Wednesday, April 10, 2013

TSA and 2nd Amendment Rights

“As we’re getting ready to fly out of town on Monday, I was just thinking about how limited my Second Amendment rights are by TSA in not being allowed to take guns onto airplanes.”
This was a tongue-in-cheek email received from someone who must remain anonymous. He added following the statement quoted above, “Don’t quote me by name – I don’t need the TSA coming after me!”
But, as asserted by the NRA and the tens of millions of gun owners across the nation, if we are guaranteed the right to bear arms by the Second Amendment, how can that right be taken away by the Transportation Security Administration?

There are, no doubt, people who seriously think that their personal rights (and/or dignity) are regularly being infringed by the TSA. Some of the kinder explanations of what TSA stands for are Totally Senseless Aggravation and Taxpayer Supported Assault.
Since everyone has to buy a ticket and is admitted to the boarding lobby after showing a picture identification on which background checks are made, why should not only guns, but hunting knives, scissors, and all sorts of other things be banned from airplanes? (Not long after 9/11, I even lost fingernail clippers to the TSA.)
If every Tom, Dick, and Mary can own and has free access to even large magazine assault weapons on the ground, why can the TSA keep even small handguns off airplanes? Don’t people have any Second Amendment rights?
While there has been a lot of talk about enacting gun control legislation over the past three or four months, there has not yet been much done in that regard, except for in two or the states. And, as I wrote previously, I am still pessimistic about meaningful gun control legislation being passed nationwide (although in the last few days there have some encouraging signs).
So if, as so many argue, guns are necessary to protect ourselves on the ground, why not in the air? Arkansas recently passed the Church Protection Act which allows places of worship to decide whether to allow concealed handguns and who could carry them. The House passed the bill 85-8 with bipartisan support. The measure previously passed the Senate 28-4.
If there is that kind of support for carrying guns to church, why should the TSA be able to prohibit them from airplanes? Oh, maybe it is because if no one is allowed to have guns on airplanes, then maybe no one needs one. Maybe that’s an idea that should to be considered on the earth as well as in the sky.
Actually, I appreciate the work of the TSA. It is a bit annoying for them to be so picky. Like everyone having to take their shoes off—unless, now, you were born in 1937 or before. (June doesn’t have to take her shoes off now—but she has to be frisked anyway because her knee replacement sets off the metal detector.)
I have been disgusted when, more than once, I have forgotten to leave at home a pocket knife (with its 1.25 inch blade!) and had to surrender it to the TSA.
But airplanes in this country have flown safely for a long time now. There haven’t been any hijackings for years or any terrorist seizure of airplanes since 9/11/01.
So maybe the TSA is doing a good job, and maybe we ordinary citizens don’t need to insist on our Second Amendment right to carry a gun on an airplane—and maybe not in any other public place, either.


  1. The following is the third (divided into three paragraphs here) of three long paragraphs received from a Thinking Friend, who was a missionary colleague in Japan long ago. (The first two paragraphs will be more fitting as responses to the posting I am planning to make later this month about peace activist John Dear.)

    "In the current debate, the most relevant question was asked by Texas Senator, Tom Cruz. He asked Senator Diane Feinstein how many books she would ban under the First Amendment.

    "Registration is the first step toward confiscation. New York Governor Cuomo has stated that confiscation is the ultimate goal of gun control, and he naively expressed the hope that New York would set the example, and the other states would follow the example of New York.

    "There are stories about people who believed in gun control so strongly that they put up signs in their front yards saying that their houses contained no firearms. Burglars took this as a welcome sign, and after several burglaries, the gun control advocates took the signs down. So, my challenge to gun control advocates is, 'Go thou and do likewise.'"

    1. Old friend, I guess I have to ask a couple of hard questions: What possessions do you have, except perhaps your and/or your wife's life, that are so precious that you would be willing to shoot and perhaps to kill a burglar entering your house?

      Further, what is it that makes your life more valuable than that of someone who is so poor or so desperate (or maybe even so evil?) that he (it probably wouldn't be a she) feels the need to break into your house?

      And on a more practical level, if he had a gun and you had a gun, unless you shot first wouldn't he be more likely to shoot you if you had a gun than if you didn't? And if you shot first, then go back to my first question.

  2. "...on the earth as well as in the sky."

    That sounds like a line from The Lord's Prayer.

  3. Ironically, I last flew just a few days after 9-11, and that was for a long-planned vacation in New York City. Ground Zero was still smoldering when we visited it. As I have listened to friends and family lament and yet accept TSA, I realize I am not at all an authority on the subject of TSA.

    However, I do have thoughts about gun control in general. Let me start with a famous gaffe by President Obama, the one where he cited people clinging to their guns and their religion. Well, he was being somewhat redundant there, because guns are part of that clinging religion, and their gun beliefs are as much a theological doctrine as anything heard in church. It is as easy to talk about abortion, homosexuality, evolution, global warming, or classical economics (another religion) as it is about guns. I mean, what part of "well regulated" do they not understand?

    Leroy has cleverly pointed out another inconsistency in the gun rights religion. Unfortunately, if he has any significant effect, it might well be to provoke a hysterical demand for the God-given right to carry loaded semi-automatic rifles on commercial flights. These people do not respond well to logic.

    So, at the risk of demands for the free sale of bazookas, machine guns, cannons, tanks, and atomic bombs, let me suggest that so far even the NRA has not demanded these weapons. There is a line between civilian weapons and military weapons. The gun control debate should be about where that line should be drawn. If only it were that simple!