A couple of days ago, I read of a new program to train pilots in the use of firearms. The program already has its first phase by enrolling a number of pilots ( I believe about 200) in a new course designed to teach the use of firearms and firearms safety. These pilots would be the first group and would be allowed to carry in the cockpit. Whether or not any MA training will be afforded is unclear. The program will expand exponentially (sp) for about two years with a projected goal of 20,000.
This comes as the result of an act by the House of Representatives; also unclear was the authority. To me this is a major success in getting something done which should have been enacted at the time of the US Patriot Act in October of 2001.
I have tried to search the gun advocate home pages without success, but have found the following article which reflects the frustration of pilots and right to bear arms advocates:
Pilots Outraged at DOT's Decision to Leave Pilots Defenseless
May 21, 2002
Earlier today, Undersecretary John Magaw of the TSA announced the decision to ignore the will of the Congress and the American People by refusing to allow airline pilots to carry firearms on the flight deck. This indefensible decision will mean that, until Congress is able to act, airline pilots will be easy pickings for teams of suicidal terrorists that would use airliners as guided bombs.
APSA Chairman Capt. Tracy W. Price said, "Airline pilots across this country are dumfounded. Al Queda is surely laughing at our lack of moral certainty and strength and terrorist organizations all over the world have been sent the clear message that it is still open season on airliners and large buildings. On one hand, the administration is telling us that more attacks are eminent, but on the other hand, they refuse to allow us to defend our passengers and crew against the promised attacks."
Price continued, "The administration caved to intense lobbying from the Air Transport Association (ATA). Airline managements are afraid of lost revenue if they acknowledge the truth: no public accommodation like airline travel can ever be completely secured. Also, for many years, airline managements have been on a campaign to minimize the authority and stature of pilots, preferring to place decision making power in the hands of employees that do not enjoy the same autonomy and authority that pilots do. Arming pilots is clearly counter to this long term goal and we are stunned that they are willing to compromise the safety of air travelers to further their interests in this power struggle they have initiated with their pilots. This decision is great news for the terrorists and the ATA"
"Thank God for the efforts of Congressmen Mica and Young as well as Senators Bob Smith, Burns, Murkowski and Zell Miller. The legislation they are committed to will mandate that volunteer airline pilots be screened, trained and armed with firearms and it will remove the veto power that existing law gives to the administration and airline managements. We will work with our friends in Congress to expedite this legislation and we pray that Congress is able to move faster than the terrorists."
Capt. Tracy W. Price - Chairman
Capt. Marc Feigenblatt - Vice Chairman
Home: (513) 232-8350
Cell: (513) 225-5996
Fax: (513) 232-8349 (must call first)
APSA Web Site: www.secure-skies.org
RELATED READING: Airplanes & Guns Archives
Does anyone have any further knowledge of this new program? How about JT?