Editorial: Feds too involved in airport security

The recent enhancements in airport security merit praise. Steps toward a more secure air-travel system were necessary after the events on Sept. 11; however, things are going too far with the new aviation security bill passed this week. The inclusion of the National Guard and paying current, private security employees should have been the answer to this problem, replacing security officers with federal employees.

The new aviation security bill calls for the replacement of private-company employees with federal employees at the passenger and baggage screening operations in all U.S. airports within a year. This will not only put strain and possibly ruin those private companies that supplied airports with security officers, but it will make the hiring and firing process of security personnel more difficult.

The security bill possibly will grant issuance of firearms to pilots.

Pilots with guns will not stop some religious zealot or madman from charging into the cockpit. It will, however, widen the possibility of a weapon being fired amidst delicate equipment and innocent people.

Alternatives such as stun guns coupled with air marshals onboard keep the peace and secure the plane better.The cost added to plane tickets as well as the added delay will not help the already suffering airline industry. Instead of hiring and training federal employees to be baggage-checking personnel, private companies should increase the pay of their current employees and give them improved security training.

Armed pilots and federal luggage screening personnel in the bill should be replaced with National Guard soldiers in airports and better-paid private security employees.

Increasing security is for protecting and attracting travelers to air travel, not dissuade them with added cost and frustration.