Show Your Handgun, Not Your ID

Checking easily-phony IDs won't stop terrorists.

Government employees check your ID before you get on a plane.  The government tells us that's why nobody has taken an aircraft since 9-11, but that's a typical self-serving government lie.

How often do we read about people smuggling something onto an airplane to test the system?  If a bunch of kids can sneak toy guns onto airplanes, terrorists can sneak real guns onto airplanes.  Bad guys can get good IDs.  It's so easy to get a fraudulent ID that Reader's Digest* had an article about people who couldn't drive bribing inspectors to get licenses to drive 18-wheelers.

Fake IDs are so easy to get that checking IDs does nothing for security.  Government claiming credit is a lie, so why hasn't there been another hijacking?  The reason nobody has hijacked an airliner since 9-11 is that the dynamic changed.  It used to be that if someone kidnapped a plane full of passengers, the terrorists might kill 1 or 2 but most passengers would live.  Now we're being kidnapped to ride shotgun on a suicide mission.  It will take heavy weapons to take over a plane full of 150 people who have nothing to lose.  Anybody who messes with a pilot will get mobbed.

Inspecting IDs is a waste of time and money, but it's ideal from the bureaucratic point of view because it doesn't solve the problem.  If someone wants to take an airplane, it's simple to get weapons on board.  The agency will say, "We asked for money and you wouldn't give us enough.  We'll take care of it, but you'll have to double our budget."  Bureaucracies have a motto, "Never solve the problem; there's more budget to be had from making it worse."

If we're serious about stopping terrorism, the solution is in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Terrorists can attack any time and place they choose.  We can't hire enough cops to protect every vulnerable point.  We put guards on planes, but so few that terrorists can pretty much ignore them.

What if we armed the people?  Thousands of citizens learned how to use weapons in the military.  A lot of them had security clearances.  If we asked them to carry guns to protect us, they'd jump at it.   They'd even pay for their own weapons and training.

I don't know how many armed citizens we'd have walking around, but we have a lot more potentially-armed civilians than we have sky marshals.  If asking well-trained ex-military to fight terrorists isn't a good reason for a "well-regulated militia," I don't know what is.  The entire program could be managed by the National Guard.

The bureaucracy would hate that.  It wouldn't cost much money, it wouldn't create jobs, and it would solve the problem.  That's death from the bureaucratic point of view.

After 9-11, Congress passed a law saying that licensed pilots could carry guns.  That would work, but since it would solve the problem, bureaucrats dragged their feet putting licensing procedures in place.  Bureaucrats always prefer expensive "solutions" which won't work to something cheap that will work.

* - Reader's Digest, July 2007, "License to Kill," p 37--39.  In 2006, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation identified 15,000 "suspect" license holders in 27 states. p 37.  The feds found that illegals can get driving skills certified for $500-$1,500.  Given that the 9-11 team spent just over $1 million planning for 9-11, buying IDs is nothing.

Read other articles by Hobbes or other articles on Bureaucracy.
Reader Comments

Time magazine just reported

Those fine Transportation Security Administration airport security screeners may be awfully good at making you take your shoes off but they are useless at finding explosives.....especially in Los Angeles. "Security screeners missed 75% of fake bombs and explosives that passed through the airport during undercover terrorism drills," says the LAT citing a classified memo first reported by USA Today.

This article won't be there long, Time changes this frequently, but it's comforting to note that TSA's uselessness is being noticed.

Not that anything will be done about it, once a bureaucracy is established, the only thing that can get rid of it is the collapse of the entire society, but at least people are noticing.

October 19, 2007 1:09 PM
i don't want to ride on planes full of people with guns. sorry, but that's not the right idea. everybody should carry baseballs-- got the idea from al franken. or maybe ninja throwing stars, i think that's a great idea. bullets weill pierce the hull, decompression and then bam! straight down 30,000 feet. but yea, you'll foil the terrorist plot, boy howdy!
January 1, 2008 8:08 PM
This concern has been voiced before. says:


One objection that Senate offices may throw at you is this supposed idea that a bullet hole in an airplane's hull can cause catastrophic depressurization or cause the ship to crash. First, one should note that such an argument against pilots carrying guns would also apply to Federal Air Marshals. But the fact is, pre-fragmented ammo can minimize the supposed risks of a bullet puncturing a plane's hull.

Having said that, writer David Kopel (along with author and pilot, Captain David Petteys) notes that the risks related to the hull being punctured are greatly exaggerated. In a recent National Review Online article dated September 16, they state, "There is only one known instance in which a bullet hole in an aircraft frame yanked objects across the plane, expanded, and sucked a person out into the sky. That was the James Bond movie Goldfinger. The movie was not intended to teach real-life lessons about physics." (Go to to read the entire article.)

The article, by the way, is called "Making the Air Safe for Terror - Turning airplanes into safe zones for hijackers."

As the "gun free" Virginia Tech campus was a safe zone for a killer, an airplane full of unarmed passenger is a safe zone for an armed terrorist. The question is, if there's a terrorist on your plane, are you safer with armed passengers on board with you?

Terrorists can strike anywhere at any time, and there are so many illegal workers with no papers at all working at airports every day that nobody even writes about it. Government has shown over and over that it can't protect mere citizens like you and me, the only way we'll find protection is to protect ourselves.
January 2, 2008 12:10 AM
This idea is good in theory. Put it in play with a bunch of folks with a sin nature and the outcome will be.......entertaining. Any way to make gun purchase checks/concealed weapon permits more sensitive to mentally ill people or high risk people? Or hard to counterfeit? Maybe a concealed weapon permit with a bar-code data base and counterfeiters go to jail for a million years? Two months of open debate would come up with some good ideas...... or sink the idea.
January 2, 2008 4:58 PM
Only one point I disagree with in your article - you said the bureaucrats wouldn't like it because "it wouldn't create jobs." Quite the opposite. Spending government money on a 'job' is a drain on the economy - the money used to pay for that job came from legitimate market actions, harvested through taxes. Whereareas, the citizen-militia would being paying money to real business men for weapons, ammo, and training.

It wouldn't fatten the government, and create more government jobs - but it would be good for the economy.
February 2, 2008 7:44 PM
Reuters reports more TSA follies.

tells of a woman who had to borrow some pliers to remove her nipple ring in order to be able to board a flight. TSA says that women hare hiding explosives in "sensitive areas."
March 28, 2008 4:08 PM
Questions is - what lucky chap got to help her?
March 28, 2008 4:10 PM
i absolutely disagree with the idea of handing guns to many 'accidental' deaths have happened due to trigger happy cops, i cant imagine the blood shed that will begin if we start handing out weapons to an already paranoid American public...i agree with TSA's failures...and i think the only way to resolve this is have a larger technology investment for screening, thats that!
September 6, 2009 10:11 AM

There are 21 MILLION Veterans in the United States, I'm one of them. I have been writing letters to President Trump to create something similar to the LEOSA (Retired Officer Law Enforcement Safety Act) which allows former law enforcement to carry guns pretty much everywhere. Do the same for Vets and you'll have 21 millions already trained patriots out on the streets. Lets see how the bad guys take that :-)

October 28, 2018 11:00 AM
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