Fighting for Our Airlines—Whether They Like it or Not!

In this issue: The fight for armed pilots INTENSIFIES. Learn WHY.

APSA hires full time Washington lobbyist. NOW? Learn WHY. Three APSA pilots in first FFDO class. New APSA Website, memberships, discounts nearing launch. APSA Growing! Be a part!

This just in: Air Transport Association’s (ATA) chief economist David Swierenga, as quoted in the March 17 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology, regarding the effect of more terrorism against US Airlines coupled with the present war: “Losses would be unbearable. They could approach $13 billion and threaten the continued viability of the industry.” The ATA adds, “…a total industry collapse is virtually certain.” The ATA believes the probability of more terrorism against our airlines is “relatively high.”

In other words, the airline lobby group acknowledges that the possibility of another terrorist attack on our airplanes is high and that its effects would destroy the industry. Yet they and the TSA still resist arming pilots! We find ironic the fact that APSA still has to fight against the ATA for the most common-sense, law-enforcement-approved (and cheapest) security enhancement capable of preventing cockpit takeovers. If arming pilots deters or prevents more hijackings, it will be APSA that averted a “total industry collapse,” not the industry itself.

The Good News is, Pilots Can Attend Training to be Armed. The Bad News is, You Can’t Get There from Here.And, Perhaps, Who Wants To?

Wait a minute, did we say, “still fighting?” Arming pilots is the ‘law of the land,’ why doesn’t APSA just move on to the next problem? We have been accused of being a little too single-issue focused: Guns in the cockpit vs. other aspects of airline security. The reason is obvious: our adversaries just won’t quit. As long as someone is swinging at you, you have to fight back. We aren’t choosing to keep this issue alive, the ATA and TSA are. We were hoping that the very strong law we ushered through Congress had put this matter to bed. By all rights, it should have. But then, some people don’t do the Right Things.

Arming pilots is the law; but the TSA is not letting that deter their political agenda. Three of four APSA directors who
volunteered for the first “prototype” Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) class have been selected and are being screened (and screened…and screened). As we have related, the “screening” process is far beyond what any other Federal Law Enforcement Officer has to undergo—and includes a multi-step, subjective psychological screen that is clearly aimed at deterring participation and minimizing graduations from the course. This for pilots who are already among the most screened professionals extant.

Some APSA Directors said that, if they hadn’t invested 30-40 hours per week on this issue over the last year and a half, even they would not volunteer. The TSA threatens in its thirteen page application to report to the FAA and the pilot’s employer “any information obtained throughout the selection process” about the applicant. It is our view most will choose not to play “I bet my job” on this program. This is a purposeful violation of the will of the Congress, which clearly intends a large program that will have the desired deterrent value. In a brazen twist, in direct violation of the law, one APSA Director has been prevented by his airline from attending this class—they refused to allow him the time off when it was clearly within their ability and convenience to grant it. (Another APSA pilot is attending in his place.) This has set a dangerous precedent: if you can’t get a solid week off—on your own—you don’t go to this once-in-a-lifetime training event. This is yet another obstacle APSA is attacking.

“It’s Ten O’Clock. Do You Know Where Your Gun is Now?”

APSA has declared the weapon carry and custody protocol (lockboxes pilots are to carry in their luggage) the TSA has mandated “Not Acceptable.” It violates long-established law enforcement procedure of on-body carry. Even the TSA itself
says, “We realize this carry method increases the likelihood of theft and loss of weapons.” They say they chose lockboxes because they don’t think the law the Congress passed allows them to issue badges and authorize pilots to carry. Bilge water: the law specifically does exactly that! APSA believes that forcing pilots to relinquish custody of their firearms by placing them in their flightbags/suitcases (which are often out of pilots’ hands) has the very real potential of killing the armed pilots program in its infancy. And if a few pilots get mugged, injured, or killed for their guns in dark airport parking lots (since the TSA has told the press all about this inane carry method), that is a price the TSA is willing to pay. This is the second bill Congress passed to arm airline pilots—and it was very strongly worded. We don’t want to tip our hand, but clearly our approach and goals are different for this next round of legislation, which we intend to solve a host of problems. Yet this episode highlights the high-visibility nature of our issue, and that we can expect perpetual sniping at us. Eternal vigilance is also the price of armed pilots.

Watching APSA Grow

To get an idea of the pace of our activities, we are finding more heads to wear all our hats. Former APSA Chairman/current BOD member Captain Tracy Price has turned over his Government Affairs leadership to Rob Sproc. Rob becomes VP Government Affairs, a post to which he brings his experience working with APA’s Committee for Armed Defense of the Cockpit. Tracy will focus on board issues. APSA’s new President, Captain Bob Lambert, will concentrate on moving APSA ahead during this next phase of our growth. You will see other new names and faces soon, as board members divest themselves of particular functions in favor of dedicated board leadership.

Don’t Worry; We’re Professionals

One area of expansion we are thrilled about is hiring a very experienced Washington lobbyist to represent us and be our
watchdog. He will work closely with Rob Sproc to cover our interests. That alone should alert you to the flurry of activity
in which we are already engaged, and what we see ahead for APSA.

Representative Joe Wilson (SC) and Senator Sam Bunning (KY) are taking leadership roles in our upcoming battles. Stay tuned to the APSA Website and your email for Action Items!

Many of you have asked when APSA will dive into other areas of airline security—explosive detection or passenger screening. The answer is, when we have the resources to expend. Our adversaries—the airlines and the Administration—have more people, time, and money to throw at this issue that APSA does…so we have to work smarter (as well as harder). To give you a glimpse of what we have been up against: a few months ago, the ATA ran a full page ad in a national paper opposing armed pilots. Just that one day’s ad, we figure, cost twice the total that APSA spent getting the armed pilots bill passed and signed. We bet that never have so few dollars yielded such great result in Washington lobbying history. That victory is due to your involvement when we ask you to call your elected representatives. In fact, one APSA director was ushered into the office of a very powerful congressional Chairman to be chewed out because an APSA ALERT that targeted him tied up his office’s phone lines for two days, and they were not
even able to call out. That, Gentle Reader, is impressive grassroots action on your part.

Good Deals for You; Funds for APSA. Everyone Wins.

As you have seen on our Website, we will soon debut a new site. We are finally nearing completing numerous deals with various companies that wish to offer their products through the APSA site. Again, like hiring a full time lobbyist, the fact that a number of well-known companies are lining up to market their wares through the APSA site indicates a high level of confidence in APSA’s future busyness (business). Watch for deals on firearms and other security products, promotional items, and aviation merchandise. You’ll be able to purchase airline tickets and make rental car reservations through our site. All aimed at providing APSA with the funds needed to continue to be the leader in airline security advocacy. Airline security is ALL we do—not labor, not Second Amendment. APSA has already jumped to the forefront of airline security lobbying, and we intend to stay in front.

If you would like to take a larger part in the new, growing APSA, contact one of the Directors via the email links on our home page, or APSA@secure-skies.org.

Please don’t forget to donate! While no one at APSA has received a nickel for any work done, including incidental expenses, advocating costs money for such things as preparing and copying documents, and keeping our lobbyist on duty. Click on www.secure-skies.org to make a secure (of course!) online donation.



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Guns, Freedom, and Terrorism
Guns, Freedom, and Terrorism

In Guns, Freedom, and Terrorism, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre provides a fact-filled volume and tackles a number of subjects surrounding gun rights, including: arming airline pilots, animal rights extremism, media bias, gun show prohibition, self-defense, and others. His convincing arguments will cause even the most adamant gun control supporter to consider the values our forefathers fought to protect: liberty, democracy, and justice.

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