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News - Should airline pilots be armed?

Yes. Properly trained, armed pilots can be an effective component to a larger, more comprehensive security policy.

There's an old "All in the Family" episode in which Archie Bunker opines, "You know how to stop hijackings? Give every passenger a gun!"

While I admit the sitcom patriarch's solution might be a bit extreme, arming cockpit crews on commercial flights is not.

Despite the protests of misinformed anti-Second Amendment and gun control types, who argue that any firearm is inherently dangerous, I believe properly trained, armed pilots can be an effective component to a larger, more comprehensive security policy.

It would be nice to think terrorists will be stopped on the front-end by intelligence/law enforcement agencies, airport security personnel, conscientious passengers, in-flight services crews, or air marshals. But in the event that all of the aforementioned factors fail to prevent a hijacker from attempting to enter the cockpit, one or two well-placed 140-grain "hydra shock" rounds most certainly will not.

Self-defense courses for flight attendants and stun guns in the cockpit sound reassuring, but let's be frank. Despite what we've learned from Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme, it can take a lifetime to become proficient (i.e. lethal) in the use of martial arts. As far as stun guns go, a pilot armed with a stun gun is an armed pilot. Why not arm him to the max?

There are those who argue that an errant bullet might cause a catastrophic cabin depressurization. Such fears are well founded — but the truth is, the probability of such a scenario occurring is minimal. If a pilot is forced to use a pistol, he'll be firing at a target that's likely to be less than five feet away. Add to this equation the fact that many commercial pilots come from the military, where they've been instructed in the use of sidearms. Hollow-point ammo and/or "soft rounds" will further reduce the likelihood that a bullet will exit the target and puncture an aircraft's hull. Even if the unlikely happens, cabin depressurization doesn't mean the aircraft will crash (remember the Hawaiian Air 737 that landed successfully after being torn open like a sardine can?).

Truth be known, I suspect that the next terrorist attack directed toward the United States will not involve commercial airliners, let alone the hijacking of one. But should a future attack involve an attempt to commandeer a commercial airliner, I'll espouse the logic of William Call in Larry McMurtry's epic western Lonesome Dove, who, when referring to carrying a pistol, says, "Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it."

Chris Renaldo believes an individual who can responsibly operate a jet airplane can responsibly operate a handgun.??





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