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Thread: Are TSA officers "Law Enforcement"?

  1. #1
    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    Are TSA officers "Law Enforcement"?

    With the announcements that TSA is now doing checkpoints on public highways in TN, and soon to set them up in other states, this brings up a VERY interesting and potentially deadly situation for people who carry for self defense--OC and CC.

    In some states, (Like NC and OH) if you have a CC permit and are CCing, you have a statutory "duty to inform" any time you have an official interaction with an LEO. Most of us know what that means--Highway Patrol, State Police Sheriffs Deputies, local police, etc.

    But since most TSA "officers" are purely administrative, and are NOT "sworn LE officers" and DO NOT have the power of arrest, do they qualify as "LEOs" under these state's laws.

    Say for instance, you are OCing on your hip, and driving your car. You have a valid NC CHP. And you come up to a TSA "security checkpoint" on a public highway in NC.

    Now, if this were a "sobriety checkpoint" being operated by the local Sheriff or the State Police, you have a duty to inform" as soon as you roll down the window and hand the LEO your DL and CHP.

    But since TSA does not have the power of arrest, and are not sworn officers, it is arguable that they are NOT LEOs, and therefore not privileged to be "informed" that you are carrying like a real cop would be.

    I just wonder what other people think. Let's get this one figured out folks--it's going to become a SERIOUS issue soon, and I'd hate to see an OCDO member get jacked by the TSA for violating a law that doesn't apply or even exist...
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
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    Regular Member MilProGuy's Avatar
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    Excellent topic, and one that should elicit many responses from our knowledgeable members and, hopefully, at the conclusion of the thread we will all come away as better informed 2A citizens.
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  3. #3
    Regular Member MilProGuy's Avatar
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    According to Wikipedia the types of TSA employees are:
    • Transportation Security Officers: known as screeners. They screen people, property and control entry and exit points in airports. They also watch several areas before and beyond checkpoints.

    • Federal Air Marshals: A federal law enforcement officer, a FAM blends in with passengers, to detect, deter, and defeat terrorists and other criminals targeting U.S. air carriers, airports, passengers, crew, and when necessary, other transportation modes.

    • Transportation Security Inspectors: They inspect, assess, and investigate passenger and cargo transportation systems to see how secure they are.

    • National Explosives Detection Canine Teams Program: These trainers prepares dogs and handlers to serve as mobile teams that can quickly find dangerous materials.

    Last edited by MilProGuy; 11-15-2011 at 11:14 PM. Reason: edited for clarity and brevity
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  4. #4
    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    So if the TSA worker that accosts you in an unconstitutional VIPR checkpoint on a highway and detains and searches you and your vehicle without probable cause is a Federal Air Marshal, then we WOULD have a "duty to inform".

    But if the TSA officer is any other type of TSA employee, then they are not technically "LEOs", and therefore we would have no more duty to inform than with a mall cop or a school-crossing guard, right?
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

  5. #5
    Regular Member MilProGuy's Avatar
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    I'm certainly no authority on this, but so it would seem (at least with the little bit of info we have gathered so far).
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    NO, There is no duty to inform.
    So if the TSA worker that accosts you in an unconstitutional VIPR checkpoint on a highway and detains and searches you and your vehicle without probable cause is a Federal Air Marshal, then we WOULD have a "duty to inform".
    NO. This is not a lawful search, Your only duty is to defy.
    And if they setup and start attacking people like this in-mass then its an act of war, any able bodied man witnessing such an attack has a duty to fight.

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    State laws will vary, of course, but just because you have a duty to notify police, doesn't mean the same duty extends to federal agents, even if they're LEOs.

    In Texas, there is a duty to hand over your CHL when a peace officer or magistrate demands identification. Federal officers, even LEOs, are never peace officers in Texas, even if they are recognized in state law as special agents. So, there is no duty to inform when dealing with feds.

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    No they aren't. They call in the airport cops or local cops to do their dirty work, as they have no arrest powers. (Whatsamatter, can't make a citizen's arrest?)


    If you see somebody with a gun, that person probably has powers of arrest and is considered "law enforcement." Somebody from the gubbmint, that is.

