Barack Obama Ending Progam that Allows Pilots to Carry Guns

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.

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  • BPG

    This is not a smart idea. Two things deter 99% of hijacking attempts – armored cockpit doors and armed pilots. Simple, elegant.

  • Kathy

    You ask what’s he thinking? Can you say Socialism?

  • MPR

    During the 70’s when high jacking planes and landing in a sympathetic country was the terrorists favorite pass time and got lots of attention. During this time it was accepted knowledge that American pilots carried guns. Many were ex-military and were not afraid to use them to protect the passengers and plane. So the terrorists high jacked foreign airlines. Then the Clinton’s came to Washington and it was discouraged. Then it became known to the terrorists that box cutters and a quick coordinated strike would be all that was needed to take over a plane and use it for a missile. Had the pilots been armed on 9/11 they never would have surrendered control of their aircraft. What Obamalala is doing is returning to the policies pre-9/11. This needs to go viral. It would not hurt if the airlines saw a big drop in their revenues due to this outrage. Obamalala is not only send us all to the poor house he will kill us all!

  • GarandFan

    Mr President, should an airliner get hijacked, and those aboard killed AND it is discovered the pilot and copilot used to be armed; WHAT WILL YOU DO? Will you resign your office? You like to talk about acts having CONSEQUENCES. Are YOU willing to suffer the CONSEQUENCES?

    …………crickets chirping………………

  • John

    Is this really a surprise? I mean this is Obama’s administration, the same asshole who wants veterans to pay for their own medical care.

  • Mac Lorry

    Obama understands the great political risk he runs in disarming pilots should there be another attack like 9/11. Such is the depth of GDS (Gun Derangement Syndrome) Obama and many lefties suffer from that they are not only willing to risk peoples lives, but even something as important as their own political careers in order to further the anti-gun agenda. Next Obama will disarm the air marshals or just remove them.

  • Mac Lorry

    Is this really a surprise? I mean this is Obama’s administration, the same asshole who wants veterans to pay for their own medical care.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Obama made our troops pay for their own ammo.

  • JLawson

    Don’t give him ideas, Mac. .50 cal is expensive!

    Remember – “We Won.”

    Guess that means they can do what they want, right? Regardless of how rational the thing is – or how they rationalize it.

    Care to bet there’s going to be some study publicized that says people are afraid of armed pilots? It’s a thin justification, but all it’ll take is one study and that’ll suffice to pull the plug.

    “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.”

    Why do you think he will? Frankly, at this point Obama’s pretty near immune, and whenever it looks like he’s slipping there’s going to be ANOTHER sudden crisis or someone needs to be blamed to divert attention – and he’ll get his loyal syncophants to step up and proclaim the meme of the day.

    I remember a saying from the show “Babylon 5” –

    “The avalanche has started – it is too late for the pebbles to vote.”

    All we can do is ride out the next few years, and hope.

  • STaylor

    Is he nuts? Seriously.
    You would think pure political smarts if nothing else would keep away from this kind of stuff. If an airplane gets hijaked now it will be traced directly to his policies and he is done.
    I was hoping that political expediency would keep Obama from doing anything too dumb for at least four years or so, but I guess I was wrong. Now more American lives will be endangered or, God forbid, ended. Congradulations liberals.

  • Brian

    Where to begin.

    First of all, if this editorial is true, it impacts only the ability of new pilots to go through the training. It is not alleged to have any impact on the ability of trained pilots to continue carrying guns.

    Next, recall that when this program was proposed in 2002, the airlines, President Bush, the TSA, and Homeland Security all opposed it:

    The Bush administration today slapped millions of Americans in the face when it announced that pilots would not be allowed to have guns in the cockpit.

    It was only by the overwhelming bipartisan support of Congress that it passed with a veto-proof majority.

    But even then, two years later:

    Commercial pilots say only a few of their colleagues are signing up to carry guns in the cockpit because the Bush administration has made it harder than necessary to participate.

