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Bush rethinks opposition to armed pilots

bigr

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Tuesday, July 23, 2002

White House Rethinks Opposition to Armed Pilots

The Bush administration is reconsidering its opposition to letting airline pilots carry guns, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta told the House Transportation aviation subcommittee today.

Afterward, spokesman Chet Lunner said Mineta was not responding to congressional pressure to arm pilots, but simply asking the new head of the Transportation Security Administration, retired Coast Guard Adm. James Loy, to review an old policy.

"The secretary expects Admiral Loy, with a new set of eyes, to take a look at everything we're doing," Lunner said.

The Associated Press reported: "Loy's predecessor, John Magaw, announced in May that he would not arm pilots, though he continued to study whether to allow flight crews to carry stun guns. Mineta said Loy will look into arming pilots with guns or non-lethal weapons."

Pilots unions, supported by gun rights groups, want Congress to overrule the TSA. The House earlier this month voted 310-113 to let commercial pilots carry guns.

"We're very happy to hear that Secretary Mineta and Admiral Loy will be taking a fresh view with an open mind on this subject," said John Mazor, a spokesman for Air Line Pilots Association.

A Senate sponsor of legislation to let pilots be armed, Montana Republican Conrad Burns, also praised the announcement.

"Right now, the only armed pilots in America are flying F-16s," Burns said. "Secretary Mineta's comments signal his agency's recognition that American missiles shooting down American planes cannot be our government's answer to hijackings."
 

doclarse

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I for one think arming pilots is a good idea. They shouldn't be running around the cabin shooting people, but it's a good deterant to know the pilots might be packing heat. But then again, maybe I just want to carry a gun when I make it to the flight deck...:D
 

atpcliff

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Hi!

No one in the media is talking about this:

Pilots used to carry guns in the cockpit, and were allowed to do so by the FAA until they changed their regulations (around 1980???).

As far as I know, not a single person was killed or injured, and no shots were fired. The pilots carried loaded guns on their person in the aircraft and all through the airports.

Cliff
GRB
 

rumpletumbler

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How about a M-61A1 Gatling gun rolled into the door and mounted in front of the cockpit before push back? Of course there might be pressurization problems but there is already provision for that right? This would be great for those who might carry a firearm but really not know how to use it. Lots of rounds etc. If you will notice on all these cop shows that now monopolize the television the policeman generally squeals like a pig when someone pulls a gun and looks at the ground etc. only not getting shot out of pure luck. Then when they get their composure they draw their weapon. This is somewhat scary in the sense that they are supposed to be prepared to be in a combat situation. I guess you could argue that an ex-military pilot might respond differently but while I'm in favor of carrying guns I'm also in favor of a LOT of training to go with them.

RT
 

Hubie

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atpcliff said:
Hi!

No one in the media is talking about this:

Pilots used to carry guns in the cockpit, and were allowed to do so by the FAA until they changed their regulations (around 1980???).

As far as I know, not a single person was killed or injured, and no shots were fired. The pilots carried loaded guns on their person in the aircraft and all through the airports.

Cliff
GRB


You are right.

Also there was a good article in one of the flying rags about that UAL DC-6 7 or 8 (I forget which) skipper who popped that teen who hijacked his plane out of Chicago back in the 60’s or 70’s.

The whole article was about how the skipper dealt with the emotional trauma of killing someone who was just still a kid.

The media is just a bunch of liberals who have their own agenda and want to see the guns taken away from law abiding citizens and part of that involves the refusal to admit that a gun has a purpose in non LEO, civilian hands and that purpose is self defense.

Just look at their obvious refusal to air any news story where Joe average uses a gun to defend his home or to stop a mad man from taking an innocent life, but these same idiots will run like heck to the scene of a school shooting and fill the airways with unsubstantiated crap which usually has to be corrected later as the facts come out.

I don’t know how many times I’ve watched CNN rush a story about a shooting, saying the gunman is a deranged white supremacy nazi who just hosed down a bus load of nuns with an A-10 he bought using the gun show loop hole, only to have it turn out to be a dug deal gone bad and some dopers exchanged rounds on a street corner in he lower Bronx and the only casualties were each other.

