Federal Air Marshals Have More Than 200 Gun “Mishaps”

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 8 months ago


When a passenger found a federal air marshal’s loaded service weapon in the bathroom during a trans-Atlantic flight last year, the blunder became headline news. It sparked public outrage, prompted an investigation and led to calls for reform.

But the misplaced gun debacle was hardly an isolated incident, according to documents recently obtained by CNN.

The Transportation Security Administration’s Office of Inspection has documented more than 200 cases of air marshals allegedly misusing firearms or misbehaving with guns between roughly 2005 and 2017, according to records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The cases ranged from seemingly mundane issues, such as improper storage of weapons, to situations in which air marshals allegedly jeopardized public safety.

In 19 of the cases, air marshals allegedly fired their weapons accidentally. For example, the documents state that in 2017 an agent based in Charlotte, North Carolina, “unintentionally discharged a personally owned firearm resulting in a gunshot wound to his right foot.”

A 2013 case described an air marshal mistakenly firing his weapon inside a hotel room and damaging a television in an adjoining room.

More than 70 of the incidents relate to lost, misplaced or stolen weapons. At least three of those cases involved air marshals forgetting their firearms in airplane bathrooms. Two others involved weapons misplaced in airports.

On one occasion, an air marshal allegedly left his gun inside a Bed Bath & Beyond store in Totowa, New Jersey. In another, an investigation was launched after police found a “range bag” containing a gun box and ammunition in a school park.

At least 13 of the cases involved alcohol, including a 2012 case in which an armed air marshal allegedly flew on a plane while drunk and another in 2014 in which an agent was accused of being intoxicated during a firearms training session.

The TSA touts federal air marshals as elite officers who receive extensive firearms training that surpasses the standards within many other law enforcement agencies. In a statement to CNN, Thomas Kelly, a spokesman for the air marshals, said the cases involved less than 1% of its workforce.

“All reports of misconduct are taken seriously and fully investigated. When those investigations validate any misconduct, TSA takes swift disciplinary actions,” said Kelly, who added, “we are proud of the highly skilled and trained Federal Air Marshals (FAMs) who keep our skies safe every day.”

Gosh.  I hate it when that happens to me.  I remember the last time I got drunk, left my gun in the bathroom, had to find it, went to my hotel room and shot at a TV only to kill someone in the adjoining room.  It sucked.

Fortunately, all of these “mishaps” occurred with highly trained super Ninja warriors who can handle any weapon and disappear in an instant and reappear elsewhere, and vanish like a ghost.

Just think what could have happened if these “mishaps” had occurred with untrained, unlicensed, un-badged peasants like you and me?

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  1. On November 20, 2018 at 5:24 pm, Andy said:

    Shortly after 9/11 the Federal Air Marshal program was beefed up. The initial respondents to the call were highly trained and motivated former military and law enforcement personnel. Within a very short time the Bush administration wanted more Air Marshals and opened up the previously strict recruitment criteria to almost anyone who had been in the federal government. The quality of applicants started a downward trend.
    Fast forward to recent years. A priority for TSA screeners to be trained as Air Marshals is now in effect.
    From the initial very highly motivated and trained patriots who answered the call to today’s TSA moronic screeners. No wonder we have problems!

  2. On November 20, 2018 at 10:40 pm, Fred said:

    Did they all go home safe? Whew! Thats’s all that matters.

  3. On November 21, 2018 at 7:47 am, Matt said:

    Let’s see, twelve years times 365 days a year times at least a thousand flights a day equals 4,383,000 events, not counting training. 200 events, heck let’s say 300 events, divided by that comes out to a 0.0068 percent chance of a mishap per event. I’m really thinking that’s not any worse than any other armed organization. Judging by what I see at the local ranges we aren’t any better.

    All of the FAMs I’ve dealt with have been very competent and professional. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. If there is a serious problem on an aircraft, believe me, you’ll want them there.


