Poll: 59% of Americans Want TSA Agents to Carry Guns

A month following the fatal shooting of a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer at Los Angeles International Airport, a majority of Americans, 59 percent, say that TSA agents in airports should carry guns. Thirty-five percent of those surveyed believe TSA agents should not be armed.

Nearly two thirds of both Republicans and Democrats favor arming TSA agents. Support declines somewhat among non-partisan independents (51 percent favor) and Republican-leaning independents (50 percent favor).  While 3 in 10 Democrats and Republicans oppose the TSA carrying guns, 4 in 10 independents agree. The only political group in which a majority (56 percent) oppose arming TSA agents are self-identified libertarians.

Nationwide telephone poll conducted Dec 4-8 2013 interviewed 1011 adults on both mobile (506) and landline (505) phones, with a margin of error +/- 3.7%. Princeton Survey Research Associates International executed the nationwide Reason-Rupe survey. Columns may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full poll results, detailed tables, and methodology found here. Sign up for notifications of new releases of the Reason-Rupe poll here.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • playa manhattan||

    I'm pretty sure that if I were the interviewer on the phone, I could get 99 percent of respondents to say that the TSA shouldn't even exist.

  • waffles||

    These polls are depressing. I am afraid they are filling me with distrust and disdain for 60% of my fellow Americans.

  • wareagle||

    only 60%?

  • fish||

    While I'm sure that the easily led and mediocre thinkers think that TSA agents should be armed I'm pretty sure that the government, knowning just what they have in a TSA talent pool, is shrewd enough to not let that happen.

  • amagi1776||

    Looking at your average police officer, are you sure?

  • ||

    They are filling me with disdain for polls.

  • Jordan||

    Welp. This may be the most depressing poll of the year.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    I'll be on the moon if anyone needs me.

  • Lord Humungus||

    the moon moon?

  • Hugh Akston||

    If I wasn't so lazy, I'd punch you in the stomach.

  • Jordan||

    59% of Americans are more retarded than Moon Moon.

  • ||

    Gingrich invited you to his colony?

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    He was appointed warden, which is all he's ever really wanted.

  • GILMORE||

    "Poll: A Majority of Americans Will Support Anything As Long As the Question is Worded a Certain Way and they Don't Think They Have to Pay For it"

  • ||

    Or GILMORE could put it more succinctly and correctly than I did.

  • GILMORE||

    Disclosure: I used to run surveys (and do analysis of them) for a living.

    Let's just say it was the low point of my numbermonkey career. But I learned a great deal about how 1) you can pretty much engineer any results you want into the survey by design, and 2) pretty much strip any conclusion you want out of them even when you didn't get the intended/expected results.

    Probably the only fun part was the 3) you often did learn something interesting entirely by accident which had nothing to do with the point of the survey.

    My favorite survey of all time was when I was called and asked about my usage level and opinions of various Microsoft software.

    The last question was, "Do you use a computer at home or work?". THE LAST QUESTION. I said No entirely out of spite and contempt.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Are you in favor of your taxes increasing to arm TSA agents?

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    An interesting poll would be:

    "Do you support X?"
    "Would you be willing to accept an increase in your taxes to the amount of $Y per year to fund X?"
    "Would you still support X if it required raising taxes for people earning over $200,000 per year?"

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    95% of the time the answers will be:

    Yes
    No
    Yes

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    Being able to quantify that would be interesting, especially if you could show the results when Y changes.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Why raise taxes when you can get the money from the rich?

  • GILMORE||

    FWIW I bet you could get 90% of people to oppose this by asking,

    "Do you support increasing airport security (yes/no)

    If Yes -

    Do you support doing this by:

    a) increasing numbers of trained federal and local law enforcement officers assigned to Airport security
    or
    b) arming TSA agents
    or
    c) other"

    Shit, you could kill it simply by asking, "Will you pay X% more to fly in exchange for ...."

  • ||

    Why do I severely doubt the veracity of this poll? 59% of people want the scum groping them at the airport to be fucking armed?!? Which of course means power of arrest.

    Yeah, I will once again reiterate that polls are total bullshit, a mere masturbatory exercise.

  • playa manhattan||

    All of these polls were conducted from the same telephone survey on Dec 4-8 2013. I'm beginning to think that they might have had a larger than average number of morons participating in the phone survey. Especially on land lines.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I thought you were an advocate of masturbatory exercise.

  • ||

    Only certain kinds, Hugh. Mostly involving auto-asphyxiation and/or peanut butter. Crunchy peanut butter. No creamy allowed.

  • wareagle||

    alas, a subject for which there is no poll.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Don't bet on it.

  • ||

    The only political group in which a majority (56 percent) oppose arming TSA agents are self-identified libertarians.

    So 44% of 'libertarians' want more armed agents of the state?

  • Volren||

    Sounds like a purge is necessary.

  • califernian||

    Americans suck.

