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Bush Signs Homeland Security Bill — Includes Armed Pilots Program

Monday, December 2, 2002

On Monday, President Bush (R) signed into law the Homeland Security of Act of 2002, marking the most extensive federal re-organization since the creation of the Defense Department in 1947. Office of Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge was named the new secretary-designate of the new Department of Homeland Security. This historic event helped establish one of NRA’s top priorities for the year—as language that would allow qualified commercial pilots to have access to firearms as a last line of defense against terrorist hijackers was included. Under the new law, training is set to begin by the end of February 2003 through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The TSA will train pilots as "federal flight deck officers," which will include training equivalent to federal agents. The new law will also provide the approved pilots with the power to make arrests. Our thanks go out to all of our members who contacted their lawmakers and urged them to ensure the legislation that established the new Homeland Security Department included language that would establish an armed pilots program.

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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.