Time Running Short to Contact FAA in Support of Armed Pilots

“Fight hijackers with fists and feet, but not firearms, FAA says”
— Cox News Service, January 19, 2002

The above headline ran last week after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced new guidelines encouraging airline crews to resist hijackers. The guidelines, while encouraging crews to fight hijackers with their fists and feet, take no position on whether guns should be allowed in airline cockpits.

Gun owners were instrumental in getting their congressional leaders to pass legislation arming pilots last year. The President then signed the legislation into law on November 19, 2001. Just over a month later, the FAA filed a notice asking the public for comments in regard to arming pilots on planes. The comment period will remain open until February 14, 2002.

ACTION: Please send your comments to the FAA before the February 14 deadline. The regulations are posted at http://www.gunowners.org/faaregs.htm on the GOA website. You can also go to http://www.gunowners.org/fs0201.htm to see our comments to the FAA.

Basically, the FAA should be encouraged in the following areas:

1) It was the clear intent of Congressional sponsors of the aviation legislation to arm pilots with firearms for the defense of their crews and passengers.

2) Pilots should be armed with real guns, not “toy guns” like tasers or stun guns.

3) According to the new law, the Transportation security chief must approve firearms training for pilots. Thus, the FAA could incorporate such training into the standard curriculum that pilots must already receive when they complete their annual training requirement — a course of study mandated for pilots every nine months. Former military training or private training at or above the standard set by the undersecretary of transportation security should be considered as meeting this requirement.

4) All pilots should be eligible to volunteer for this program.

5) Pilots who complete the required training should be deputized as law enforcement officers for the limited purpose of allowing them to carry firearms on their persons, nationwide. This alleviates the problem of having to store firearms at the airport when the pilots are not flying.

CONTACT INFORMATION: You can read the entire FAA posting by going to http://www.gunowners.org/faaregs.htm (Link no longer active) on the internet, or by getting a paper copy when you submit a request to the Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Rulemaking, ARM-1, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591. You can also get the rule by calling the FAA at (202) 267-9680. Make sure to identify the docket number of this rulemaking (Docket No. FAA-2001-111229).

Submit your comments to:

Public Docket Office
Department of Transportation
400 Seventh Street, SW.
Room PL-401
Washington, DC 20590-0001

You can also submit your comments at http://dmses.dot.gov/submit/BlankDSS.asp on the web. When submitting your comments, make sure to identify the docket number of this rulemaking. The Docket No. is FAA-2001-111229; the title is “Firearms, Less-Than-Lethal Weapons, and Emergency Services on Commercial Air Flights.”