More Action On Arming Pilots

Senator Smith Introduces Bill Allowing Pilots to Carry Guns
— Please contact your two senators and ask them to cosponsor bill

ACTION: Please contact your two senators and ask them to cosponsor Sen. Bob Smith’s legislation, S. 1463. Do not accept a non-committal reply. Demand to know whether your senators will cosponsor the bill. Call 202-224-3121 — to identify your senators, as well as to send a pre-written message via e-mail, see the Legislative Action Center at http://www.gunowners.org/activism.htm on the GOA website.

(Wednesday, September 26, 2001) — It appears that the crusade for concealed carry is gaining momentum — especially as it applies to pilots. Here’s what has happened in the last two weeks:

* Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) introduced H.R. 2896 to let pilots carry guns on airplanes for the purpose of defending not only the lives of their passengers, but other innocent civilians as well.

* Pilots, en masse, are speaking out in favor of this legislation.

* The Air Line Pilots Association has even petitioned Congress, asking the legislature to let pilots carry guns.

* Web polls, such as one conducted by CNN with over 100,000 votes, are finding that the overwhelming majority of the public (72%) favors arming pilots.

And now, Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) has introduced S. 1463 to accompany the Paul legislation. Similar to the House bill, the language of S. 1463 is sufficiently flexible so that it would overturn the current FAA regulation encouraging airlines to veto firearms for pilots. In addition, it would preempt a rumored FAA regulation which would absolutely outlaw firearms in the hands of pilots.

Sen. Smith is prepared to force a vote on his language as soon as the number and range of Senate cosponsors suggest that the language would prevail in a Senate vote. Therefore, it is imperative that we get a massive number of cosponsors on this bill.

IMPORTANT NOTE TO PILOTS: Your role is critical in this battle. Please make sure that you contact your two senators and that you ask your fellow pilots to do the same. If possible, arrange for a meeting with your senators so that you and a couple of other pilots can meet with them.

DEBUNKING THE MYTHS OF GUNS ON PLANES

One objection that Senate offices may throw at you is this supposed idea that a bullet hole in an airplane’s hull can cause catastrophic depressurization or cause the ship to crash. First, one should note that such an argument against pilots carrying guns would also apply to Federal Air Marshals. But the fact is, pre-fragmented ammo can minimize the supposed risks of a bullet puncturing a plane’s hull.

Having said that, writer David Kopel (along with author and pilot, Captain David Petteys) notes that the risks related to the hull being punctured are greatly exaggerated. In a recent National Review Online article dated September 16, they state, “There is only one known instance in which a bullet hole in an aircraft frame yanked objects across the plane, expanded, and sucked a person out into the sky. That was the James Bond movie Goldfinger. The movie was not intended to teach real-life lessons about physics.”

Aircraft engineers have likewise downplayed the ability of a few bullets to depressurize a plane. “If one round, or two or three for that matter pierce the skin [of a plane],” says Dan Todd, a licensed aircraft engineer for 20 years, “it’s not necessarily catastrophic.” Todd says that in such a case, “air will go whistling out the hole, and the outflow valve will close a little further to maintain the desired cabin pressure.” Another engineer notes that “a Boeing 747 can lose five cabin windows and maintain cabin pressure.” (Go to https://www.keepandbeararms.com/information/XcIBViewItem.asp?ID=2474 for articles dispelling myths relating to guns & planes.)

If you are not currently receiving the full GOA membership benefits (such as The Gun Owners newsletter in the mail), go to http://www.gunowners.org/ordergoamem.htm on the web to sign up; or call toll-free at 1-888-886-GUNS. GOA’s upcoming newsletter will be a SPECIAL ISSUE entirely devoted to this month’s bombing, and will include some of the best commentary on the myths and realities of allowing guns on planes.

—– Pre-written letter —–

Dear Senator:

Senator Bob Smith has introduced one of the most important bills this Congress. S. 1463 will help drive a stake into the heart of terrorism by virtually guaranteeing that no American airplane will ever be skyjacked again.

S. 1463 will allow pilots to carry guns onto a plane, and thus, allow them to not only protect the lives of their passengers, but the lives of other innocent civilians as well.

I urge you to cosponsor this legislation right away.

At a time when Americans are fearful of flying and the airlines are laying off workers by the thousands; at a time when the economic aftershocks of the September 11 skyjackings are still reverberating on Wall Street; it is high time to ensure the absolute safety of airline passengers.

Please don’t believe those fear-mongers who would peddle the Hollywood myth that a bullet hole in a plane’s hull can cause catastrophic depressurization or force the aircraft to crash. That is science fiction. Think about all the military planes that, in the midst of battle, have been riddled with dozens of bullets and continued flying — only to land safely miles away.

As noted by author David Kopel and pilot Captain Petteys: “There is only one known instance in which a bullet hole in an aircraft frame yanked objects across the plane, expanded, and sucked a person out into the sky. That was the James Bond movie Goldfinger. The movie was not intended to teach real-life lessons about physics.”

Kopel also quotes retired Air Force General James Chambers who points out that “the Air Force has plenty of pressurized planes, such as AWACS, which are able to sustain penetration/damage from bullets from enemy fighter jet machine guns.”

It is imperative that America not continue its current policy of making airplanes into gun free zones. America is rejecting this idea. The Air Line Pilots Association supports arming pilots. According to a CNN web poll, 72% of the American public supports arming pilots.

The Smith legislation may be the most important bill you cosponsor this year. Again, I urge you to sign on to S. 1463. Gun Owners of America will keep me abreast as to who is signing on to this bill. Thank you.

Sincerely,