The Airline Pilots’ Security Alliance is conducting a petition drive to convince President Bush, lawmakers and federal officials to support allowing commercial air crews to be armed.
The petition, which is accessible online from the group’s website, specifically addresses Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., who, as chairman of the House Transportation Committee’s Aviation subcommittee, is planning hearings on the issue in early May.
According to Capt. Bob Lambert, a spokesman for APSA, the group also plans to brief Transportation Security Administration officials today about its plan to have volunteer pilots federally trained to act as de facto law enforcement agents who would be legally permitted to carry firearms during flights.
Lambert has told WorldNetDaily that there is “increasing support” from various sectors on Capitol Hill and within the administration for the plan. TSA Secretary John Magaw has the authority to decide whether to implement Section 128 of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, signed by President Bush shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks and which allows commercial pilots to be armed.
“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,” says the petition.
“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,” the petition continues.
“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,” it said. “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.”
Lambert said APSA would accept signed petitions until April 28.
Another lawmaker, Rep. John Hostettler, R-Ind., has said publicly he supports arming pilots, as has Sen. Bob Smith, R-N.H., one of the authors of Sect. 28 in the Senate.
Lambert said APSA is coordinating its petition efforts with other pilot’s organizations: the AirLine Pilots Association, the Allied Pilots Association, the Southwest Airline Pilots Association, the Coalition of Airline Pilots Association and the Independent Pilots Association.
The results of the petition drive will be hand delivered to Mica on May 2, APSA said.