  4. On November 21, 2018 at 3:33 pm, Donk said:

    @Matt. You know, I was going to let this one go but…. “Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. If there is a serious problem on an aircraft, believe me, you’ll want them there.” Horses**t, ‘splain to me why we need armed Federal Air Marshalls on commercial airplanes? Because some double digit IQ dude (hey, DDIQD, new acronym for a Fed *** agency terrorist dupe) put firecrackers in his shoe or underwear? Because some ayrabs hijacked planes with box cutters? You seem to like statistics, why not put the Air Marshall in the baggage compartment looking for lithium ion batteries and Coleman camping gas canisters if you want to statistically improve the chance for survival for the average commercial airline passenger? Or, much, much better yet, have him trained as a pilot or mechanic as errors from these two groups amount for the OVERWHELMING majority of aviation incidents, fixed wing and rotary, regardless of whether someone is injured or not. Sabotage, terrorism or other pre or in-flight malfeasance since the ’70s in relation to human death toll – is statistically.non existent – period. Armed Federal Air Marshalls on commercial (oh, they are not required for private aviation?) is simply and exclusively security kabuki theater and conditioning the masses (and LEO fellatio afficiandos) to accept that they are sheep and they need a shepherd to keep them safe. B*******t, as the Captain says, “…duty based on the idea that man is made in God’s image. It is His expectation that we do the utmost to preserve and defend ourselves when in danger, for it is He who is sovereign and who gives life, and He doesn’t expect us to be dismissive or cavalier about its loss. Finally, self-defense may actually result in one of the greatest examples of human love. Christ Himself said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:14).

    So, @Matt, why the F**k are you visiting this blog? I smell the foul stench of a troll if not a Fed, certainly a Fed lover. “….May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

  5. On November 21, 2018 at 3:50 pm, Annoyed Max said:

    @Donk: a little nuanced perhaps :-) but, what ye said.

    Also – the biggest life-form-based killer of airline pax since 9/11 has been pilots. Should the air marshals maybe just sit in the cockpit and stop a pilot going crazy and taking everyone with them…?

  6. On November 22, 2018 at 9:10 am, DAN III said:


    Simple solution:

    Stop flying commercial.

    Otherwise, keep bending over.

  7. On November 22, 2018 at 1:56 pm, Matt said:


    1) There have been attempts to breech the cockpit since 9/11. Have you heard of them? No, and you won’t. Don’t like that – tough. It’s not my decision or your’s to make. Nice quote on how people should be responsible for defending themselves. I agree. But it’s not gonna happen as long as our, or virtually any, government exists. Don’t like it – tough.

    2) I’ll wait here while you go collect the statistics on any LARGE armed organization with a better safety record. While you looking for non-existent facts I’ll say this. Go to any police or governmental firing range and you’ll find holes in no-shoot areas. Go to a majority of police cleaning rooms and you’ll find holes in the walls. Go to absolutely any public ranges and you’ll find holes where they aren’t supposed to be. Guns fall out of holsters in Walmart stalls. They get left various and sundry places. People have negligent discharges. People negligently shoot themselves and others.

    People are fallible. They make mistakes. Deal with it. Still waiting on those statistics on your über safe organization.

    3) Don’t like pilots, mechanics, and the other hassles associated with commercial flying? Quit bitching, get a pilot’s license & an aircraft, and fly yourself. FWIW, when not working I don’t fly. And no, I’m not a FAM.

    4) Let’s talk about the Troll thing. You know nothing about me, my experience, or my beliefs. I simply assumed that those here likely have no personal experience with FAMs and might like to hear from one who does. Instead of trying to learn something or ask questions you start maligning someone who has a different opinion than you. That Modus Operandi for those on the left side of the aisle. Apparently dumbasses on right side do it as well.

    5) As far as why I’m here? None of your business. I’d explain but it’d be hard to come up with pictures for the more esoteric concepts. If the owner of the blog wishes me to not read his articles or comment, then all he must do is say so. If you don’t like it – sorry, deal with it.


