As Reported by Jennifer Shutt for News from the States
U.S. House members wrestled Tuesday with how to address a spike in travelers trying to bring firearms through airport screening points in carry-on bags.
During 2021, Transportation Security Administration officers detected 5,972 firearms at checkpoints, 86% of which were loaded. That number was up from the previous record of 4,432 discovered in 2019.
The Homeland Security Transportation and Maritime Security Subcommittee received several suggestions during its hearing about how to deal with this increase, though Democrats and Republicans differed on how best to reduce the number of passengers bringing guns to airports as well as their motivations.
Greg Regan, president of the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, called on Congress to pass two pieces of legislation that would give transportation safety officers the same type of workplace rights and protections as other federal employees and bar moving revenue from aviation security fees to non-security activities.
“It ultimately falls on the shoulders of TSOs to identify and confiscate weapons at these checkpoints,” Regan said. “There is no action response or antidote to the current surge in illegal passenger carried firearms more effective than a well-trained and well treated TSO workforce.”
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