissed (as they have been to date). Knowing that the cases are not being prosecuted amounts to unnecessary harassment and incarceration of people who have complied with their legal requirements when declaring an unloaded firearm. There is currently a lawsuit against the Port Authority on this very issue.



My other concern is the TSO (Chris #18588) who started writing down enough information to identify my bag as containing a firearm. I asked him why he was doing that and he said he and to list the bag as containing a firearm. I told him that it was not permitted to identify a bag that contained a firearm. He told me that was what was required and I again told him that it was not only not required, but a violation of federal law. This was not an SOP at any other airport.

He continued to write the information to allow my bag to be identified as containing a firearm and I asked him for a complaint form. He asked me why and got argumentative when I told him I did not think he should be making the information on the firearm in my bag available to anyone. After continuing to be argumentative, I again asked for a complaint form. I never got the complaint form from him.

I have been in contact with Judy Finkelstein at the JFK Airport on this issue and she is going to discuss it with the AFSD/LE and the FSD. I would like to compliment Judy on her open minded conversation with me and her willingness to listen to other points of view.

I do however feel this issue also needs review at the national level rather than solely at a local level and that this policy should come from the DHS upper management to either approve or revise the current procedure at NY area airports.

Last edited by SpaceCoastBill; Oct 23, 07 at 3:33 pm
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Old Oct 23, 07, 9:36 pm
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Sorry to be this way, but anyone who lives in NYC gets what they deserve.
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Old Oct 23, 07, 10:18 pm
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I was just there, I live in AZ.
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Old Oct 24, 07, 3:56 am
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NYC needs to be brought into compliance with the 2nd amendment.

Did all those people whose cases were dismissed get their guns back?
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Old Oct 24, 07, 4:21 am
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I am not a fan of gun control laws. I believe that no restrictions should be placed on anyone who is not a minor, has a criminal conviction, or a history of mental illness.

That being said, I have even a stronger belief in states' rights and New York State has every constitutional right to impose any gun control laws it wants.

The fact that you might have woken up in Conn and planned to go to sleep in Arizona is immaterial if you had possession of that gun while travelling in New York.

If having it in both those states is important enough to a passenger, he can arrange his flights without going into New York. Or, if he wants to fly from one state where it is legal to another where it is also legal, he can check his luggage through -- meaning that while he retains ownership when it is in New York, he does not have possession.
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Old Oct 24, 07, 6:25 am
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Originally Posted by billinaz View Post
At the CTX machine, before the bag was screened or opened, the TSO called the PAPD. This is one point I would like to bring up....The PAPD is using this procedure to arrest people who may not have a local NYC permit..........My other concern is the TSO (Chris #18588) who started writing down enough information to identify my bag as containing a firearm. I asked him why he was doing that and he said he and to list the bag as containing a firearm. I told him that it was not permitted to identify a bag that contained a firearm. He told me that was what was required and I again told him that it was not only not required, but a violation of federal law. This was not an SOP at any other airport.....I have been in contact with Judy Finkelstein at the JFK Airport on this issue and she is going to discuss it with the AFSD/LE and the FSD. I would like to compliment Judy on her open minded conversation with me and her willingness to listen to other points of view.
Strictly speaking, the TSA at that airport screwed up royally. You're absolutely right. TSA does not work for the airlines nor does it work for the local LEOs. TSA follows federal law.

I'm interested finding out how this matter is settled.
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Old Oct 24, 07, 8:19 am
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Originally Posted by Bart View Post
Strictly speaking, the TSA at that airport screwed up royally. You're absolutely right. TSA does not work for the airlines nor does it work for the local LEOs. TSA follows federal law.

I'm interested finding out how this matter is settled.
Bart,

How does this differ from a TSA agent that turns in a passenger to LEO that has other illegal objects or substances - say something that might be considered drug paraphanalia - in their bag?
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Old Oct 24, 07, 10:14 am
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Originally Posted by Dovster View Post
That being said, I have even a stronger belief in states' rights
States don't have rights. States are political units which in our system excercise powers granted them by the people. The 10th amendment to our constitution expressly reserves to the people all powers not granted to government. In the American system, a "right" is possessed only by individuals.

Originally Posted by Dovster View Post
New York State has every constitutional right to impose any gun control laws it wants.
They would no more have that power (not right) than they would have the power to restrict your rights to freedom of speech, religion, assembly, etc. When the U.S. Constitution was framed, the Bill of Rights was not construed to apply to the states. The 3 amendments that were passed after the Civil War eventually were interpreted to apply the Bill of Rights to the states as well.
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Old Oct 24, 07, 10:24 am
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Originally Posted by Dovster View Post
I am not a fan of gun control laws. I believe that no restrictions should be placed on anyone who is not a minor, has a criminal conviction, or a history of mental illness.

That being said, I have even a stronger belief in states' rights and New York State has every constitutional right to impose any gun control laws it wants.

The fact that you might have woken up in Conn and planned to go to sleep in Arizona is immaterial if you had possession of that gun while travelling in New York.

