Sunday, January 08, 2017

How They Will "Fix" the Fort Lauderdale "Problem"

The official narrative of the deadly attack at Fort Lauderdale's airport goes something like this:

  1. The shooter checked a bag with a gun and ammunition in it before flying into Fort Lauderdale;
  2. The shooter then retrieved the bag from the baggage carousel, took it to a bathroom, got out the gun, loaded it, and went on his shooting spree.
There's an obvious way to make these kinds of attacks less likely to happen, less likely to succeed, and less deadly when they do succeed. That way is to lift all legal restrictions on the carry of firearms so that criminals know they won't be automatically provided with rooms full of disarmed victims.

It's likely that the various airlines would themselves impose varying restrictions, ranging from "no guns on OUR planes" to "guns on our planes only in the hands of people with special permission slips of some kind" to "frangible ammunition only" (to address concerns of explosive cabin decompression in the event of an on-board firefight), but the overall effect would be to make it harder for murderers to murder.

The likelihood that that obvious solution will be implemented is effectively zero.

There will be calls, of course, to simply outlaw the transport of firearms in checked airline luggage. I doubt that will happen, though. Here's what will happen:

The Transportation Security Administration will require that checked bags with guns be handled separately from other luggage. They will not go onto the regular pickup carousel. They'll be secured with TSA locks and held at a TSA desk. Passengers will be required to pick their bags up at that desk, and to have parked or arranged for pickup in a segregated parking area that has one exit leading directly off of airport grounds. A TSA agent will escort the passenger to that segregated area where the bag will be placed in the trunk or other cargo bay, not the vehicle's passenger area, before the lock is removed.

Naturally, TSA will want more money in its budget to hire more employees to handle these special bags and escort these special travelers. At least part of that money will probably come from a hefty fee above and beyond the regular "September 11 Security Fee."

That won't leave us any safer, but it will leave TSA bigger, more powerful and more expensive.  From TSA's perspective, that's a feature, not a bug.

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