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House Takes Steps in Right Direction
by Arming Pilots to Deter Terrorism

For Immediate Release. July 11, 2002On July 10, 2002, the House of Representatives made a step in the right direction in aviation security by approving the Arming Pilots Against Terrorism Act (H.R. 4635).  The measure, that would allow more than 70,000 pilots to carry firearms in their cockpits to defend their planes against terrorists, was passed by a 310-113 vote.  As an additional safety precaution, pilots would have to complete training before carrying firearms on the planes.

Contrary to what critics have said, arming pilots would not compromise the safety of passengers but would be a deterrent against future terrorist attacks.  The rate of a terrorist’s chance to succeed would be greatly reduced because they would have to plan for pilots being armed, deterring them from such undertakings.

Critics have raised concerns that special risks would be imposed when firing a projectile weapon on board an aircraft.  However, this concern is obviated by the fact that pilots could use specialized, frangible ammunition that would not penetrate the ultra-thin metallic skin of an aircraft but would penetrate human flesh.  Furthermore, the use of a firearm by a pilot is a last step effort in preventing the take-over of an airplane to avoid another September 11th when terrorists crashed airplanes into buildings.  Also, aircraft loss would not result from single or even multiple handgun bullet holes because a commercial airplane’s structure is designed with sufficient strength, redundancy and damage tolerance.  Cabin pressurization would be effected minimally by a single bullet hole in the fuselage skin.  In fact, after in-flight bomb blasts, Boeing commercial aircraft have survived and landed on fourteen separate occasions.

“Pilots armed with firearms could have prevented terrorists from taking over the aircrafts that were used as missiles to murder more than 3,000 innocent people in New York City and Washington D.C.,” said Dr. Joel P. Rutkowski, president of the American Voice Institute of Public Policy.  “Also, prevented could have been the billons of dollars lost as a result of property damage, the thousands of employees that lost their jobs as a result of these actions, and a nation’s economy that went into decline.“

For Interviews Contact:

Joel P. Rutkowski, P.h.D.
President, The American Voice Institute Of Public Policy
757-436-5927
jrutkowski@americanvoiceinstitute.org

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