There all a bunch of jerks.
 

be36driver

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changed my mind

I used to think pilots carying was a great idea and allthough 99 percent of pilots would handle it well I have talked to a few who scare me. One said he would use a gun to subdue a drunk in first class and others sound straight out of the old west. I have had guns since I was 10 years old and am by no way a liberal but i'm thinkin a lot about this one. Personnally I would rather have that 300 pound guy standing next to the stage at the local strip club he's a deterant. He can stand out side my cockpit door and i'll worry about flying.
 

AWACoff

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The pilots that used to be armed with handguns "back in the day" were armed for entirely different reasons than what we are looking at today. They were armed to protect US Mail. Obviously the mail isn't as important anymore or Muslim Extremists are not trying to steal our mail... You think they might just be trying to kill us?! There are going to be "cowboys" in any situation. We can eliminate the "cowboy" threat by having very defined, narrow parameters about when a use of lethal force is allowed. I am POSITIVE subdueing a drunk in 1st class with a gun is not going to be allowed per our manuals. Thanks for the laugh.:rolleyes:
 

Acestick

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I say arm 'em...

And after some asshole gets his head blown off on a flight, there will be a lot less people thinking about rushing the cockpit door!!!
 

nosewheel

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Arm Em ???

First I think all Heavy's should have three man crews with Proffesional Flight Engineers. If you arm the Pilots they would probably shoot each other. Best to arm the FE and he can get the Bad guy at the door or either Pilot if he's really screwing up or is simply an A-Hole. Do ya know the difference between a Flight Engineer and a Stage Coach driver ?
 

pipers

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Has anyone seriously considered what would happen if a hijacker was able to get hold of the gun from two whimpy pilots?? Sure, it might be a messy fight getting the gun, but if they were able to succeed, they would have their weapon of control compliments of the FAA. There are a large number of police officers killed by their own weapons (and they aren't trying to fly a plane wearing a seatbelt). I believe that secure cockpit doors and unusual attitudes are the best deterrants. Just my $0.02...............
 

jackofdiamonds

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bullets

hey piper, if someone gets into the flightdeck of a 121 airliner I dont think you should be concerned about the 10 9mm rounds he has but the guided missle he now commands. If there are confirmed FAM's on board every flight then I have no problem with them handling any situation (which they are very well equipped to do)but that will never be the case. Think how many jets take off each day just on the eastcoast!!!!!!
 

kilomike

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FINALLY!!

This liberal who FAVORS arming the pilots is glad that finally our weakling president has the guts to at least think about having that crucial last line of defense.....
 

nosewheel

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DON"T SHOOT!!!!

I was just jokeing (a little) about the FE haveing the gun BUT for those of us who have flown 121 how many times has a flight attendant walked through the door and None of us heard her/him come into the cockpit. I do realise that now the door is locked at all times and we would have more warning of one wanting to enter the cockpit . I do however know from experience that the two guys sitting up front with there seat belts and SHOULDER HARNESS on are very limited to movement such as being able to turn in there seat and fight off an intruder then fire a weapon into the unwanted guest. I do understand though that just knowing that the crew may be ARMED may just be a deterrant so, with that said, the flight engineers seat on most three man aircraft turn towards the door so Give the gun to the FE. HA HA. (I know they turn towards the door cause thats one of the prefered sleeping positions.
 

enigma

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pipers said:
Has anyone seriously considered what would happen if a hijacker was able to get hold of the gun from two whimpy pilots?? Sure, it might be a messy fight getting the gun, but if they were able to succeed, they would have their weapon of control compliments of the FAA. There are a large number of police officers killed by their own weapons (and they aren't trying to fly a plane wearing a seatbelt). I believe that secure cockpit doors and unusual attitudes are the best deterrants. Just my $0.02...............

First, the situation that presents itself is this: suicidal hijackers attempt to take over an airliner for the specific purpose of turning said airliner into a guided missle. If they succeed, hundreds, if not thousands of innocent lives will be lost and millions more will be affected.

