View Full Version : Who should be armed? Critique requested.

09-18-2001, 08:28 AM
This is a serious proposal. Why do not cockpit personnel have personal sidearms?

I prefer that trained professionals whom I trust with my life anyway have the firearms rather than a federal civil servant who sought out a boring job because it may allow him the opportunity to shoot people.

09-18-2001, 10:22 AM
I think this will be proposed seriously. Any airline pilot has the self discipline and motor control necessary to operate a firearm safely. A lot of them have some training with them in the military anyway. But a 3-day training course could get just about all of them shooting well enough to engage targets at cockpit range. We already trust them with life and death decisions on a big scale, so I don't see why we would overlook two free air marshals on every flight.

Contrary to some beliefs, in-flight shootings are not as dangerous as some may fear. Even with regular ammunition, the plane won't instantly blow up or anything if a round goes through the fuselage. It will depressurize, but it's not explosive or anything. Also, people who don't shoot probably are unaware of the frangible rounds out there that don't penetrate building materials much. I think the first of these rounds, the Glaser Safety Slug (birdshot held together with epoxy) was designed for anti-hijacking applications I think.

An interesting change in the law will have to take place. The federal government will have to override state and local firearms laws. This is done for sworn federal officers, but pilots aren't sworn officers. I think only FBI agents even have a chance of carrying on a flight now, but there are some exceptions. (I do know local law enforcement agents who have managed to get through the red tape and carry, but it was getting harder before this incident.) But when the pilot lands, he will need to be able to pack his weapon around where he lands. This is basically impossible In New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, and of course Washington D.C. One of two things would have to happen. Congress could either mandate concealed carry for pilots or change the full faith and credit recognition for concealed weapons permits. Both pro-gun and anti-gun groups would have qualms about the first. The anti-gun groups would see it as a start to nationwide carry, which a lot of pro-gun folks want. Pro-gun folks would like part of it, but would fear the ability of the feds to override local gun rights. Congress could, I think, extend full recognition to concealed weapons permits from any state. Just like your driver's license works everywhere, your concealed weapons permit would be recognized nationwide. Pro-gun groups would love this one, but it wouldn't quite work. Most pilots live in places where concealed weapons permits are unavailable. No pilot living in Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Chicago could ever get a permit as things stand now. Plus, it would give those of us living in freer states more rights than locals. This is a bizarre situation. If I went to Denver or Los Angeles to visit my relatives, I would have more rights in their state than they do. (I would laugh at them for electing liberals, but the situation really wouldn't work well.)

There is a chance that Congress would take a step toward nationwide carry. I think they could make a law that would override local laws for those with a federal permit. I would want to see the permit relatively easy to get, i.e. would not require 2000 hours of training, cost $5000 per year, subject your home to search by the ATF, or whatever other provisions Sarah Brady would try to attach to it. This would allow citizens from states which either do not require permits (Vermont) or states that don't give them to many people (California) carry both in their home state as well as nationwide. (There is some reciprocity now, but it is spotty.)But I doubt this will happen. There will be enough difficulty allowing pilots to carry once they hit the ground in some of the jurisdictions.

One other factor is mindset. Mindset is critical in a gunfight, and some pilots don't have it.(A lot of cops don't either) Some wouldn't want a gun. They signed up to fly, not shoot. So it would not be a panacea. But to the extent we can get a pool of free air marshals, it would be a big deterrent, even if not every pilot took advantage of it.

09-18-2001, 05:14 PM
Something I don't fully understand: If pilots were to carry, why would the weapons have to be concealed?

09-18-2001, 05:49 PM
I think that's a very good idea. I also think a certain number of teachers in every highschool should go through rigorous training and be armed as well.

09-18-2001, 08:25 PM
You make a good point, one I thought of after I posted. First, there are places that prohibit concealed or unconcealed carry, so the legal problem would be the same. Concealment would be preferable for 2 reasons I can think of. One is minor-weapons retention. It is harder (and less tempting) to grab a concealed weapon. Second is the deterrent factor. If not all pilots chose to carry, you would not want observers to know which ones chose to carry and which ones didn't.

09-18-2001, 11:16 PM
I would prefer the guns to be in the possession of security personnel who have the will and training to use them when necessary. There are tactical advantages to having armed undercover agents in the cabin as opposed to the cockpit. However, if cockpit doors were redesigned to be more secure and to allow cockpit personnel to view the cabin (e.g., through a bullet-proof glass window) before opening the door, I would be less opposed to guns in the cockpit.

09-19-2001, 02:06 AM
Although your suggestion is a step in the right direction, I think this is the time to take a bold step forward and make every commercial plane a veritable fortress. Every single passenger must be carrying a gun!

Of course, to be able to get onboard in the first place, one would have to show some ID, but forget about waiting periods and such nonsense! Pick and roll!! The plane is leavin'.

To all the whiny pinko bleedin'heart liberals who will protest this saying that it will be too dangerous to have everybody and his mother packing or whatever, I will only repeat what the NRA chief has said, and I will say it only once : A GUN-CARRYING SOCIETY IS A ...CIVIL SOCIETY!

(You don't think they call it the Civil Aviation Authority for nothing, do you?)