    Appeasing anti-gun freaks does not adequately explain why Bush was willing to risk paying a heavy political price by opposing this program.

    Moving on, your claim that “this is a popular program” is false. In 2004, “the Airline Pilots Security Alliance conducted polls and estimated that about half the 115,000 commercial pilots would participate.” Yet you claim that there are only “12,000 Federal Flight Deck Officers, the pilots who have been approved to carry guns”. That’s barely 10%, using 2004 numbers. Even today, the Airline Pilots Security Alliance says that of flights are being protected by armed pilots.

    They also say that $14 million is needed to fully fund this program, so if a $2 million cut has now ended it, it couldn’t have been very well funded to begin with.

    And finally, is there any evidence other than this Washington Times editorial (not article) that a) $2 million has been diverted from this program, or that b) as a result the program has “ended”? (That’s quite a weaselly “caveat” added up there.)

    So to recap, Obama allegedly cut funding to an already Bush-era-underfunded program opposed by airlines and the Bush administration that affects fewer than 3% of all flights.

    Oh, where’s the faux-outrage?

  • Brian

    Even today, the Airline Pilots Security Alliance says that of flights are being protected by armed pilots.

    Whoops, formatting error above. That should be:

    “Even today, the Airline Pilots Security Alliance says that <3% of flights are being protected by armed pilots.”

  • JB

    This and military health coverage may end Obama’s honeymoon with the public once the word gets out.

  • Bob

    “Unfortunately, very little of what Barack Obama is doing makes sense.” Unfair!! It makes complete sense if you understand him as someone who, although successful at portraying himself as a pragmatist, is motivated solely by ideology. Everything he has done since January 20 has been aimed at growing government, denigrating the free market and lessening the rights, privileges and freedoms of Americans. And that doesn’t count his foreign policy and weakening of our efforts in the struggle formerly known as The War on Terror. The only thing that would surprise me is if BHO did something that was pro-freedom, pro-business or that advanced our country’s ability to defend itself.

  • Adrian Browne

    Obama’s secret gun agenda:

    http://hasobamatakenawayourgunsyet.com/

  • Mac Lorry

    Oh, where’s the faux-outrage?

    I see you’re still stuck in “blame Bush” mode, but this isn’t about Bush. It’s about Obama diverting the 2 million dollars that congress appropriated for a specific purpose by a veto-proof majority. If an airplane gets hijacked it’s going to be very uncomfortable for Obama explaining where the money went or why he thought he could circumvent the will of Congress.

  • John

    Further, Bush, along with aviation and airline safety experts, was against arming pilots to begin with because there were many unanswered questions regarding safety issues in arming pilots. I support gun rights too but the cockpit is one of the last places you want a firearm to go off.

    That being said, Bush did sign the bill allowing the arming of pilots.

  • epador

    Lots of fuzzy thinking here.

    1) Rumors of money diverted from program to train/approve new pilots to carry. No evidence program being ended. One might expect after 8 years that the ones who want training and permission got it, and only newbies are potential trainees, so maybe the program doesn’t need as much money. Inspecting pilots, especially with the rare instances of drunk pilots getting busted that hit the media several times a year, seems a not unreasonable political response that should not be indefensible.

    2) All combat military aircraft pilots and crew carry weapons and ammo. The only accident I saw was a mechanic who grabbed his weapon incorrectly and shot a hole in the side of a C-130 on the ground. As most civilian airline pilots had a military background, they’ve trained and carried weapons on aircraft before. BFD. If there were such an issue about arming pilots, then why does the military do it [just being sarcastic – OMG maybe the CinC will outlaw that next?]?

  • epador

    As to the Administration’s efforts to make the VA collect more private insurance remuneration, and force it for disabled vets, well, that deserves its own post, not a parenthesis at the end of one.

