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Airline Pilots Petition President Bush

Friday, April 19, 2002

Last November 19, President George Bush signed into law the "Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001," which included language that would allow properly trained commercial pilots, co-pilots, and flight engineers to carry firearms aboard commercial airplanes. But thus far, there has been no implementation of a program to train and equip flight deck crew members who wish to be prepared to use firearms as a last resort to defend the cabins of commercial aircraft from hijackers. Because of this lack of action, several airline pilot organizations have sent a letter to President Bush, asking him to intercede to ensure the establishment of a program that will meet one of the intended goals of the "Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001"—a means to ensure that airline flight crews will be properly trained and equipped to act as an effective last line of defense against terrorists or other hijackers.

Along with the letter to President Bush, these organizations that represent the concerns of airline pilots are also looking for public support of their efforts. The letter to President Bush mentions that polls "indicate overwhelming support" from the general public for arming flight crew members, and an online petition has been set up at http://secure-skies.org for people to show this support.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.