New Bill Forces TSA To Do The Right Thing
Bunning and Wilson Set to Knock Down Hurdles to Arming Pilots
For two years in a row, Congress has overwhelmingly passed legislation to allow armed pilots to use firearms to protect their crews and passengers — and innocent victims on the ground.
Tragically, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) — which has no problem scrambling fighters to shoot down passenger airplanes — continues to drag its feet at the common-sense notion that American citizens should be allowed to defend themselves, rather than being shot out of the sky by military jets.
The TSA has erected numerous hurdles to discourage qualified pilots from applying to carry firearms. GOA last year reported how one TSA attorney boasted his agency “intends to make the [armed pilots] program so difficult, intimidating and burdensome that no pilot will volunteer.”
He was almost correct. Some pilots have volunteered, but very few. Of the nation’s 33,000 daily flights, only a fraction of a percent have armed pilots guarding the controls to the planes.
Fortunately, Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) and Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC) will shortly introduce legislation to force TSA to eliminate these hurdles.
The Bunning-Wilson bill will ensure that 70% of eligible pilots can be certified within half a year. Even though an overwhelming majority of pilots have had military or law-enforcement training, the TSA requires these (and other) applicants to travel to a very remote training facility in New Mexico, on their own dime and own time.
The Bunning-Wilson bill will arm these qualified pilots, virtually overnight, and it will allow all pilots to be trained at private facilities located all over the country.
The bill will also stop TSA from using redundant tests solely for the purpose of discrediting clearly qualified applicants. Right now, the TSA is running pilot applicants through a psychological “gauntlet” that is more rigorous than what the vast majority of Air Marshals had to endure.
Pilots must already pass psychological exams every year to fly a plane. If pilots are competent to fly a plane, why can’t TSA trust them to carry a gun?
Finally, the Bunning-Wilson bill prevents anti-gun bureaucrats from promoting rules which would deny certified pilots access to their firearms. Currently, TSA regs require pilots to “lock up their safety” during the very times they would be most vulnerable to attack (such as any time the cockpit door is opened).
Pilots say this is the number one reason they are NOT applying to carry firearms in the cockpit. Why run the TSA gauntlet, only to be forced to lock up the firearm when it is most critically needed?
Over the next several days, Sen. Bunning and Rep. Wilson will be soliciting original cosponsors for their legislation — senators and representatives whose names will appear on the original versions of the bills.
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