The 2nd Amendment of the Bill of Rights: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the Right of the people to Keep and Bear Arms shall not be infringed."
Subject: A Wet Blanket On Arming Pilots?
Bush Throws 'Wet Blanket' on Arming Pilots
-- Calls to the White House are needed immediately
Gun Owners of America E-Mail/FAX Alert
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408
(Thursday, September 27, 2001) -- The grassroots groundswell continues to grow for letting pilots carry arms onto planes in order to protect the lives of their passengers. But the President seemed to throw a wet blanket on the idea yesterday when answering questions from the press:
"There may be better ways to do it than that," Mr. Bush said in response to questions at the White House about allowing pilots to carry guns in the cockpit. "But I'm open to any suggestion." [The New York Times, 9/27/01]
Bush is "Open" to Arming Pilots
Well, President Bush says he's open to suggestions on this subjetc. Although today, he outlined several safety proposals in Chicago, and arming pilots was not one of them.
His comments on this subject are somewhat similar to those made by FAA Administrator Jane Garvey on Monday. As Fox News carried a live interview of Garvey speaking at a press conference at JFK airport, Garvey was asked if she would support arming pilots in the cockpit. To that, Garvey said,
Well, first of all, that's an idea that probably two weeks ago I wouldn't have even considered. [Ed. note: That's true. She was actually opposing the idea two weeks ago.] But I think what we're seeing, and as I said a little bit earlier, we're challenging every assumption.... And that's an idea that we're absolutely willing to look at. And we would work very, very closely, by the way, with the Pilots Association on that.
So, the President is "open" to the idea; and Administrator Garvey is "willing to look at" it as well. That means it is time for every one receiving this alert to contact the White House.
Remind them that guns save lives. Remind them that a pilot who wants to crash a plane doesn't need a gun to do it -- so it's foolish to prevent them from having the tools they need to protect the lives of their passengers.
Bush Wants Federal Air Marshals
The administration is supporting the concept of armed Federal Air Marshals -- which is fine as a first step. But with 35,000 daily flights, it would be a monumental (and costly) task to put a marshal on every plane. Allowing pilots to carry would be a much cheaper solution.
Of course, gun haters think we'll be better off banning firearms everywhere we can. They want to turn every aspect of our society into a gun free zone. But gun free zones have failed wherever they've been tried. They've failed in Washington, D.C. They've failed on airplanes. They've failed in our schools. [NOTE: Laws creating a "Gun Free Zone" around schools have not stopped armed thugs from shooting them up. The only time that school massacres were stopped were the times there were adults present who had firearms.]
ACTION: Please contact President Bush and FAA Administrator Jane Garvey. See the contact information and the pre-written text below. Now that Senator Bob Smith and Representative Ron Paul have introduced bills to arm pilots, it is imperative that the President not kill this legislation by making veiled veto threats. You can also use the GOA Legislative Action Center at http://www.gunowners.org/activism.htm to send your messages.
Urge President Bush and Administrator Garvey to support these important bills. Tell them that Gun Free Zones -- such as what airplanes are -- do not work, and that they will not stop bad guys from carrying weapons. Please remind them that guns save lives, and that arming pilots is a good first step towards preventing future skyjackings.
Contact Information for President Bush:
Contact Information for FAA Administrator Jane Garvey:
Since the FAA is seeking comments, please contact Administrator Garvey at http://www.faa.gov/apa/tellfaa/tellfaa.htm via the agency's easy-to-use feedback page.
