After 9/11 pilots who went through a federal training program were allowed to carry guns on flights to offer passengers added protection. This is a popular program because those Americans who are flying in the planes feel an extra sense of security. But guess what. Barack Obama is quietly ending the program. I had no idea until I read this at Ace’s place. The Washington Times‘ editorial has the details:
After the September 11 attacks, commercial airline pilots were allowed to carry guns if they completed a federal-safety program. No longer would unarmed pilots be defenseless as remorseless hijackers seized control of aircraft and rammed them into buildings.
Now President Obama is quietly ending the federal firearms program, risking public safety on airlines in the name of an anti-gun ideology.
The Obama administration this past week diverted some $2 million from the pilot training program to hire more supervisory staff, who will engage in field inspections of pilots.
This looks like completely unnecessary harassment of the pilots. The 12,000 Federal Flight Deck Officers, the pilots who have been approved to carry guns, are reported to have the best behavior of any federal law enforcement agency. There are no cases where any of them has improperly brandished or used a gun. There are just a few cases where officers have improperly used their IDs.
Every time I turn around I read about a new, irrational, idiotic, incompetent, and harmful program that Barack Obama wants to implement.
Alan Gottlieb, chairman of Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms says he knows why:
“How dare the president, or anybody in his administration, take measures to erode the safety of air travelers,” Gottlieb questioned. “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,” he continued. “We can certainly trust them with $500 pistols to defend those planes, and the lives of their passengers.
“Certain individuals have never liked the armed pilot program,” Gottlieb acknowledged. “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.”
But that appeasing anti-gun freaks does not adequately explain why he would be willing to risk paying a heavy political price by ending this program. The folks at the Washington Times are just as stumped:
Frankly, as a matter of pure politics, we cannot understand what the administration is thinking. Nearly 40 House Democrats are in districts were the NRA is more popular than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. We can’t find any independent poll in which the public is demanding that pilots disarm. Why does this move make sense?
Unfortunately, very little of what Barack Obama is doing makes sense. In addition to ending this program, he also wants our military men and women injured in battle to pay for their own treatment, violating the sacred trust our country has with those who volunteer to put themselves in harms way to protect this country. Obama’s presidency is not even eight weeks old, but it is already an unmitigated catastrophe.
Added: I’m going to add a caveat here. None of this has been confirmed by anyone from inside the administration; however, taking its track record into account, I’m running with the assumption the Times‘ editorial is accurate.