  • Lord Humungus||

    you can say that again!

  • califernian||

    Americans suck.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Then we are even. I want to carry a gun around the TSA too.

  • UnCivilServant||

    "Poll: 59% of Americans don't fly."

  • GILMORE||

    But R.Kelly *believes* he can

  • Drake||

    99% of people who answer the phone for pollsters are assholes.

  • R C Dean||

    The level of cognitive dissonance on display in these polls is appalling.

    Americans want less government, except when they want more.

    A sizable minority of libertarians want the jumped-up mall cops at TSA to go armed.

    Jeebus. What a stupid bunch we are.

  • ||

    There is also the fact that polls are retarded and useless, and it's kind of a fool's game to actually read anything from them.

  • Seamus||

    I'd be happy to let them be armed with this kind of gun: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_new.....ys-toy-gun

  • Enough About Palin||

    No sock monkey needs a 2-inch toy gun!

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    “I understand she was doing her job, but at some point doesn’t common sense prevail?”

    NO!

  • BakedPenguin||

    I'd be happy to replace the TSA with sock monkeys. I'm pretty sure their effectiveness wouldn't decrease.

    At least, not in a statistically measurable way.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    So long as their guns aren't black with spiky bits. Too scary.

  • sarcasmic||

    Another reason why I will never fly again.

  • creech||

    How about REASON stops wasting money on these polls? Due to lossely worded questions, the results are so contradictory as to be meaningless and we already know what morons most Americans seem to be.

  • OO=======D||

    Had I known that Reason was wasting money on these worthless polls, I'd have never mad a webathon donation.

  • playa manhattan||

    I'm sorry to say that I didn't see your name on the banner.

    I wonder how many variations of penis are already registered here?

  • Enough About Palin||

    I saw it, playa. But I didn't see Sandi. I suspect she's on travel somewhere.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    Even when the information isn't terrifically helpful, I appreciate Reason doing these polls. Even the bad polls are useful, because idiots LOVE polls. These things could potentially help sway a politician or journalist into paying attention to an issue that they'd otherwise ignore.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I'm personally okay with the polls as well. However, more than 2 or so a day is a bit much.

  • Ted S.||

    I think it's just one poll with a dozen questions, enabling H&R to post 3985474325 articles about each poll.

    (Actually, I believe this is article #10; five yesterday and five today. But I may have miscounted or missed an article.)

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Is "Pollapalooza" a yearly event? I haven't noticed it in the 2 plus years I've been here?

  • The DerpRider||

    60% of commentarians want to see 20 polls a day posted within 26 minutes of each other.
    20% are stuck in other threads because of so many poll posts.
    10% are throwing a rope over a rafter to hang themselves.

  • Ted S.||

    It's one poll, but they're doing a different article for every question.

    It's almost as bad as a fucking slideshow list.

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    I don't trust these polls because I always lied on polls.
    Also they only call land lines? I no longer have a land line.

  • The DerpRider||

    I have a 10 year old only knows what a land line is because of visits to relatives' houses, and didn't get a joke in a movie with a modem connection squeal.

  • ||

    Look on the bright side. Now you can read about polls without also having to participate in them. It's like getting 1/2 the polling!

  • ||

    More evidence of America's libertarian moment!

    Our paradise is just around the corner.

  • CE||

    You can say that again.

  • ||

    More evidence of America's libertarian moment!

    Our paradise is just around the corner.

  • Lord Humungus||

    The South shall rise again!

  • Mr. Soul||

    The Moon shall rise again! The moon moon.

  • Sudden||

    I think you guys accidentally put the header from this title on the last article.

    "What are you smoking?: poll shows 59% of respondents want TSA to carry guns."

  • WC Varones||

    No! I want passengers to carry guns.

    TSA are the dregs of humanity.

  • Brandybuck||

    Obviously 59% of Americans have never been to an airport.

  • Killaz||

    Just . . .

    http://www.economicpolicyjourn.....yland.html

    Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of two former high school lacrosse players who were suspended for possessing “deadly weapons,” namely a penknife and a butane lighter, which were found in their lacrosse bags. Although it was understood that the tools were used by the boys to maintain their lacrosse equipment, the police were called and one player was actually handcuffed, fingerprinted and charged with possession of a deadly weapon. In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for Maryland, Institute attorneys allege that the Board of Education of Talbot County and several school officials violated Graham Dennis and Casey Edsall’s constitutional right to due process by suspending them from Easton High School on the basis that the tools constituted “dangerous weapons,” as well as their Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

    . . . . wow.

  • Killaz||

    As a firm supporter of zero tolerance, I believe every public school employee in the nation should be fired for this incident.

  • Enough About Palin||

    Nice!

  • CE||

    I see "get fired immediately without severance benefits" wasn't an option in the poll.

  • Matrix||

    I'm fine with them getting guns, so long as they immediately shoot themselves in the head with them.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement