Bunning Introduces Legislation to Arm Cargo Pilots
by U.S. Senator Jim Bunning

WASHINGTON, 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 airlines.

• Personnel that load cargo planes are not required to have the same criminal background check that the flight crew receives.

• The airport perimeter around cargo plane facilities is vulnerable.

• 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 States Senator

Let me know what you think, U.S. Senator Jim Bunning

Kentucky Republicans

Airline Pilots Security Alliance

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