In order for the suicide hijackers to succeed, they must gain control of the control cabin. Which brings us to the obvious question, How can we prevent them from taking over the controls? First, we can attempt to keep suicidal hijackers off of the airplanes, but liberal political correctness doesn't allow us to deny boarding based upon any sort of racial/religous profile. So, we attempt to ensure that no weapons get on board. We train the FA's in self defense techniques, just in case a bad guy decides to try to take over the airplane. We send AirMarshalls on flights to deter takeover attempts, and to defend the aircraft if necessarry. We concoct elaborate procedures just to allow the pilots to take a whiz. We develop Fort Knox type cockpit doors to attempt to keep the bad guys out.
Finally, the President (and others in the proper chain of command) can order one of our own fighter aircraft to shoot down an airliner if it is apparent that said airliner is under control of suicidal terrorists.

Now to your points. First, the purpose for arming pilots is solely to defend the cockpit. The bad guys ability to take away the pilots gun depends upon having already defeated every defense up to that point. In other words, the worst possible outcome has already occured, and getting the pilots gun can't make it worse. On the other hand, if the bad guys defeat every defense and are now using a drink cart to batter down the cockpit door, the pilot can use his firearm to deny entrance into the cockpit and thereby thwart the terrorist. I prefer the later scenario.

Next, I agree, secure doors are paramount. If I could choose between a 100% guaranteed secure cockpit, and a gun; I'd choose the secure cockpit. But I see no reason to not have both secure doors and lethal force inside the cockpit.

Finally, unusual attitudes are a stupid plan unless you know that every last patriotic passenger and FA are dead. Because, while the unusual attitude may knock the bad guys around, it will also disrupt your first line of defense. You see, the FA,s and the pax are your first line of defense and you need to do everything possible to help them defeat the bad guys and defend the cockpit. Knocking them against the roof could/will disable them and allow the "sleeper" hijackers who have remained seated and belted in, a tremendous advantage in the ensuing hand to hand combat.
One more thing. A Colt1911 (or whatever you like) carried in a rear facing shoulder holster needn't even be drawn in order put a bullet into the doorway behind me. Captains carry under their right arm, and FO's carry under their left. Leave it cocked and locked and one only needs one hand to defend the cockpit. It's a beautiful thing.
regards
8N
 

wil

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If the 9-11 pilots had been armed and authorized to protect the cockpit at all costs the tragic events of that day would not have happened. The news media would have had a field day with white male pilots killing oppressed muslim "freedom fighters" seeking a "voice" but the innocents would still be here and the Trade Center would still be standing. Reread the first sentence again, there is no argument!!!
 

Phrogs4ever

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"If the 9-11 pilots had been armed and authorized to protect the cockpit at all costs the tragic events of that day would not have happened"

Wil, you bet there is still an argument. We don't know what would have happened on 9-11 if there were guns in the cockpit. Keep in mind, until after the events that day, the hijacking paradigm was to follow the hijackers instructions and land the plane somewhere and deal with their political demands while safe on deck. Even if the pilots were armed, I believe that is the scenario they envisioned getting played out. If they did have the presence of mind to cap the first guy through the door, what do they do when the next guy starts cutting passenger throats one at a time until you turn the plane over? Before 9-11, you would have turned the plane over. Now we know we have to sacrifice every life on that plane before we put it in the hands of terrorists and risk thousands of lives.

It's a grim reality, and I don't think anyone could have predicted what was going to happen that day. It's not as easy as saying "if only they had a gun." Personally, I think the X-factor are the passengers themselves. Passengers will always outnumber the terrorists, and if individuals (much like the ones who actually did this!) realize that no matter what happens next, some of us are going to die, but others will survive! Humans are basically selfish when it comes to giving up ones life; we only seem to be able to do it for those we are emotionally attached to and not for a plane full of strangers.

I wish there was any easy answer, but there isn't. I'm not so much concerned about 999 pilots being armed in the cockpit. It's the one bigoted pilot with a chip on shoulder who jumps the gun and uses poor judgement in a situation that doesn't require lethat force. That's when the media and lawyers have a field day, and point the finger at pilots and say "see, we gave you guns and see what happened? We knew you couldn't handle it!" The industry takes another blow, and the net result is we are one step behind where we started. Hopefully this never happens, time will tell.
 
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