When is a purse a threat to national security? Apparently when it is decorated with a tiny, flat, plastic, obviously-fake, western-style pistol. Thank goodness for the Transportation Security Administration.
First, take a look at the video here (I cannot embed it due to copyright restrictions). Now tell me--is that small, flat, hollow "gun" a threat? The correct answer is no.
Vanessa Gibbs, 17, claims the Transportation Security Administration stopped her at the security gate because of the design of a gun on her handbag.
Gibbs said she had no problem going through security at Jacksonville International Airport, but rather, when she headed home from Virginia.
The TSA defends the action it took, stating that a law passed in 2002 bans toy and replica guns from carry-on baggage. Does this accoutrement qualify? Without performing a lengthy analysis of the text of the bill and the intent of Congress, is not safe to say that Congress was not concerned with the shape of a gun on a purse when they passed the ban?
And there is more to the story:
Gibbs said she was headed back home to Jacksonville from a holiday trip when an agent flagged her purse as a security risk.
"She was like, 'This is a federal offense because it's in the shape of a gun,'" Gibbs said. "I'm like, 'But it's a design on a purse. How is it a federal offense?'"
After agents figured out the gun was a fake, Gibbs said, TSA told her to check the bag or turn it over.
By the time security wrapped up the inspection, the pregnant teen missed her flight, and Southwest Airlines sent her to Orlando instead, worrying her mother, who was already waiting for her to arrive at JIA.
Okay, aside from the fact that there was no reason to state she was a pregnant teen, what else does not make sense here?
There is another reason the TSA lacks credibility: enforcement is uneven (oftentimes, even at the same airport). The girl claims she travels by air with the bag all the time (which is probably no more than twice a year, but still...) and this was the first time she was stopped. I would be mad too--especially if the delay caused by the inspection led to a missed flight.
The TSA is not necessarily to blame for enforcing bad laws, but a little common sense would have worked wonders in this situation. The gun in question cannot accurately be classified as a replica or toy...