24 December 2015 07:24:10 IST

‘Full-body electronic scan for some passengers at US airports’

Third person in less than a month arrested for carrying a gun, says TSA

Some passengers at US airports might have to go through full-body electronic scan for security reasons, authorities have said, ending a policy that allows anyone to opt out of the advanced imaging screening, in wake of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and California.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) which secures American airports said necessary changes have been made in the protocol under which it would be mandatory for some passengers to go through full body scanner for security reasons.

“Generally, passengers undergoing screening will have the option to decline AIT (Advanced Imaging Technologies) screening in favour of a pat-down. Some passengers will still be required to undergo AIT screening as warranted by security considerations in order to safeguard transportation security,” TSA said in a series of tweets yesterday.

Security screening at US airports and public transportation systems have been tightened as a precautionary measure in view of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. US officials, however, have said there is no credible and specific terrorist threat this holiday season.

TSA said a third person in less than a month has been arrested at Newark Liberty International Airport after officers detected a gun in the traveller’s carry-on bag.

TSA officers detected a .45 caliber handgun in a man’s carry-on bag on December 21 as he was passing through one of the airport checkpoints. It was the third gun that TSA officers have stopped at a Newark checkpoint within a 17-day period.

A loaded .25 caliber gun was caught by TSA officers on December 5 and a loaded .38 caliber gun was caught on December 19. And a day earlier, TSA officers detected a handgun in the carrying bag of a passenger at the Norfolk International Airport checkpoint.

It marked the 16th gun that TSA officers have detected at Norfolk so far this calendar year, more than double the number that was caught at the checkpoint last year.

TSA screens approximately two million passengers and their luggage every day for prohibited items, including weapons and explosives. For this, TSA uses imaging technology to safely screen passengers for any items which may be concealed under clothing, while X-ray units screen all carry-on baggage.

Last year, TSA detected approximately 2,212 firearms at airport checkpoints, averaging six firearms per day. More than 900 improvised explosive device drills are conducted every day at airport checkpoints.