Pilots Should Be Armed to Combat Terrorist Attacks

Jul 8, 2002
Today, Rep Joe. Wilson (R-SC) made the following statement in support of H.R. 4635, Arming Pilots Against Terrorism Act. Rep. Wilson is a co-sponsor of the bill, which will be brought to the House Floor this week. “Why would we allow the passengers and pilots on a commercial flight to have no self defense against terrorist attacks. We can’t allow them to be sitting ducks,” said Rep. Wilson. “Half of the pilots in commercial service have military or law enforcement backgrounds and could easily stop attacks if they were armed.” Rep. Don Young (R-AK), the Chairman of the Transportation Committee, and Rep. John Mica (R-FL), the Chairman of the Aviation Subcomittee introduced H.R. 4635. The bill will begin a two-year test allowing guns in the cockpit on commercial flights, deputizing a maximum of 2 percent of the total pilot workforce. Preference will be given to pilots with military and law enforcement backgrounds, and all pilots being deputized must undergo Transportation Security Administration approved training. Flight attendants will also be required to take separate self-defense training. “I am so grateful for the leadership Chairman Young has shown on this issue by promoting a commonsense response to terrorist attacks, and I think it is a logical and sound solution to give trained pilots the ability to save themselves and their passengers from a hijacking. And training is the key, because we will ensure that every person involved in this program will have proper instruction and held to the highest standards of safety,” said Rep. Wilson. ###