TSA Exceeding Its Lawful Authority?

They are considering banning guns at airports entirely, despite what state law may say about the matter.  Since when did airports become federal installations?  I’m sorry to say, but if this passes, Philadelphia will, no doubt, exercise this authority, which means I won’t be able to go to the GBR III event, since it seems to indicate they can just ban them:

The Airports Council International said in a recent letter to Hartsfield, “There is no justification for permitting firearms at any airport.” Policies vary from state to state and from airport to airport. Some bar guns fully, others allow them, sometimes in areas such as a parking lot, said Charles Chambers, the council’s security chief.

Hartsfield spokesman Herschel Grangent said that someone firing a gun in the airport would force a massive evacuation that could disrupt flights nationwide. Hartsfield, with 89 million passengers in 2007, is the world’s busiest airport.

Just one more reason to avoid flying.  This is going to be a bitch on competitive shooters if TSA doesn’t make exceptions.  Does TSA even have the legal authority to do this?

UPDATE: Looking at the relevant US Code and Federal Regulations regarding airport security, it is my, admitedly non-professional opinion, that the banning firearms from airports entirely would require a change in the Code of Federal Regulations (which is subject to the rulemaking process), but because the US Code demands the screening of all passengers and property, essentially you’d have to make the entire airport a secured area, meaning banning them in the parking lots would be largely impossible.  The Aviation and Transportation Security Act doesn’t seem to grant TSA the power to regulate activity in the non-secured areas of airports.  They seem to be able to issue recommendations, so they could certainly recommend to the State of Georgia to ban guns in its airports, but in my reading, they can’t force the issue.

27 thoughts on “TSA Exceeding Its Lawful Authority?”

  1. Quote: “Herschel Grangent said that someone firing a gun in the airport would force a massive evacuation that could disrupt flights nationwide.”

    Oh, baloney! They shut down airports if somebody spots a lost backpack or some white powder (confectioner’s sugar or …) or a guy in a turban.

  2. Just one more reason to avoid flying.

    I won’t fly anymore for a host of reasons and this one more example why I will most likely not fly again.

    The TSA can only outlaw on the basis of their jurisdiction period. Airports are state run up until the federal area beyond the security zone which is federally controlled. This looks like another humiliating experience for the government when they get sued! LOL! Go ahead TSA bring it!

  3. Holy Crap!

    I didn’t get the jist of this until I just read it again, but this is an end run from the desperate douche bags who are getting sued by Georgia Carry! Oh now it makes sense!

    Here is the real gist of the case:

    “The TSA is “trying to work through some complex legal issues,” said spokesman White. He gave no timetable for a decision. Courts may ultimately decide whether an airport can override state law and prohibit guns by adding a ban to its security program, Chambers said.”

    The reason for this is to give the city of Atlanta some way to override state law. Good luck suckers! I don’t see that happening!

  4. I immediately thought of the GA carry situation as well. TSA has no authority to do this, they are just trying to complicate the legal proceedings in Atlanta.

  5. I think the International council is mistaken. There is indeed a jusftification inasmuch as “local” law (i.e., the Constitution) requires that carry be permitted.

    You know: “…shall not be infringed…”?

    At least, unless they’ve amended the Second recently to include an “except in cases of airports” clause and I missed the memo.


  6. That’s all well and good, but I wouldn’t want to rely on going to court to raise a Second Amendment claim to get guns in airports thrown out as unconstitutional. I would give that claim a high chance of failure, given the language in Heller about “sensitive areas”

  7. “… they can’t force the issue.”

    Sure `they` can. One of those deals where policy is “This is completely voluntary, but if you do not comply we will pull funding.”

  8. Here is GeorgiaCarry’s catagory on the Airport case: http://www.georgiacarry.org/cms/category/action-items/hartsfield-airports-firearm-ban/

    You can find the link to the court documents there. Heller is mentioned but the big stick is state preemption against local firearm laws (Atlanta lost their parks ban a few months ago because of preemption). Georgia law only allows localities to ban the discharge (except in self defense). So basically if there is no federal law then state law must be followed and the airport is trying to get around that any way they can.