  9. #9
    Herr Heckler Koch
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yard Sale View Post
    If you see somebody with a gun, that person probably has powers of arrest and is considered "law enforcement." Somebody from the gubbmint, that is.
    There are almost ONE MILLION armed federal agents within the borders of the US - scrooing Posse Comitatus. Even such as the FDA and EPA have JBTs.

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    Regular Member carry for myself's Avatar
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    this is a good question. luckily we don't have this issue in Maine. but its along the same lines as "university police"........in order for someone to be a "law enforcement officer" they have to be on payroll for a STATE OR FEDERAL agency to begin with. now if the TSA agent is not armed and is just a screen-er even though they are a federal employee they are not a LEO. unless otherwise describe in their job description. just like a lot of university cops are NOT LEO's because their salary is paid by the PRIVATE organization of a university lol

    SO the question is.....the TSA dude that walks up to your car.........what is his job description . he could be a screen-er or he could be a marshal. hard part is how do you tell?
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  11. #11
    Regular Member Whitney's Avatar
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    Ask Them

    Quote Originally Posted by carry for myself View Post
    this is a good question. luckily we don't have this issue in Maine. but its along the same lines as "university police"........in order for someone to be a "law enforcement officer" they have to be on payroll for a STATE OR FEDERAL agency to begin with. now if the TSA agent is not armed and is just a screen-er even though they are a federal employee they are not a LEO. unless otherwise describe in their job description. just like a lot of university cops are NOT LEO's because their salary is paid by the PRIVATE organization of a university lol

    SO the question is.....the TSA dude that walks up to your car.........what is his job description . he could be a screen-er or he could be a marshal. hard part is how do you tell?
    Ask them for their government issued picture ID. (Seriously)

    ~Whitney
    The problem with America is stupidity.
    I'm not saying there should be capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?

  12. #12
    Regular Member Badger Johnson's Avatar
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    I think any TSA guy would:
    1. Be under no duty to inform you of anything during said stop let alone his Super Secret(tm) job description, lol;
    2. Probably be 'deputized' during his service at the stop.

    Hopefully, they're too dumb to realize this and one can just defy them, or get them to identify/show ID. IDK, IANAL.
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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badger Johnson View Post
    I think any TSA guy would:
    1. Be under no duty to inform you of anything during said stop let alone his Super Secret(tm) job description, lol;
    2. Probably be 'deputized' during his service at the stop.

    Hopefully, they're too dumb to realize this and one can just defy them, or get them to identify/show ID. IDK, IANAL.
    Any person performing a law enforcement action of custodial arrest is mandated to inform you of your rights under Miranda and Edwards - but only at the time that they place you under arrest. (Remember that it is not saying "You are under arrest" that places you in that status.)

    Federal LEOs are usually not deputized when participating in a joint task force operation because their authority is usually greater than that of the local LEA. Any federal agent who is not qualified as a LEO could only be deputized in a declared emergency or when specifically instructed by a LEO to perform custodial arrest duties related to the capture of a person escaping from the LEO (the cop on the street who yells at you to "Grab that guy!" has just deputized you - but it is extremely time-and-circumstance limited in scope of authority on his part and on your part to act under the deputization).

    As I understand the situation, TSA screeners were screening while federal and local/state LEOs were exercising their authority to stop traffic and order drivers to submit to the screening, and were prepared to exercise arrest authority against anybody who refused to submit to screening. Since screening does not involve any actual law enforcement activity the screeners had no need to be deputized.

    stay safe.
    Last edited by skidmark; 11-18-2011 at 04:30 PM.
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  14. #14
    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    As I understand the situation, TSA screeners were screening while federal and local/state LEOs were exercising their authority to stop traffic and order drivers to submit to the screening, and were prepared to exercise arrest authority against anybody who refused to submit to screening. Since screening does not involve any actual law enforcement activity the screeners had no need to be deputized.

    stay safe.

    So let me get this straight. A non-sworn, non-LEO conducting an unconstitutional search in direct violation of the 4th Amendment (a process which they ADMIT is NOT a law enforcement activity!) can have a REAL LEO arrest a citizen for refusing to give consent for said illegal search?