You can also contact Administrator Jane Garvey at:
----- Pre-written letters ----- Dear President Bush: Arming pilots is a good first step towards insuring passenger safety on airlines. Moreover, it is one that does not infringe on anyone's liberties -- liberties you have vowed will not be ceded to terrorists. Arming pilots is also cost-effective; whether or not placing armed Sky Marshals on every flight is a viable alternative in our society, allowing pilots to be armed is. Especially since at least one superb training facility, Front Sight of Las Vegas, has offered to train any and all pilots in firearms proficiency for free, with zero cost to airlines or taxpayers. (As an aside, this high-quality -- and free -- training would be a better choice than sending pilots to the FBI for expensive, lesser training.) Honestly, the kinds of attacks our nation has borne could be best prevented through deterrence. Guns save thousands of lives everyday on the ground. Why not on planes as well? Surely, allowing pilots to be armed represents a common-sense measure to ensure the safety of passengers! If we are to trust pilots with our lives while aboard, why should we not trust them to utilize the best tool available to prevent hijackings? And please, do not listen to gun-haters who spread unfounded fears about cabin depressurization and crossfires when trained pilots are carrying guns for self-defense. Notwithstanding the fact that such issues would apply to Sky Marshals as well, checking with aviation experts to get facts (rather than fears) will show that depressurization simply isn't a valid concern, especially when using frangible ammunition. Again, please do not stand in the way of Congress enacting sensible air safety legislation that would permit pilots to arm themselves for our common defense against terrorism. Sincerely, -------------------------- Dear Administrator Garvey: Arming pilots is a good first step towards insuring passenger safety on airlines. Moreover, it is one that does not infringe on anyone's liberties -- liberties this administration has vowed will not be ceded to terrorists. Arming pilots is also cost-effective; whether or not placing armed Sky Marshals on every flight is a viable alternative in our society, allowing pilots to be armed is. Especially since at least one superb training facility, Front Sight of Las Vegas, has offered to train any and all pilots in firearms proficiency for free, with zero cost to airlines or taxpayers. (As an aside, this high-quality -- and free -- training would be a better choice than sending pilots to the FBI for expensive, lesser training.) Honestly, the kinds of attacks our nation has borne could be best prevented through deterrence. Guns save thousands of lives everyday on the ground. Why not on planes as well? Surely, allowing pilots to be armed represents a common-sense measure to ensure the safety of passengers! If we are to trust pilots with our lives while aboard, why should we not trust them to utilize the best tool available to prevent hijackings? And please, do not listen to gun-haters who spread unfounded fears about cabin depressurization and crossfires when trained pilots are carrying guns for self-defense. Notwithstanding the fact that such issues would apply to Sky Marshals as well, checking with aviation experts to get facts (rather than fears) will show that depressurization simply isn't a valid concern, especially when using frangible ammunition. Please do not use your office and position to stand in the way of sensible air safety regulations that would permit pilots to arm themselves for our common defense against terrorism. Sincerely,
If you are a pilot, or work in the aerospace industry, please let GOA know by dropping an e-mail to email@example.com at your convenience.
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updated 09/27/01 Thanks go to Neil Knox for keeping us informed and fighting for our right to bear arms.
Subject: Arm The Pilots!
From: email@example.com (Neal Knox)
To: firstname.lastname@example.org (Firearms Coalition Alerts List)
Sept. 26 Neal Knox Update -- The Air Line Pilots Association's endorsement of allowing pilots to be armed as part of anti-terrorism efforts -- which was the result of a lot of lobbying by gun-owning pilots -- is an opportunity to go on the offense.
Arming pilots is being opposed by lawmakers like House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.), and fluttery souls who say they want "more safety on airlines not more guns" -- as if the painful lesson of the ultimate "gun free environment" hadn't been made clear at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon disasters.
I was appalled by the opposition of House Majority Leader Dick Armey and Republican Whip Tom Delay, who said he didn't want "a cowboy pilot" rushing to the back of the plane to quell terrorists -- which is the silliest thing I have ever heard him say.
The proposal is also getting an unfriendly reception in the White House.
Airline Pilot Paul Valone, President of Grass Roots North Carolina, is one of several pilots I know who have been pushing for the arming of pilots. He is also a major force behind "The Safer Skies Project" at Rights Watch International (www.rightswatch.org) which is gathering online petition signatures and contributions for ads demanding that airline pilots be allowed to carry.
Present law allows it, but FAA policy prohibits it. It's time to change that policy. ------------
This morning a man armed with a bomb and an "assault rifle" -- probably a real one capable of full auto fire -- killed 14 and wounded at least eight in a state parlaiment in Switzerland."
Although Switzerland's citizens are better armed than the U.S., thanks to their militia system, crime is minimal and such mass murders were previously non-existant.
All able-bodied citizens are issued full autos and other guns and ammo to keep at home, making them, as political scientist Nicolo Machiavelli said 450 years ago, "Most Armed, Most Free."
But as Oxford man and friend Richard Munday wrote in his book of that same name, Switzerland is changing. No longer are retiring militiamen allowed to keep their guns, only semi-auto versions. The Right To Keep and Bear Arms provision of their constitution was watered down a decade ago (though a similar watering-down effort had failed just a decade before that.
The Swiss, although not members of the United Nations, were major players in trying to enact international gun laws at the U.N. conference last month.
I fear for what may happen as a result of today's horror. ------------
Over the weekend Sen. John McCain claimed that terrorists were getting their guns at gun shows. I had wondered who would first try to pass their pet gun bill in the name of anti-terrorism.
Tuesday, Boston Globe columnist Thomas Oliphant -- right on cue -- reported that on Sept. 10 two brothers were convicted of attempting to smuggle "shotguns, ammunition, flash suppressors, assault weapons parts, and a police scanner" to the terrorist organization Hezbollah in Libya.
