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Keep up the Pressure on Senate to Pass Armed Pilots Legislation

Friday, July 19, 2002

The U.S. Senate has still not taken action on S. 2554, which seeks to establish a program to train and equip all commercial airline pilots who wish to be prepared to use firearms as a last resort to defend the cockpits of commercial aircraft from hijackers. Similar legislation passed out of the House of Representatives last week on an exceptionally strong bipartisan vote of 310 - 113. And while pilots, flight attendants, and the general public overwhelmingly support the idea of arming pilots as one of the safeguards against a repeat of the terrorist hijackings of September 11, there are no guarantees the Senate will even be allowed to consider this proposal.

The bill is currently languishing in the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, where the Committee Chair, Senator Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.), opposes the legislation. Thus far, he has refused to even schedule a hearing, and has simply used his position on the committee to impose his will on the entire Senate, as well as the general public. But support for this bill in the Senate is growing, and there are now 16 co-sponsors—including the normally anti-gun Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).

Quick action in the Senate on S. 2554 is critical, so now is the time to contact your U.S. Senators and urge them to support this legislation. Please contact your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to cosponsor S. 2554, work to ensure the bill is brought up for consideration, or support its being offered as an amendment to other legislation being considered on the Senate floor. Those on the Internet can find additional contact information by using our "Write Your Representatives" tool.

Also encouraging to those millions of Americans who support arming pilots against terrorist hijackers is the recent announcement that John Magaw, the Undersecretary of Transportation for Security, has resigned. Magaw, who served as head of the BATF under the Clinton-Gore Administration, was in charge of the Transportation Security Administration, and was considered by many to be one of the roadblocks to implementing a program that would allow the arming of properly trained airline pilots. It has been reported that Magaw’s resignation was not of his choosing.

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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.