Survey finds 59% support arming of TSA agents

Flowers for slain TSA agent Gerardo Hernandez at LAX Terminal 3.
Flowers for slain TSA agent Gerardo Hernandez at LAX Terminal 3.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Just over a month after the killing of a Transportation Security Administration officer at Los Angeles International Airport, 59% of those polled by a conservative think tank say TSA agents should be armed.

The telephone survey of 1,011 people, conducted on behalf of the Reason Foundation, follows the fatal shooting last month of Gerardo I. Hernandez, the first TSA officer to die in the line of duty.

Nearly two-thirds of both Republicans and Democrats favor arming TSA agents, the survey found. Support declines somewhat among nonpartisan independents and Republican-leaning independents, according to the survey.


Self-identified libertarians were the only political group in which a majority (56%) oppose arming TSA agents, according to the survey.

Shortly after the shooting of Hernandez, the union representing 45,000 federal security agents called for the creation of a class of armed TSA officers with law enforcement training and the power to arrest people.

TSA Administrator John Pistole said his agency would review its protocols in the wake of the attack.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled Wednesday for Paul Anthony Ciancia, the 23-year-old suspect in the shooting rampage at LAX. Three other people were wounded in the incident.


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