Your Help Needed To Get More Guns On Planes

Your Help Needed to Get More Guns on Planes
— Senate bill introduced to close the airline loophole

(Wednesday, March 5, 2003) — U.S. Senators Jim Bunning (R-KY) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced legislation this week to arm the nation’s cargo pilots.

This is legislation that is desperately needed.

Congress did pass legislation last year to allow ALL pilots to voluntarily possess a firearm in the cockpit. But several congressmen worked in the dark of night to exclude cargo pilots after the bill went to a conference committee — thus creating a gaping loophole that any future terrorist can fly through.

Even Sen. Boxer, who is better known as a leader of the anti-gun movement, could see the problems with this last minute change. She spoke out on this issue at a press conference that she attended with Sen. Bunning and a group of more than ten airline pilots — many of them from APSA (Airline Pilot’s Security Alliance) and CAPA (Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations).

“In many cases, cargo planes have less security than passenger planes,” Boxer said. “It makes them tempting targets for terrorists.”

The Bunning-Boxer bill (S. 516) would address this glaring weakness in the country’s national security. A companion bill was introduced in the House by pro-gun Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), which will be reported on in more detail in the coming days.

The Senate bill already has 14 cosponsors, but many more will be needed to show the Senate leadership that this issue should be taken up and voted on quickly as a safeguard against future acts of terrorism.

The current cosponsors are as follows:

Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Ben Campbell (R-CO)
Larry Craig (R-ID)
Sam Brownback (R-KS)
Jim Bunning (R-KY)
Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
Conrad Burns (R-MT)
James Inhofe (R-OK)
Don Nickels (R-OK)
Zell Miller (D-GA)
George Allen (R-VA)
Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Craig Thomas (R-WY)

Urgent action is needed to get many more cosponsors.