The Washington Times reported yesterday that President Obama is ending a federal program that trains and arms airline pilots. This decision has sparked outrage from the Citizen’s Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms who called Obama an anti gun bigot.
According to The Washington Times The Obama administration is taking the $2 million budgeted for the pilot arming program, and putting it into hiring more supervisors for the field inspection of pilots. This decision led to outrage from CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb, “How dare the president, or anybody in his administration, take measures to erode the safety of air travelers. The armed pilot program provides a guaranteed level of security to the public. There may or may not be an air marshal aboard every airplane, but there is definitely a pilot in the cockpit. We trust commercial airline pilots with $500 million aircraft. We can certainly trust them with $500 pistols to defend those planes, and the lives of their passengers.”
Gottlieb blamed anti-self defense bureaucrats for the decision, “Certain individuals have never liked the armed pilot program. These anti-gun, anti-self-defense bureaucrats seem more interested in their own power, and protecting their little empires, than they are in protecting the public. And now, Obama is catering to their anti-gun bigotry.”
I don’t know about Mr. Gottlieb, but I would rather have a pilot who is deemed to be fit to fly than, an iffy pilot who is a good shot. If the plane crashes, the pilot won’t need his gun. The arming pilots program is not essential in this economy. I know that gun rights advocates don’t often think in terms of the big picture, but this is money that could be better spent elsewhere right now. I personally would rather that the pilot of any plane that I am on would concentrate only on flying the aircraft.
I think if anyone is armed on an aircraft, it should be a professional security expert, not the pilot. This isn’t the movies. Giving a pilot a gun could also add to the danger as well as the safety of a situation. Why can’t we find a middle ground here that allows for better security on all flights, without putting an extra burden on the pilots, or why can’t the government certify private programs, to let pilots be trained to carry a gun if they want, at their own cost? If a pilot wants to be armed while flying, then they should be responsible for their decision, but my personal opinion is that security should be left to others on the airplane.