  8. On November 22, 2018 at 8:09 pm, Herschel Smith said:


    USMC. Where no NDs are allowed, or you get to visit the “room of pain” if so. And that, only once. It cures that “all humans are fallible” thing immediately. It’s a lesson never forgotten.

    The end.

  9. On November 23, 2018 at 7:06 pm, Joe said:

    I train, I shoot weekly or more, I compete. I’m good, but not the best. But, if I have an opportunity to choose between depending on what I know I can do or depending on some stranger whose skills are a complete mystery to me, I’ll choose to depend on myself and the skills I know. I’ve been an LEO and find that cops are no better or worse than any other profession. But I like the theory that 90% of the work is done by 10% of the people. The other 90% range from very competent to not competent at all. I know exactly where I fall on that curve and it is way better than 50% so I’ll take care of myself when I have the choice, and no, I don’t fly any more.

  10. On November 23, 2018 at 9:48 pm, Donk said:

    OK. I thought I responded to Annoyed Max regarding nuance a day or two ago and perhaps the Captain moderated my comment or I just forgot to hit send. Regardless; because the main point of following these blogs is to; a) engage in freedom loving parlay or b) learn a thing or two about how to live free, c) to ascertain who is friend or a fed loving schill and d) because you posted a detailed response, you deserve an answer. However, you got caught up in what I deem to be your default position that AMs good, me; who never, ever, ever flies because of the kabuki security theater and that I loath same – you never responded to my main premise. An Orwellian Fed Gestapo posture does not legitimize AMs or any other .gov .local security repsonse. You imply hearsay special secret squirrel agnostic truth knowledge of AMs heroism in flight intercepting cockpit rushing, underwear tannerite bombers and other general chaos midflight. @Dan III agreed, stop flying commercial. I never, ever will again as I refuse to be subjugated to the TSA gestapo. And because I refuse to be a slave I travel by car to points north and east from where I live with travel durations 2, 3 and sometimes 4 times the equivalent flight time. So, tell me when will that not be a viable transport option w/o a high and holy AM sitting as my copilot? When will I have to contend with VIPER teams on the interstate highway because ‘murica and drug cartels or caravan terror or MS13 or gee, I have grass remnants on my car floormat or I have a couple thousand $$ that I always have in my pocket when I travel just – because.

    You go on and on about safety records wrt large police state orgs. I never mentioned anything about their safety record – Captain did – as I dont give a r**s a*s about it. The law of the land is the USC and ANY LEO outside the local county sheriff is unlawful – full stop. Your comment No. 1, and I quote; “It’s not my decision or your’s to make. Nice quote on how people should be responsible for defending themselves. I agree. But it’s not gonna happen as long as our, or virtually any, government exists. Don’t like it – tough.” See, thats the rub. In a Constitutional Republic IT IS EXACTLY our decision. Just because you have consigned yourself to the chains of tyranny does not mean I have to and, as you say, if you dont like it – tough. Yes, I am angry and have a keen temper that is flared chiefly by folks like you that accept the tyranny foisted on them as Mao would say “….from the barrel of a gun.” Here I go again (Captain, please dont moderate me as I am trying to make a point), I am angry and have a keen temper yet I am convicted of same and wrestle daily with it and pray every night for Jesus to assuage my anger. Why am I angry? What life do my adult children have before them? A life of, just suck up the tyranny, because, you know, thats just the way it is and “…its not your decision?” You know what, I am done. This is pointless, reading, much less commenting on these “liberty” blogs is a waste of time. All we do as a community is rail and moan and peck on keyboards about this and that and nothing ever changes. The maw of government tyranny grows wider and there are no more Patrick Henrys. Captain, you said yourself the South is lost. Sadly I have come to the same conclusion and it breaks my heart – truly. Thanks for putting up with my rants but I am out, done, finished. I am going to take care of my kids and my Mom.


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This article is filed under the category(s) Police and was published November 20th, 2018 by Herschel Smith.

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