Diary

A really bad idea from Obama: no more armed pilots on airliners

Cross-posted from The Purple Center.

I really can’t believe this story. It’s such a stupid move. From The Washington Times:

After the September 11 attacks, commercial airline pilots were allowed to carry guns if they completed a federal-safety program. No longer would unarmed pilots be defenseless as remorseless hijackers seized control of aircraft and rammed them into buildings.

Now President Obama is quietly ending the federal firearms program, risking public safety on airlines in the name of an anti-gun ideology.

(snip)

The 12,000 Federal Flight Deck Officers, the pilots who have been approved to carry guns, are reported to have the best behavior of any federal law enforcement agency. There are no cases where any of them has improperly brandished or used a gun.

(snip)

Since Mr. Obama’s election, pilots have told us that the approval process for letting pilots carry guns on planes slowed significantly. Last week the problem went from bad to worse. Federal Flight Deck Officers…indicate that the approval process has stalled out.

Pilots cannot openly speak about the changing policies for fear of retaliation from the Transportation Security Administration. Pilots who act in any way that causes a “loss of confidence” in the armed pilot program risk criminal prosecution as well as their removal from the program. Despite these threats, pilots in the Federal Flight Deck Officers program have raised real concerns in multiple interviews.

Arming pilots after Sept. 11 was nothing new. Until the early 1960s, American commercial passenger pilots on any flight carrying U.S. mail were required to carry handguns. Indeed, U.S. pilots were still allowed to carry guns until as recently as 1987. There are no records that any of these pilots (either military or commercial) ever causing any significant problems.

Screening of airplane passengers is hardly perfect. While armed marshals are helpful, the program covers less than 3 percent of the flights out of Washington D.C.’s three airports and even fewer across the country…

I don’t know about you, but I feel a lot safer about flying knowing that guys like Sully Sullenberger up front in the cockpit are packing heat so they can never again be overwhelmed by a couple of terrorists with knives.

I hope this turns out to be the foolish work of some excessively anti-gun new political appointee at the Department of Homeland Security that will be overturned quickly by the White House.

What do you think about this? Post a comment.

Cross-posted from The Purple Center — visit me there.