Tell the Senate: “Let’s Finish the Job on Arming Pilots”

Saturday, September 4th, 2004

In the 107th session of Congress, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms supported a bill signed into law by President George W. Bush that allowed airline pilots to carry firearms on passenger aircraft.

The bill passed with broad bipartisan support and granted commercial passenger pilots the ability to more effectively defend their cockpits and control their aircrafts in case of a terrorist attack.

Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning has introduced a bill that would allow cargo pilots to defend themselves and their aircraft with the same vigilance that the government affords pilots of passenger aircraft. S. 516: The Arming Cargo Pilots Against Terrorism Act would make an additional 12,000 cargo pilots eligible to defend the cockpit and protect Americans from another air-to-land airplane attack.

Why arm cargo pilots?

The fact of the matter is that cargo planes carry just as much fuel as commercial airliners–the 747 Freighter aircraft is the largest commercial airplane in use–making cargo aircraft just as dangerous as passenger aircraft in the event of a terrorist hijacking. Cargo planes themselves, and the individuals they transport, are not subject to current screening standards applied to passenger aircraft.

Also, Air Marshals are not present on cargo flights and the same hijack-risk-level exists whether we’re talking about passenger aircrafts or cargo aircrafts.

Under S. 516, cargo pilots would be made eligible to carry their licensed firearm only after undergoing and passing appropriate background checks, screening processes, and firearm training: the same standard the law applies toward pilots of passenger aircraft.

The government was acting responsibly when it allowed passenger aircraft pilots to carry firearms as part of our ongoing effort to prevent another tragedy like September 11th. Write your two Senators and urge them to support and vote in favor of S. 516: The Arming Cargo Pilots Against Terrorism Act: a bill that would protect Americans–in the air and on the ground–from terrorist acts involving all types of commercial aircraft.