VIOLENCE POLICY CENTER’S OPPOSITION TO ARMED PILOTS RIPPED BY GUN RIGHTS LEADERS

Friday, July 12th, 2002

BELLEVUE, WA – Once again, the Violence Policy Center (VPC) has revealed it is far more interested in creating unarmed victims than preventing deadly crimes, whether they are street-level robberies and rapes, or mass homicides in commercial aircraft and skyscrapers.

That’s the analysis from two of the nation’s top gun rights leaders, responding to a VPC statement in opposition to the Arming Pilots Against Terrorism Act now before Congress. HR 4635 passed the House of Representatives July 10 by a huge margin, 310-113, and will now go to the Senate for consideration.

Public opinion polls overwhelmingly support armed pilots, yet the VPC adamantly remains “in strong opposition to guns of any kind in the cockpits of our nation’s passenger planes.”

“That’s hardly a stretch,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF). “After all, the VPC is against guns of any kind, anywhere, especially in the hands of people who might use them to defend themselves, whether it’s against drug-crazed criminals or just plain crazy terrorists.”

Railing against armed pilots, the VPC contended there is a “simple danger of loaded handguns at 30,000 feet.”

“What simple danger are they talking about?” asked Dave Workman, senior editor for SAF publications, and himself a certified firearms instructor and gun expert. “Is that the danger a loaded gun, in the hands of a trained pilot, would pose to some terrorist trying to take over his cockpit? That’s a danger I’d certainly be willing to risk, and so would every other airline passenger who wants to land at an airport, rather than the side of a skyscraper.”

Carrying its bogus safety concerns to yet another low on the intelligence scale, the VPC lamented, “Experience also teaches that when police fire their weapons, they sometimes make grave mistakes in deciding when deadly force is justified.”

“This is a preposterous comparison,” Gottlieb observed. “There is no mistaking the identity of a terrorist demanding to take control of an airliner. That’s a face-to-face confrontation, with no mystery about who the bad guy is.”

Yet another VPC contention was that, “One errant bullet could damage key flight controls, kill or injure a fellow pilot or other flight crew member, or potentially pierce the hull of a jetliner.” Workman recently researched this subject, and he called the VPC argument “nonsense,” while suggesting that the VPC had “not done its homework.”

“Commercial airplanes have dual control systems,” Workman said, “so there is always a backup. A bullet fired through the skin of an airplane at 30,000 feet would have very little effect, thanks to the plane’s pressure system. Of course, wounding or killing a passenger or member of the flight crew would be unfortunate, but balance that against the lives of everyone else on board, and those on the ground – and the standing order now for military pilots to shoot down hijacked airliners if necessary – and there is no serious debate.”

Workman concluded, “The VPC’s opposition isn’t about airline security or passenger safety, and they know it. This is really about the VPC’s hysterical paranoia over guns. Rather than face the possibility of one dead terrorist at the hands of an armed civilian pilot, VPC would accept the likelihood for hundreds of dead passengers and perhaps thousands of dead citizens on the ground. I think the VPC will soon learn that the American public is fed up with that kind of moral bankruptcy.”