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Tracy W. Price

Tuesday, April 1st, 2003

Captain Tracy W. Price of the Airline Pilots Security Alliance (APSA) has earned the CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month for April.
 In nominating Price for the honor, CCRKBA Communications Director Dave Workman pointed out that under his leadership, APSA was instrumental in passing the legislation that mandated an armed airline pilot program. Now Price is laying into Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials for dragging their feet in implementation of the program.
 In late February, TSA officials said pilots who participated in the program will only be allowed ready access to their guns when they are inside the cockpit with the door locked.  “The jurisdiction of use of the weapon is in the cockpit and the cockpit only,” stated TSA spokeswoman Heather Rosenker. “The weapon needs to be re-secured in the locked box if the cockpit door opens.”
 Capt. Price, himself a commercial passenger airline pilot and one of the founding pilots of APSA, was livid upon learning that TSA had disclosed this vulnerability, reported the Cybercast News Service.
 “The TSA is advertising that to would-be terrorists and telling them and pointing out to them that the best opportunity that they will have to take over the cockpit is just then, when the cockpit door is open because they know that the weapon will not be accessible to the pilot,” Price said.
 The disclosure caused Price to “seriously question the TSA’s motives” for allowing the information to be made public.
 “Are they truly concerned about airline security, or are they concerned about building their own empire?” he asked. “If they had a serious concern with airline security, they would have never let that information out like they did. We’re shocked beyond belief.”
 Price thinks that anti-gun personnel in TSA may hope to derail the program. He believes the training and evaluation requirements proposed by TSA are designed to accomplish a goal other than arming the largest number of pilots possible in order to deter a repeat of the 9/11 terrorist hijackings.
 “There are a lot of things in this plan that they propose that point towards trying to minimize the number of volunteers and limit the size of the program instead of welcoming us and thanking us for coming forward and volunteering to do this,” he said.
 As an example, Price noted the mandatory psychological examination by a TSA psychologist, which he said is designed to intimidate would-be armed pilots.
 “They’ve said they are going to screen for things like the willingness to take into account the safety and security of passengers and crew,” Price noted.  “That isn’t something we ‘take into account.’ That’s the thing that’s at the front of our minds and better be at the front of our minds every second that we’re at work and in command of an airplane.” 
 Price said he thinks the requirements proposed by TSA for pilots who want to arm themselves in the cockpit against possible terrorist attacks amount to “a laundry list of what the anti-gun crowd would require of every citizen who is given a concealed carry permit.”
 Another TSA proposal would require that, unless the pilot is behind the locked cockpit door, the gun would have to be holstered, locked inside a hard-sided gun case and stored inside “a bag that is nondescript.”
 That, said Price, “just makes us a huge target. It just paints a bulls-eye on every pilot, whether he happens to be an armed pilot or not.
 “Now, all of a sudden, my pilot’s uniform gives the criminal element – that may be in the employee parking lot at three in the morning when I show up for work – some idea that I may be carrying a very high-value weapon, and they know that that weapon is unavailable to me to use in self-defense.”
 Price served as chairman of APSA, a grass-roots organization formed in the wake of the terrorist attacks, from February 2002 to February of this year.
 He remains on the APSA Board of Directors and serves as the vice president of Government Affairs.
 Price has been an airline pilot for the past 16 years and a captain for a major U.S. carrier for the past 10 years.
 He has over 26 years of flying experience in many aircraft types ranging from small, general aviation airplanes and helicopters to large jet airliners. 
 He lives in Northern Virginia, has been married to Laurie Price for 19 years and has two sons.