  • Brian

    I see you’re still stuck in “blame Bush” mode

    Well, no, but I see you’re still stuck in “I can avoid the issue by claiming that you blame Bush” mode.

    It’s about Obama diverting the 2 million dollars that congress appropriated for a specific purpose by a veto-proof majority.

    No, it’s about fake outrage over Obama allegedly reprioritizing expenditures within a program that even Bush tried to kill.

  • Brian

    Further, Bush, along with aviation and airline safety experts, was against arming pilots to begin with because there were many unanswered questions

    Oh, so that’s why years later, after all the questions have been answered, they were still making it difficult for pilots.

    That being said, Bush did sign the bill allowing the arming of pilots.

    See “veto-proof majority”.

  • Mac Lorry

    Well, no, but I see you’re still stuck in “I can avoid the issue by claiming that you blame Bush” mode.

    That won’t fly. The issue is about actions taken by Obama, not Bush. You’re the one avoiding the issue, and still stuck in blame Bush mode.

    No, it’s about fake outrage over Obama allegedly reprioritizing expenditures within a program that even Bush tried to kill.

    The outrage of disarming pilots is not fake. If Bush couldn’t kill the program than how can Obama do so unless he’s overstepping his authority.

  • Brian

    The issue is about actions taken by Obama, not Bush. You’re the one avoiding the issue, and still stuck in blame Bush mode.

    No, I don’t see where you think anyone is “blaming Bush”. Blaming him for what? Where did anyone say Bush is responsible for what Obama did? You’re just making that up.

    The issue is actions taken by Obama that are a) alleged and unsubstantiated, and b) if true are consistent with what Bush tried to do. The issue is fake outrage over Obama.

    how can Obama do so

    We don’t know if he is.

    unless he’s overstepping his authority.

    You’re making more baseless assumptions. He’s not alleged to be transferring money out of the program. He’s alleged to be reprioritizing funds within the program. Find out what the bill says, and see if that’s outside of his authority.

  • Brian

    So do we know if this is true or not?

    Where’s Media MythBusters when we need them?!

  • Mac Lorry

    No, I don’t see where you think anyone is “blaming Bush”. Blaming him for what? Where did anyone say Bush is responsible for what Obama did? You’re just making that up.

    So now you’re playing stupid. You’re the one who brought up Bush in defense of Obama, as in conservatives can’t be outraged at something Obama did if Bush did the same thing. That’s “blame it on Bush” mode. The outrage from conservatives is justified when liberals who rabidly denounced Bush then do the SAME thing Bush did and then claim it’s ok because Bush did it. When Obama authorizes warrantees wiretaps are you going to claim it’s ok because Bush did it?

    He’s not alleged to be transferring money out of the program. He’s alleged to be reprioritizing funds within the program.

    Ok, but if that’s true it falsifies your assertion that “President Bush, the TSA, and Homeland Security all opposed it” as Bush could have diverted all funds for training the pilots. The fact that some pilots have been trained demonstrates that there was funding and Bush either changed his mind or couldn’t divert the funds.

  • Kem

    I see Brian will defend omoron by any means neseecary

  • brainy435

    “The issue is actions taken by Obama that are a) alleged and unsubstantiated, and b) if true are consistent with what Bush tried to do.
    Posted by Brian | March 18, 2009 11:22 AM (my emphasis)

    Seems to be a common theme so far in Obama’s term.

    Woooo! Hope and Change(TM)!!!!

  • bryanD

    The big news is that Obama has ordered the DoD to sell spent military brass only as scrap, so expect ammo shortages and around a 150% rise in price.

    As for the ban on pilots carrying guns on board: bad, if true.

    As for Kim’s addendum re: privatization of military insurance: I expect that to be a stalking horse for nationalized health care, i.e. “the military cross section of our citizenry *knows* that private health insurance is inferior to public health insurance. Let *us* heed their wisdom as we grant their preference.” Or words to that effect.

