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Arming Pilots: Keep Up The Pressure On Magaw & Mineta

Friday, May 31, 2002

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Undersecretary John Magaw and Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Norman Mineta need to continue to hear from the millions of Americans who support allowing properly trained commercial airline pilots and other flight deck crew to have access to firearms as a last line of defense against terrorist hijackers. Both Magaw and Mineta have stated their opposition to the idea of armed pilots, even though pilots and the general public overwhelmingly support it. Unfortunately, the major airlines are opposed to the concept, and have exerted enough pressure on the DOT to officially oppose arming pilots, despite the more than 5,000 favorable comments reportedly received by the FAA in evaluating the issue.

Contact Secretary Mineta and Undersecretary Magaw and remind them that, just as we trust pilots to be able to fly complicated aircraft, we can trust them to be able to use a firearm as a last line of defense against terrorist hijackers. Also remind them that poll after poll shows the general public also trusts airline pilots with firearms in the cockpit. You can contact both the DOT and TSA using the same mailing address: 400 Seventh St., S.W., Washington, DC, 20590. E-mail can be sent to the DOT at [email protected], and to the TSA at [email protected].

In addition, there are two bills in Congress that would provide for the arming of properly trained flight deck crew. H.R. 4635—introduced by U.S. Representatives John Mica (R-Fla.) and Don Young (R-Alas.)—has 31 co-sponsors, and is gaining support. S. 2554—introduced by U.S. Senator Bob Smith (R-N.H.)—has five co-sponsors. The Senate bill would also provide self defense training for flight attendants. Please contact your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121 and your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121, and urge them to co-sponsor these bills. Those on the Internet can find additional contact information by using our "Write Your Reps" tool.

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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.