TSA reaffirms decision on German firearm supplier

The Transportation Security Administration has reaffirmed its decision to have German firearms manufacturer Heckler & Koch supply as many as 9,600 .40-caliber handguns to U.S. commercial airline pilots who complete federal law enforcement training under the agency's guns-in-cockpits program.

A contract of three one-year options to supply H&K USP40 Compact Law Enforcement Model semiautomatic handguns was signed after the agency, under pressure from House Small Business Chairman Donald Manzullo, R-Ill., reevaluated all the bids it had received from firearms companies, especially those with manufacturing facilities in the United States. The maximum value of the contract is $3.3 million, H&K officials said Tuesday.

After a long, controversial search that upset many of the world's biggest gun manufacturers, TSA initially awarded the contract in July to H&K for its German-made firearms.

That prompted Manzullo, an outspoken advocate of "Buy American" laws to support U.S. manufacturing jobs, to argue that the agency arming U.S. airline pilots should have given preference to American-made weapons. Losing bidders included several American and foreign firms that supply handguns to U.S. military and police forces from U.S. factories.

Congressional and industry sources told CongressDaily this week a "mitigating" factor for Heckler & Koch was its timely announcement in August, during TSA's bid re-evaluation process, that it would build its first U.S. factory. The plant will be built on a 29-acre site in a Columbus, Ga., technology park.

Indeed, the company staged a groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 14 with Georgia GOP Gov. Sonny Perdue, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Reps. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., and Phil Gingrey, R-Ga.

The $25 million factory is expected to create some 200 jobs, boost area retail sales and generate more than $402,000 in annual property taxes, with job figures increasing as new contracts are awarded, company officials said.

Among its first products will be handguns for the TSA program, although the firearms delivered to pilots this year and much of next year will come from the main H&K plant in Germany.

The U.S. facility also will produce assault rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers and small arms for U.S. military and police forces.

"Establishing an American manufacturing base has been our number one priority," Heckler & Koch Vice President Peter Simon said in a statement. "Our Georgia factory represents Heckler & Koch's commitment to the U.S. military and law enforcement communities, to America's war on terrorism and to the creation of skilled manufacturing jobs for Americans."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.