Senate To Vote This Week On Smith Language

Will You Be Able to Fly in Safety?
— Senate to take up armed pilots issue this week

(Tuesday, September 3, 2002) — If all goes well this week, the Senate will vote on Bob Smith’s provision to arm commercial pilots. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a similar version of the bill in July by a vote of 310-113. Incredible momentum has continued to build in the Senate where 25 Senators have now cosponsored Bob Smith’s bill, S. 2554.

Senators Smith (R-NH) and Zell Miller (D-GA) are the chief sponsors of this pro-gun legislation — a bill which has attracted some unlikely supporters, including the normally anti-gun Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA).

Recent revelations have shown that airport security is a joke. Air marshals are quitting the force in droves, leaving most flights unprotected. And while airport personnel continue to focus on nail clippers and letter openers, illegal guns keep slipping by undetected.

Last week, a North Carolina woman unknowingly took her husband’s gun onto a flight and landed in Philadelphia. The error was not discovered until she tried to board her second flight.

Meanwhile, taxpayers have spent $3 billion in the past year to bolster a screening system at airports that investigators say discovers knives, firearms and explosives only 25 to 50 percent of the time at best.

Three billion dollars! How much less would it have cost to give each pilot a firearm?

In pursuing this reasonable goal, the Smith-Miller bill will require the government to authorize and deputize any qualified pilot wishing to carry a firearm for the protection of aircraft, passengers, and crew — and it will create a program for training flight attendants in self-defense and threat assessment.