  • Brian

    So now you’re playing stupid. … That’s “blame it on Bush” mode.

    You’re the one playing stupid. You apparently don’t understand the definition of the word “blame”, or you do and you’re trying to redefine it. Try this site. Then find anywhere I attributed blame to Bush for anything.

    as in conservatives can’t be outraged at something Obama did if Bush did the same thing.

    Not at all. You can be outraged all you want. I’ll just point out that you’re being fake, disingenuous, and hypocritical.

    The outrage from conservatives is justified when liberals who rabidly denounced Bush then do the SAME thing Bush did and then claim it’s ok because Bush did it.

    So liberals rabidly denounced Bush for opposing the “pilots can carry guns” program? I’m sure you have a source for that.

    When Obama authorizes warrantees wiretaps are you going to claim it’s ok because Bush did it?

    Not at all. But I’ll certainly be here to denounce conservatives who fake outrage over it.

    Ok, but if that’s true it falsifies your assertion that “President Bush, the TSA, and Homeland Security all opposed it”

    My “assertion”, backed by reality.

    as Bush could have diverted all funds for training the pilots. The fact that some pilots have been trained demonstrates that there was funding and Bush either changed his mind or couldn’t divert the funds.

    To repeat: “the Bush administration has made it harder than necessary to participate.” Perhaps he found it politically difficult to stiffle the program, even though he’s on record as opposing it. Maybe he did divert some funds, and that’s what made it “harder than necessary”. Maybe Obama did too. Maybe Obama didn’t divert all funds, only some. You have an awful lot of “maybes” going on for coming up with some new Obama-bashing.

    The bottom line is that this was a starved and ignored program funded by Bush at just 15% of what was needed, resulting in an effectiveness of 3%. That was fine with you, but when Obama supposedly kills it, all you “small government” people dig up some outrage. As I said, faux-outrage.

  • Brian

    >consistent with what Bush tried to do
    Seems to be a common theme so far in Obama’s term.

    Glad to hear that you disagree with this guy.

  • Mac Lorry

    You’re the one playing stupid. You apparently don’t understand the definition of the word “blame”, or you do and you’re trying to redefine it. Try this site. Then find anywhere I attributed blame to Bush for anything.

    You blamed Bush for opposing arming pilots, yet under Bush pilots were armed. You haven’t explained that inconstancy yet. Even if true, it has nothing to do with Obama’s action. You are in “blame it on Bush” mode and you are in denial about being in that mode.

    Not at all. You can be outraged all you want. I’ll just point out that you’re being fake, disingenuous, and hypocritical.

    While you are looking up definitions you should look up logic and then try using it. That statement is poor even for you.

    So liberals rabidly denounced Bush for opposing the “pilots can carry guns” program? I’m sure you have a source for that.

    See, you’re playing stupid again. Liberals rabidly denounced Bush in general with little regard for specifics or even the truth, but now they want to deal in specifics. In fact, Obama has made many such blanket criticisms about the prior administration stating with his inauguration speech.

    Not at all. But I’ll certainly be here to denounce conservatives who fake outrage over it.

    You just don’t get it do you. Maybe you’re not playing stupid after all. The outrage is not over the specific action, but because those who rabidly denounced Bush then turn around and do the same thing Bush did. It’s the hypocrisy that triggers the outrage.

    To repeat: “the Bush administration has made it harder than necessary to participate.” Perhaps he found it politically difficult to stiffle the program, even though he’s on record as opposing it. Maybe he did divert some funds, and that’s what made it “harder than necessary”. Maybe Obama did too. Maybe Obama didn’t divert all funds, only some. You have an awful lot of “maybes” going on for coming up with some new Obama-bashing.

    The “maybes” are yours not mine. If Bush wanted to stop the program then he would have done so by the same means Obama used. Either that or Bush didn’t oppose the program in the end or Obama is overstepping his authority.

