House votes to arm nation’s airline pilots

House votes to arm nation’s airline pilots

On July 10 the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to make the nation’s 70,000 commercial pilots immediately eligible for an armed-pilot program. H.R. 4635, introduced by Transportation Committee Chairman Don Young (R-Alaska) and Aviation Subcommittee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) and strongly supported by NRA, allows qualified and trained pilots to be commissioned as federal law enforcement officers and to carry firearms for cockpit defense.

“We felt H.R. 4635 would provide an important deterrent and defense against future hijackings and opposed all amendments to weaken the bill,” said Chris Cox, “and we let it be known that votes on these amendments and final passage bill will be considered in our election ratings and endorsement decisions.” A similar bill, S. 2554, has been introduced by Sens. Bob Smith (R-N.H.) and Zell Miller (D-Ga.) and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, where it is strongly opposed by committee chairman Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.). Hollings so far has refused to hold a hearing on the bill, but possibly the bipartisan 310-113 House vote will gain his attention.With their votes, 310 House members addressed the hard reality that the Wall Street Journal has clearly defined: “this isn’t really a choice between guns or no guns; it’s between giving pilots a last chance to stop a hijacking or having the Air Force shoot down a loaded passenger plane.”

Copyright National Rifle Association of America Sep 2002

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