Only group who oppose are Libertarians

Steve Watson
December 13, 2013

A new poll indicates that a majority of Americans want to see TSA agents carrying firearms in airports, while the only grouping who oppose the notion are self identified Libertarians.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

The survey, conducted by Reason-Rupe, found that 59 percent of those polled favor arming TSA agents in the wake of the recent shooting at LAX airport where a TSA worker was fatally wounded.

Thirty-five percent of those surveyed said that they do not think it is wise to arms TSA agents, with 6 percent expressing no opinion one way or the other.

The survey found that a majority of voters, even when broken into political groupings, favor the idea, with almost two thirds of BOTH Republicans and Democrats saying agents should be armed. Only three in ten oppose the idea, with four in ten independents opposing.

A slight majority of non-partisan independents (51 percent) are in favor, with Republican-leaning independents evenly split on the matter.

The only political grouping to oppose the idea of arming the TSA is the Libertarian grouping, with 56 percent saying that it would be a bad idea to allow the TSA, a non law-enforcement government agency, to carry weapons.

As we reported last month following the LAX shooting, a plan to arm TSA agents has likely been in the works for some time. Indeed, two weeks prior to the shooting, the TSA was actively searching for a firing range to conduct ongoing “firearms training” using an estimated half-million rounds of ammunition annually.

In addition, back in July, the agency sought a firing range “within a 20 mile radius” of LaGuardia Airport in New York.

In the immediate wake of the shooting, which was (eventually) pinned on an anti-TSA “pissed off patriot”, unions for government employees began demanding that more TSA workers should be armed and even given arrest powers.

“The sad truth is that our TSA officers are subject to daily verbal assaults and far too frequent physical attacks,” Jeffrey David Cox Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said to the L.A. Times. “We feel a larger and more consistent armed presence in screening areas would be a positive step.”

The notion that the Department of Homeland Security is looking to arm TSA workers in the near future would also partly provide an answer as to why the federal agency has been acquiring bullets in such huge numbers over the course of the last 14 months.

An even more disturbing scenario would see armed TSA agents patrolling transport hubs in the US or even the streets of major cities, as Jesse Jackson called for earlier this year.

This would represent a massive expansion of the Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) program, where teams of armed TSA officers patrol railroad stations, bus stations, ferries, car tunnels, ports, subways, truck weigh stations, rest areas, and special events.

VIPR teams currently conduct around 8,000 operations a year. As well as providing security at transport hubs, VIPR teams are now being used to keep tabs on fans at sporting events.

Some people may question the sanity of arming TSA agents given that a significant number of them have proven to be prone to criminal behavior and ego-driven outbursts. The TSA has also repeatedly hired people with criminal records to work in security.

The information in the latest Reason-Rupe survey, was gathered as part of the a National Survey covering multiple current issues that is conducted several times per year by the LA based libertarian research organization.

The same survey also found that a majority of 63 percent oppose tighter restrictions on buying and owning guns to prevent them falling into criminal hands.

The Full survey can be perused below:

Reason-Rupe December 2013 Poll by Emily McClintock Ekins


Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’, and He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.

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