    The bottom line is that this was a starved and ignored program funded by Bush at just 15% of what was needed, resulting in an effectiveness of 3%. That was fine with you, but when Obama supposedly kills it, all you “small government” people dig up some outrage. As I said, faux-outrage.

    Bottom line is that under Bush the program was funded and pilots were trained. Under Obama, what funding there was has been taken away and no new pilots will be trained, and because of rectification requirements, no pilots will be armed in the future. That’s a genuine outrage.

  • brainy435

    >consistent with what Bush tried to do
    Seems to be a common theme so far in Obama’s term.

    Glad to hear that you disagree with this guy.

    Unsurprised to find you have the reasoning skills of a devepmentally challenged lemur. Because to most people out of kindergarten, pointing out that Obama is a rank hypocrite on a good number of issues is not mutually exclusive to pointing out a number of OTHER issues where he’s abandoned hypocricy and wandered into blind partisanship. Nice attempt to distract with shiny objects though…

  • Brian

    You blamed Bush for opposing arming pilots

    I didn’t “blame” him. What the hell are you even talking about? I made a statement of fact. That’s “blame”? You really have a persecution complex. See someone about it.

    yet under Bush pilots were armed. You haven’t explained that inconstancy yet.

    I did, multiple times. He opposed the program, caved in under Congressional pressure, but hobbled the program so it would be underfunded and wholly ineffective. How is that inconsistent?

    The outrage is not over the specific action, but because those who rabidly denounced Bush then turn around and do the same thing Bush did. It’s the hypocrisy that triggers the outrage.

    Hold on… so now the outrage is not because Obama supposedly ended the program, but it’s because he did the same thing Bush did (which you deny Bush did), and the outrage is now over the hypocrisy? I’d be laughing if you didn’t get me so dizzy with your changing arguments.

    Even if true

    “Even if”? I posted links to public statements and the Airline Pilots Security Alliance’s own statistics. I don’t see having a productive discussion with you when you deny reality.

  • Trent

    No brian what you meant to say is you can’t have a productive conversation with people who deny your version of reality

  • Mac Lorry

    I didn’t “blame” him. What the hell are you even talking about? I made a statement of fact. That’s “blame”? You really have a persecution complex. See someone about it.

    True or not when you use something Bush did as a foil to excuse Obama’s actions you are in “blame Bush” mode. And that’s a statement of fact.

    I did, multiple times. He opposed the program, caved in under Congressional pressure, but hobbled the program so it would be underfunded and wholly ineffective. How is that inconsistent?

    It’s inconsistent because if all Bush could do was hobble the program that’s all Obama could do. Obama being able to kill it entirely shows one of two things. Either Bush changed his mind about the program or Obama is exceeding his lawful authority.

    Hold on… so now the outrage is not because Obama supposedly ended the program, but it’s because he did the same thing Bush did (which you deny Bush did), and the outrage is now over the hypocrisy? I’d be laughing if you didn’t get me so dizzy with your changing arguments.

    The argument didn’t change, it just took a while for it to sink in through your skull. Obama promised “change” and ran his campaign more against Bush than McCain . When Obama finally comes to his senses on an issue and does the same thing Bush did after liberals rabidly criticized Bush, that’s hypocrisy and that’s outrageous.

    “Even if”? I posted links to public statements and the Airline Pilots Security Alliance’s own statistics. I don’t see having a productive discussion with you when you deny reality.

    I don’t see having a productive discussion with you when you deny logic. Your link is to a static statement that represents Bush’s policy at a specific time. Minds change and policies change. In the end, Bush either changed his mind, couldn’t kill the program, or Obama is exceeding his lawful authority. The phrase “Even if ture” allows for the dynamics of politics. It’s disappointing that I have to take time explaining simple logic to you.

  • jh renf

    I will guarantee you one damn thing!!!! There are weapons onboard AirForce One…..but this asshole takes them away from the protection of the masses…I hope you assholes who voted for this jerk are waking up!!!!