CCRKBA CALLS FOR INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION OF IN-FLIGHT GUN MISHAP TO PREVENT COVER-UP

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

BELLEVUE, WA – The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms today is calling for an independent investigation of an in-flight discharge of a pistol carried by an armed U.S. Airways pilot to prevent any whitewashing, cover-up or scapegoating in the incident.

CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb said the incident is alarming because of allegations that the pilot may have been following strict Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rules when the mishap occurred. Those rules came under fire today from the Airline Pilots Security Alliance (APSA), which represents thousands of commercial airline pilots.

“We have a keen interest in this case because we were first to demand that airline pilots be allowed to carry sidearms in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack,” Gottlieb stated. “We called for that measure just hours after four terrorist-commandeered jets hurtled out of the sky, killing thousands of Americans in New York, Washington, DC and a Pennsylvania field on that horrible day in 2001, and that must never happen again.

“But from the outset,” he continued, “TSA officials resisted the Federal Flight Deck Officers (FFDO) program, with bureaucratic red tape and requirements that defy logic in terms of recruiting as many pilots as possible. Rules and red tape actually discouraged would-be volunteers. Professional pilots who are trusted to safely fly millions of passengers across our skies should be just as trustworthy to defend their aircraft from takeover. This incident could be used to erode public support for the FFDO program, which would be insane. There may or may not be an armed Federal Air Marshal aboard an airplane, but you are guaranteed there is a pilot on board.

“Today, we are calling for an independent investigation of this incident, to be conducted by a panel of civilian firearms instructors and gun safety experts,” Gottlieb stated. “This will eliminate any possibility or future assertion that the TSA whitewashed this incident and used the pilot as a scapegoat to preserve unsafe regulations.

“Conversely,” he added, “such an investigation by non-government experts who are also not connected to APSA or the airlines could determine, without bias and free from any influence or coercion, whether the pilot was handling his firearm safely, or in an unsafe manner. We want the truth, and unlike they say in the movies, we believe the American public can handle the truth.”