According to Oliphant, "numerous items (were) purchased at gun shows - the ideal shopping mall for criminals in general and terrorists in particular." At gun shows, one of the brothers with a felony record could buy what he wanted from unlicensed "dealers" -- his quote marks -- because private sellers didn't have to conduct background checks.
At licensed guns shops the felon's brother could buy whatever he wanted because he had a clean record, Oliphant said.
What he didn't mention was that the "clean" brother could also buy whatever his felon brother wanted anywhere else. Anyone willing to violate the law -- as terrorists certainly are -- use false i.d.'s, or even get jobs allowing them to obtain what they want.
But facts don't deter political opportunists. -------------------
Michigan opponents of the state's new concealed carry law this week threw in the towel because Handgun Control Inc./Brady Campaign wouldn't agree to put up the money to put the question on the ballot as an initiative.
The Brady crew is having hard times. They just laid off 14 people.
Opponents knew they could get the money to obtain enough signatures. They had already gotten that many signatures on their earlier referendum effort, which would have put the law on hold until the people voted whether to approve it.
The referendum effort failed to qualify because clever supporters had added funds for state police to administer the program, making it a non-referable appropriations bill. The state supreme court said so.
Despite polls supposedly showing opposition to licensed carry by law-abiding citizens, and the certain support of most of the press, the HCI analysts were afraid they wouldn't win the referendum, and knew a loss would be as devastating to them as the two-point Missouri loss was to us.
In such an expensive campaign -- expensive for both sides -- the people of Michigan would have learned about John Lott's studies, and Gary Kleck's, showing that private guns reduce crime and protect lives.
And the gun-haters' hysterical fears would have been shown to be groundless. In the two years before the initiative got on the ballot, the people would have seen that there was no more problem in Michigan than there had been in the other 31 states with such laws -- and there would probably have been some spectacular "saves" by licensees, as there have been elsewhere.
In a close election, as most of these are, the fact that it is harder to get a "Yes" vote on an initiative than a "No" vote on a referendum often decides the issue.
That's why it's always better to pass concealed carry laws in the state legislature then fight it out later, if need be, in a referendum -- which is precisely why the grass roots groups of Missouri initially opposed NRA's agreement with legislators to put licensed carry on the ballot as an initiative.
Once the fight was on, Western Missouri Shooters Alliance, Second Amendment Coalition of Missouri and other groups became major supporters of NRA's effort.
But the night the vote came in, an old friend from WMSA called me and said, "I told you so."
Sept. 23 Neal Knox Update -- Concerns about anti-terrorism legislation being enacted with restrictive firearms legislation were a major topic of speakers and attendees at the largest-ever Gun Rights Policy Conference, which concluded near Cincinatti this afternoon.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is to begin hearings tomorrow on the Bush Administration's terrorism package. It does not directly affect gunowners but anti-gun organizations are reportedly meeting with their senators to develop firearms amendments.
The annual GRPC, sponsored by Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and Second Amendment Foundation, with support from numerous companies and other groups, drew more than 500 activists from Minnesota to Texas, and Massachusetts to California.
Several speakers urged support for the Air Line Pilots Association decision to ask that pilots to be armed, reversing a 30-year policy.
During one of the luncheon speeches yesterday, nationally known firearms instructor Massad Ayoob said that El Al, the Israeli airline, has armed pilots, guards on each flight, and hardened cockpit doors.
"Their security is the best in the world," he said. "But I rarely fly El Al, Do you think I'm going to walk up to the Israelis and say: 'I'm Massad Ayoob and I've got guns?'"
He brought down the house. -----------------------
Almost 50 well-known speakers reported on current legislation and prospects in Washington and in the states; the anti-gun efforts in the U.N., and current court cases. Panels covered topics such as "Terrorism and High-Tech Threats to the Bill of Rights," "Outside the Box Offensive Strategies," "When Doctors Prescribe Gun Control," "Right to Carry and Gun Shows", and "Winning Strategies for the 2002 Elections."
In one panel I reported that, according to CNN, and contrary to claims from the FBI, Philipine authorities said they informed them in 1995 that Ramzi Yousef (now serving a life sentence for masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) had planned to hijack U.S. airliners and crash them into the Pentagon, CIA Headquarters and "commercial towers in San Francisco, Chicago and New York City."
The information was obtained from Yousef's former right-hand man, Abdul Hakim Murad, and from their computer, according to Philipine intelligence officer Rodolfo Mendoza.
If this is report is validated, someone should be held accountable.
Interestingly, a day after that story from CNN's Manila reporter appeared, a similar story appeared on CNN's website, datelined New York City. That one did not mention that FBI had been warned.
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