People who fly a lot will invariably have a bad experience at the airport, sooner or later. Delays, cancellations, huge lines, and overbooked flights can wear on people, and sometimes individuals take their frustrations out on an airline employee. And, once in a while, the person goes too far and crosses the line into assaulting that employee.
In no airport in America is assaulting an airline employee legal under state law. The laws against simple assault — that is, unwanted physical contact, often without injury — apply just as much at the terminal gate as they do at your local bar or walking down the street. But, as with seemingly every bad thing that happens, someone wants to make a federal case out of it. Literally.
Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced an amendment to a bill before the Senate to make the simple assault of an airline employee punishable up to ten years in federal prison. This is a problem for a bunch of reasons, but here are two that stick out.