Armed Pilots Petition Deadline
House to Investigate Delays Preventing Pilots from being Armed
— Please join more than 30,000 others in petitioning Congress and the President
SUMMARY: GOA encourages concerned citizens to visit the Airline Pilots’ Security Alliance website at http://www.secure-skies.org and sign their petition addressed to Congress and the White House. By joining the 30,000 plus Americans who have already signed the petition, you will add your voice to the growing number of concerned citizens who want pilots armed now. The petition will be closed down on Sunday night at midnight (April 28), and will be presented to Rep. John Mica (R-FL) who is spearheading Congressional hearings on this issue next week.
(Thursday, April 25, 2002) — It seems that each day brings another story relating to breakdowns in airport security. Yet the administration still continues to drag its feet, thus failing to arm our nation’s pilots.
Rep. John Mica (R-FL), who is Chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee, has decided to formally look into this issue. He has scheduled hearings for May 2, at which time Gun Owners of America plans to submit written testimony. Several pro-gun pilots will be appearing in person to testify as well.
Representative John Hostettler (R-IN) and Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) plan to lead a press conference following the hearings where other congressmen, pilots and family members of 9-11 victims plan to speak.
While the planned schedule is encouraging, it’s a shame that such hearings are even necessary. Gun owners were instrumental in pressuring Congress to pass an armed pilots provision last year. President Bush then signed that legislation into law in November.
But administration officials have been diligently working against this law — officials such as Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, who received an F- rating by GOA when he was a member of Congress.
“I don’t feel we should have lethal weapons in the cockpit,” Mineta told reporters in March. This statement is not surprising coming from him. As a congressman, he cosponsored a host of gun control bills, including legislation to impose waiting periods for handgun purchases; a bill to ban certain handguns; a bill to ban certain rifles and shotguns; and other gun control measures.
In fact, Mr. Mineta was such a reliable gun control proponent that Sarah Brady’s Handgun Control group regularly endorsed him.
Mineta’s opposition comes despite the fact that 73 percent of airline pilots — and more than 75 percent of the American public — support measures to arm pilots in airplane cockpits. To combat these highly placed sources of opposition, the Airline Pilots’ Security Alliance (APSA) is gathering signatures in support of this goal. The group plans to present these signatures to Rep. Mica and President Bush next week.
GOA encourages its members to go to http://www.secure-skies.org and sign the APSA petition in support of arming our pilots before Sunday night at midnight (April 28).
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PETITION:
“It has been more than seven months since the terrorist attacks of September 11. We have since seen the disappointing results of an over-reliance on passenger screenings to keep terrorists off our aircraft. We know that with more than 100,000 Federal Air Marshals required to adequately protect our flights, that program will never be viable.
“We expect the proposed new cockpit door will significantly slow attempts to breach the flight deck, yet there is no such thing as an impenetrable door. Moreover, the door is often opened for physiological needs, thereby turning a barrier into a passageway.
“Too much time has already been wasted in the quest for improved airline security…. Common sense and logic dictate that the men and women we trust each day with our lives when we board an airliner can and should be trusted with firearms in order to provide the critical last line of defense. An American fighter shooting us down or needlessly subjecting ourselves to another fatal airborne attack simply because pilots are not armed should never be allowed to happen.
“Please provide the American people the protection they deserve by establishing a program to train and arm our pilots NOW!!”