  9. Sure `they` can. One of those deals where policy is “This is completely voluntary, but if you do not comply we will pull funding.”

    Only Congress can do this. The TSA does not have unilateral authority to control funding.

  10. They often exceed their authority. Their recent decision to ban travel by people who refuse to show ID clearly violates the 9th Court of Appeals decision stating that people can fly without ID.

  11. Yup, this is all over one airport. They want Federal coverage so they can argue that, under the Supremacy Clause, it overrides the state pre-emption law.

  12. You have to wonder how much of this is a legitimate public relations concern on the part of the airport administrators, and how much of it is just the bureaucrats defending their turf.

  13. “…someone firing a gun in the airport would force a massive evacuation that could disrupt flights nationwide…”

    Why would anyone think that banning legal carriers with licenses would have anything to do with the above situation?

  14. OMG

    We’ve lost DC.

    Sebastian is right

    Fenty and gang only need declare the whole of DC a ‘sensitive area’. After all that’s where the fed conducts its business.

  15. I don’t see this movement on behalf of a few folks in Atlanta going anywhere …

  16. I’m a member of GeorgiaCarry.Org. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the NRA. They have steadfastly refused to fight to enforce pre-emption. GCO has and will! How many gun bans has the NRA gotten rid of? Before GCO, Probate Judges delayed issuing licenses. Cities banned guns in parks. And more. GCO fights for my rights as gun owner.

    If you are in Georgia and carry in a restrurant that serves alcohol, or carry in a park, or carry on public transit, that was GCO’s work. The licensing improvements was GCO’s work. The parking lot language that almost killed the good stuff in HB89, that was the NRA’s work along with their insulting and threatening every Legislator.

    GCO is taking one of Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Guns. We beat her once over the park ban (that was an GCO suit, not NRA). We may beat her again. Win or Lose, GCO will keep fighting every infringement we encounter. If we have to take this to SCOTUS, we will. And GCO won’t throw Machine Guns under the bus.

    Back to the article, Mayor Franklin has been networking in DC to get her gun ban covered under federal law. Apparently, she is scared that she will lose to GCO AGAIN. When that day comes, GCO will be able to put another notch on thier belt for another gun ban repealed.

    Monday is the federal court hearing on the preliminary injunction in the Atlanta Airport lawsuit, at 1:30 p.m. in the United States District Courthouse at 75 Spring Street in Atlanta, in room 1767. This determines whether the federal court will intervene to stop Atlanta from making arrests while the lawsuit is pending. This hearing does not determine whether GCO or Atlanta wins or loses the entire case.

    Another GCO initiative is the Senate study committee examining Georgia’s firearms law. That’s on Tue at 1030 in the Capital.

  17. Ted,

    GCO deserves kudos for the work it’s done in Georgia. NRA has done a lot to preserve preemption here in Pennsylvania. They jumped on the City of Philadelphia post haste when they went and enacted their illegal ordinances. They also put the TSA nonsense in their alert tonight, and asked people to contact TSA and tell them they are unhappy with their mutterings about creating a federal ban on guns in airports.

    If TSA starts moving forward with this, we’re going to need the 800lb gorilla. The same 800lb gorilla that cajoled the Department of Interior into proposing a change to the Code of Federal Regulations to get rid of the ban in National Parks.

    And yes, I recognize that NRA is misguided with this parking lot nonsense, but they did get on board with bringing the concealed carry improvements on board their bill, to get them passed with a compromise parking lot bill in the end.

  18. For those that think this isn’t on the NRA’s radar, I actually first heard of this story in the most recent NRA-ILA email update..

  19. What I want to know is why this an issue? I can think of one case where what they are affraid of actually happened and, it can be argued, it was a terrorist attack that this stupid regulation would not have prevented anyway.

  20. Fenty and gang only need declare the whole of DC a ’sensitive area’. After all that’s where the fed conducts its business.

    Yup, good thing there aren’t any major airports there. [I’m not kidding; both are in VA.]

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