    Yeah, that makes all kinds of sense...

    I don't doubt that is how it goes down. I just can't understand how it is justified legally, morally, or ethically.

    If a CITIZEN did the same thing to people on the street, they'd be arrested and called a highwayman or a domestic terrorist.

    I say, if the shoe fits, TSA, you might as well wear it.

    I don't mean anything by that, I'm just sayin'...
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

  15. #15
    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Federal LEOs are usually not deputized when participating in a joint task force operation because their authority is usually greater than that of the local LEA.
    Actually for the majority of the history of the USA, exactly the OPPOSITE was true. Sheriffs were the supreme LEO of a locality. Federal agents USED to have to get permission from the Sheriff to operate locally. In some states, they had to get permission to even BE in a local jurisdiction on official business.

    But Prohibition changed all that, when the BATF and Treasury decided to write some new laws giving themselves broad reach, usurping local LE control and authority, and essentially establishing a Federal Police Force that answered to no one but the President.

    Personally I'd like to see those bygone days return--where Federal Agents and employees had no LE power or authority locally unless they were acting under the blessing of the local Sheriff (who, as an ELECTED official, is totally answerable for his actions...) Restoring LE authority to the local Sheriff would go a LONG way to fix much of the over-reach we are seeing these days--from the BATFE to the FDA to HHS to USDA...
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

  16. #16
    Anti-Saldana Freedom Fighter Venator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamer View Post
    Actually for the majority of the history of the USA, exactly the OPPOSITE was true. Sheriffs were the supreme LEO of a locality. Federal agents USED to have to get permission from the Sheriff to operate locally. In some states, they had to get permission to even BE in a local jurisdiction on official business.

    But Prohibition changed all that, when the BATF and Treasury decided to write some new laws giving themselves broad reach, usurping local LE control and authority, and essentially establishing a Federal Police Force that answered to no one but the President.

    Personally I'd like to see those bygone days return--where Federal Agents and employees had no LE power or authority locally unless they were acting under the blessing of the local Sheriff (who, as an ELECTED official, is totally answerable for his actions...) Restoring LE authority to the local Sheriff would go a LONG way to fix much of the over-reach we are seeing these days--from the BATFE to the FDA to HHS to USDA...
    http://www.amazon.com/County-Sheriff.../dp/B002PKCMFO
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    *The information contained above is not meant to be legal advice, but is solely intended as a starting point for further research. These are my opinions, if you have further questions it is advisable to seek out an attorney that is well versed in firearm law.

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herr Heckler Koch View Post
    There are almost ONE MILLION armed federal agents within the borders of the US - scrooing Posse Comitatus. Even such as the FDA and EPA have JBTs.
    The following information is probably fifteen years old. It is a list of federal agencies which authorize certain personnel to carry firearms:

    The Environmental Protection Agency
    The Department of Education
    The Department of Agriculture
    The Department of Immigration
    The Department of Labor
    The Department of Energy
    The Department of Commerce
    The Bureau of Land Management
    The Federal Aviation Agency
    The Department of Health and Human Resources
    The Department of Housing and Urban Development
    The State Department
    The Internal Revenue Service
    The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives


    So the FDA does as well, eh? Not surprised.
    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    If one were to happen upon such an abortion of "legal" action, why not really drive them crazy and put your sidearm on your dash in full view? They can't do squat about it (talking in Virginia) so it could be interesting.

    Seriously, I wrote something similar to this a few weeks ago on another thread where someone happened upon a TSA checkpoint and was carrying openly at the time. Of course, we are not a duty to inform state and would not have to provide a CHP when OC'ing. So let's say you get out of your car and suddenly some TSA "agent", seeing your firearm and not being completely familiar with Virginia laws and customs, pulls down on you. How does that go down? What happens now?

    As a side note, I have thought all along that the supreme law enforcement authority within a state is the county sheriff and that his power and authority trumps that of even any federal law enforcement agency. Is this not the case?


