Introduces Legislation to Arm Cargo Pilots
by U.S. Senator Jim Bunning
D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Bunning
today made the following statement at a press conference
with Senator Barbara Boxer to introduce
the Arming Pilots Against Terrorism Act:
We are here to enhance our national security by closing
a loophole in the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program.
Last year both the Senate and House overwhelmingly passed
provisions to the Homeland Security Act to allow both commercial
and cargo pilots to voluntarily possess a firearm in the
cockpit. Yet, during conference of that bill the cargo pilots
were excluded. They should not have been excluded.
We must allow these cargo pilots to defend the cockpit,
themselves and the public on the ground A cargo jet can
just as easily be turned into a weapon of mass destruction
as a passenger plane. Some say, ‘Why arm cargo pilots
if they carry no passengers?’ That’s a fair
question. And it’s one we’ve all thought about.
Here are some reasons why this loophole should be closed:
• Some cargo planes do carry a limited number of passengers,
yet they do not receive equal security received by passenger
• Personnel that load cargo planes are not required
to have the same criminal background check that the flight
• The airport perimeter around cargo plane facilities
• Stowaways have been reported on several cargo airplanes.
• Non-cargo company employees are rarely screened
prior to gaining access to many operations.
Suppose from any of these scenarios a terrorist made his
way onto a cargo plane. And then after takeoff the terrorist
made his way to the cockpit. The cargo pilot would literally
be defenseless to a terrorist. Unlike commercial passenger
flights, cargo flights do not have federal air marshals,
flight attendants or alert passengers to fend off a terrorist.
Cargo planes do not have reinforced cockpit doors. Some
have no doors at all!
That terrorist would then have the opportunity to turn that
plane into a missile and weapon of mass destruction. We
cannot allow that to happen. And it is our duty to protect
the American people. There are no logical reasons to exclude
cargo pilots from being allowed to defend the cockpit, themselves
and the public. This loophole needs to be closed. It should
never have been opened.
Best personal regards,
JIM BUNNING United
Let me know what
you think, U.S.
Senator Jim Bunning