NYT editorial: ‘Arming the TSA is not a solution’

The New York Times editorial board criticized a proposal to arm Transportation Security Administration agents on Tuesday after a union for TSA workers made the suggestion in the wake of a deadly shooting at Los Angeles International Airport.

The editorial board said “arming TSA screeners seems both overly reactive to the Los Angeles shooting and impractical.”

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“The agency doesn’t train its agents to use firearms or recruit employees who would know how to handle themselves in a shootout,” the editorial board wrote. “It would be extremely costly for the agency to reimagine itself as an airport terminal police force. Besides, it’s not at all clear that armed agents could have prevented Friday’s shooting.”

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The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) union, which represents TSA workers, has said this week that it is in favor of creating a new class of airport security agents that are allowed to carry guns.

"Our officers are verbally assaulted everyday; they're physically assaulted far too often, and they need better protection at those checkpoints," AFGE's David Borer said during an interview Tuesday with Federal News Radio.

"That's why we're advocating for a new class of officer who is trained as a law enforcement officer, has a weapon, has arrest authority and so forth to protect those checkpoints," Borer continued.

The LAX shooting resulted in the death of one TSA agent and left two others wounded. The killing marked the first time a TSA agent had died in the line of duty.

The editorial board said, “if every shooting in a public place led to a new class of law enforcement officers, America would look like a war zone.”

“We would have armed ticket-takers at movie theaters, armed clerks at malls and armed teachers at schools,” the editorial board wrote.

“That’s an outcome the National Rifle Association would love, but that should worry anyone who doubts that more guns are the only answer.”