    BTW, excellent subject matter to discuss as it could very well come to pass that we see this sort of thing spreading.
    Last edited by SouthernBoy; 11-19-2011 at 08:50 AM.
    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    Yes, this is indeed a strange one here.. How/where do they even get the juridiction for this, to begin with?
    And one has to wonder about their budget, in this economy, how they can justifiably fund such an activity right now..is this a State-level item, or Federal?
    If Federal, how the heck does it only go down in a couple of States, and-for that matter- why these particular States?
    Whole thing makes zero sense to me, really.

  20. #20
    Regular Member hermannr's Avatar
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    I'm not sure I would even stop for a GSA license plated vehicle in the first place. Assumimg I did stop, I would chew them out for interupting my trip and leave.

    If they had some lawful authority stop me (Sheriff or State Patrol) I would stop for the Sheriff and State Patrol, and then ask where their warrant was. Random checks are not legal in WA state.

  21. #21
    Campaign Veteran Schlitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MilProGuy View Post
    Excellent topic, and one that should elicit many responses from our knowledgeable members and, hopefully, at the conclusion of the thread we will all come away as better informed 2A citizens.
    *stand up and start slow clap*
    What an amazing post.

    This is an easy one for all the reasons you described in the original post. TSA are not sworn police officers, they don't carry guns, they really don't have any direct authority over you. My gun on my person is not their business.

    sent from my phone, excuse my grammar/spelling errors
    “The claim and exercise of a constitutional right cannot be converted into a crime.”
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    “There can be no sanction or penalty imposed upon one because of his exercise of constitutional rights.”
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  22. #22
    Regular Member MilProGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schlitz View Post

    *stand up and start slow clap*
    What an amazing post.
    Well, thank you very much.

    Coming from you, this is a real compliment.
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  23. #23
    Regular Member VW_Factor's Avatar
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    In short. No. They are not law enforcement. They are a government agency with no actual authority other than screening your ****.
    Quote Originally Posted by Beretta92FSLady
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  24. #24
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    How we can restore proper law enforcement, Freedom & Right To Carry

    Take back our FREEDOM in AMERICA county by county,sheriff by sheriff, state by state will put the over reach of the federal government back into lawful and constitutional submission to We The People! http://CountySheriffProject.org/ http://rtr.org/videos/2/34806/special-report-county-sheriffs
    Last edited by NewZealandAmerican; 11-21-2011 at 07:13 AM.
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  25. #25
    Regular Member NewZealandAmerican's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy View Post
    As a side note, I have thought all along that the supreme law enforcement authority within a state is the county sheriff and that his power and authority trumps that of even any federal law enforcement agency. Is this not the case?

    .
    Yes it is true, A sheriff honoring his oath can and would be able to detain, arrest or even use deadly force against any federal agent who comes into his county and violates the rights of the people in his county, up to and including the president of the USA. A sheriff can kick any fed out of his county and make them require his permission to enter his county.


    The County Sheriff really does have more power and authority than even the president of the united States. We really get tell the Feds to kiss off and get out of our counties and states! Lets inform all of our 3000 Sheriffs across America who are not aware of their proper authority, duty and obligations to protect the un-alieanable rights of the people in their county.Wyoming Sheriffs Told Federal BATF & IRS Agents To Abide By The Constitution Or Face Immediate Arres
    politicalvelcraft.orgWyoming Sheriffs Put Feds In Their Place. Immediately Below Is The Internet Embellishment Followed By How It Really Went Down! Here’s one the mainstream media isn’t going to tell you:...
    Last edited by NewZealandAmerican; 11-21-2011 at 07:22 AM.
    (Dion Wood). MY FREEDOM PAGE[/COLOR] with valuable links to ALTERNATIVE MEDIA, Internet Radio shows and other sites to restore our FREEDOM & LIBERTYhttp://www.QRZ.com/db/KB9QFH TELEPHONE: +1(800)808-KIWI that's +1(800)808-5494 Tollfree. "NewZealander By Birth, American By The Grace Of God." See also http://www.facebook.com/NewZealandAmerican & http://RTR.org/NewZealandAmerican “IN MEMORY OF OUR GOD, OUR RELIGION, AND FREEDOM, AND OUR PEACE, OUR WIVES, AND OUR CHILDREN" (The Title Of LIBERTY)

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