If having it in both those states is important enough to a passenger, he can arrange his flights without going into New York. Or, if he wants to fly from one state where it is legal to another where it is also legal, he can check his luggage through -- meaning that while he retains ownership when it is in New York, he does not have possession.
Do you know how profoundly troubling I find it when I agree completely with you? Hopefully, I have troubled you as well by this acknowledgment
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Old Oct 24, 07, 10:55 am
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Originally Posted by Dovster View Post
If having it in both those states is important enough to a passenger, he can arrange his flights without going into New York. Or, if he wants to fly from one state where it is legal to another where it is also legal, he can check his luggage through -- meaning that while he retains ownership when it is in New York, he does not have possession.
What happens when your non-stop XXX-YYY, not touching NY, diverts to JFK, while you are in possession of something that's illegal in NY?

What if the airline then cancels the continuation, leaving you stranded in NY? You get your bags and are then in possession of an illegal thing (such as a gun). Should you now go to jail?

Originally Posted by MikeMpls View Post
NYC needs to be brought into compliance with the 2nd amendment.
The 2nd amendment talks about arms, without qualification. I want to exercise my Constitutionally protected right to own an ICBM.

I think the arguments should be made on interstate commerce grounds (among others). Arguing about that would be a lot more productive than arguing about the meaning of the 2nd amendment.
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Old Oct 24, 07, 11:42 am
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Originally Posted by Global_Hi_Flyer View Post
Bart,

How does this differ from a TSA agent that turns in a passenger to LEO that has other illegal objects or substances - say something that might be considered drug paraphanalia - in their bag?
That's a pretty good point.

OTOH, drugs are still against federal law as well.

I'm on the fence with this one, myself. I think TSOs should only be concerned with threats to the aircraft and not do LEO work. OTOH I don't think that TSOs should let, say, a child molester with an active warrant for said offense (should they somehow become aware of it) onto a plane without calling LEOs and alerting them.

I don't know how to reconcile those beliefs either.
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Old Oct 24, 07, 11:44 am
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Originally Posted by GadgetFreak View Post
Do you know how profoundly troubling I find it when I agree completely with you? Hopefully, I have troubled you as well by this acknowledgment
Can I also play?

I'm equally troubled by being in agreement with you, who are troubled by being in agreement with Dovster, with whom I'm usually in agreement.

My head hurts now.

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Old Oct 24, 07, 3:16 pm
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Originally Posted by MikeMpls View Post
States don't have rights. States are political units which in our system excercise powers granted them by the people. The 10th amendment to our constitution expressly reserves to the people all powers not granted to government. In the American system, a "right" is possessed only by individuals.
Mike, go back and re-read the 10th Amendment. It says that any powers not granted to the federal government, nor prohibited to the states, are reserved to the states or the people. It does not say to the people.

Each state can decide for itself which power it wants to exercise and which it wants to give to the people as a right.



Originally Posted by GadgetFreak View Post
Do you know how profoundly troubling I find it when I agree completely with you? Hopefully, I have troubled you as well by this acknowledgment
I believe that we are both in danger of losing our immortal souls as a result of such an unholy alliance.

Originally Posted by ralfp View Post
What happens when your non-stop XXX-YYY, not touching NY, diverts to JFK, while you are in possession of something that's illegal in NY?

What if the airline then cancels the continuation, leaving you stranded in NY? You get your bags and are then in possession of an illegal thing (such as a gun). Should you now go to jail?
I believe that if you can demonstrate that you had no intention of violating the law, and that the airline was totally responsible, you will be safe from prosecution.

However, you are talking about an extremely rare event. You might be stuck overnight if the last plane to YYY has left, but it is rare that you will not be able to continue your flight at all.
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Old Oct 24, 07, 3:25 pm
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Originally Posted by law dawg View Post
That's a pretty good point.

OTOH, drugs are still against federal law as well.

I'm on the fence with this one, myself. I think TSOs should only be concerned with threats to the aircraft and not do LEO work. OTOH I don't think that TSOs should let, say, a child molester with an active warrant for said offense (should they somehow become aware of it) onto a plane without calling LEOs and alerting them.

I don't know how to reconcile those beliefs either.
Then pick another item. There have been several TSA folks here that have stated that they are to call LEO if the spot any illegal item. I've seen no qualification that limits that to Federal laws (and is specifically why I said paraphanalia as opposed to drugs - because some states have tighter limits than others on items that aid in the use of drugs).
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Old Oct 24, 07, 3:58 pm
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Originally Posted by law dawg View Post
Can I also play?

I'm equally troubled by being in agreement with you, who are troubled by being in agreement with Dovster, with whom I'm usually in agreement.

My head hurts now.

We're all doomed.


The city and state of New York are legal entities and have enforceable laws. LGA and JFK are within those jurisdictions and are not exempt from the enforcement of the laws of those jurisdictions to the best of my knowledge. The State of NY and the State of New Jersey have decided to create a special governmental organization, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to enforce those laws at those sites and generally manage them, collect bribes from contractors, that sort of thing . The fact that someone is just passing through doesnt exempt one from those laws.

As an extreme case, I dont think there is a Federal statute against robbery, with some exceptions, during kidnapping, Fed insured financial institutions, on Federal property, etc. But it is clearly against the law in the state of New York to rob someone and the Port Authority Police enforce that law and investigate robberies at airports (I know, I was the victim of a robbery attempt at LGA and talked with PAPD investigators). I dont see it as a reasonable expectation that they not do their job. Not that they caught the <expletive deleted by moderator> that tried to rob me.

Last edited by VPescado; Mar 28, 08 at 11:53 am Reason: expletive deleted
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