FAA To Rescind Federal ‘Crew Carry’ Rule

September 20, 2001

Pressed to reveal just what kind of firearms program was indeed approved by the Administrator (Feds: Airline Employees May Pack Heat, 09-18-01, ANN), a source close to the regulators has said that the FAA plans to make it clear that there is no course of training in the use of firearms acceptable to the Administrator, as required by 14 USC 108.11.
That fact is to become policy on November 14, we're told by a reliable source. No one, as far as we've been able to find out, ever has been so authorized; and no one, apparently, ever will be.
Just how the FAA would rescind part of the United States Code was not explained; the FAA probably doesn't really have to — all it has to do is ignore the implied mandate in the law.
The Conservative News Source tends to confirm what we have, in a Jeff Johnson piece, that says, A new Federal Aviation Regulation scheduled to take effect in November of this year would take away the right of pilots, co-pilots, and navigators to carry firearms and other weapons for self-defense. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokesman Paul Takemoto acknowledged Thursday that flight crews have been authorized to carry firearms for the past 20 years. That will change on November 14, he said. The new rule will not include authorization (to carry firearms) and crew members will no longer be allowed to carry arms.

Sec. 108.11 Carriage of weapons. [Note: This law has been in effect for decades —ed.]
(a) No certificate holder required to conduct screening under a security program may permit any person to have, nor may any person have, on or about his or her person or property, a deadly or dangerous weapon, either concealed or unconcealed, accessible to him or her while aboard an airplane for which screening is required unless:
(1) The person having the weapon is —
(i) An official or employee of the United States, or a State or political subdivision of a State, or of a municipality who is authorized by his or her agency to have the weapon; or
(ii) Authorized to have the weapon by the certificate holder and the Administrator and has successfully completed a course of training in the use of firearms acceptable to the Administrator.
… (5) The certificate holder —
(b) No person may, while on board an airplane operated by a certificate holder for which screening is not conducted, carry on or about that person a deadly or dangerous weapon, either concealed or unconcealed. This paragraph does not apply to —
(1) Officials or employees of a municipality or a State, or of the United States, who are authorized to carry arms; or
(2) Crewmembers and other persons authorized by the certificate holder to carry arms.

New legislation, introduced last Friday by Rep. Ron Paul, M.D. (R-TX), HR 2896 would provide that, no department or agency of the Federal Government shall prohibit any pilot, copilot, or navigator of an aircraft, or any law enforcement personnel specifically detailed for the protection of that aircraft, from carrying a firearm. It’s certainly worth a look. After all, if a flight crew can handle nearly a million pounds of potential 'weapon of mass destruction,' like a full-up 747, it should be able to operate something as tiny and as simple as a gun. Who’s the enemy here?
Dr. Ignatius Piazza, Founder and Director of Front Sight Firearms Training Institute in Las Vegas (NV) believes that the first airline to arm pilots and co-pilots with handguns to defend their cockpits, will immediately gain the market share of domestic and international flights. His Front Sight Firearms Training Institute has offered to train commercial pilots and co-pilots FREE OF CHARGE from every commercial airline that allows the pilot and co-pilot to carry a gun on board to defend the cockpit.
In an exclusive ANN interview, he told us, "As soon as one of the airlines steps up and says they will rotate their pilots through Front Sight, we will provide them with a very specialized and intensive course, that will provide them with better firearms skills than any passenger, or even any Air Marshal that may be on their plane." How could he be so sure, we wondered. "We have seen the level of their training — it’s good — but ours is better, frankly. And we could provide it to them immediately," thus removing the argument so many bureaucrats (very few of whom would know where to look for firearms training) are using against ever doing anything proactive.
"This would be a last line of defense, remember," Dr. Piazza [he’s a chiropractor, in case you just had to know — ed.] said. "By the time a pilot had to pull a gun, the disturbance would already have escalated, the cockpit door would have been breached — so what, if there’s an extra hole in the cockpit roof?" The 'big-picture' approach was convincing to us.
Piazza stated in a release, "The first commercial airline to make the statement that they will arm their pilots and co-pilots with a handgun will have the immediate and overwhelming support of 80 million gun owning Americans, the pilots, and the public. All a commercial airline needs to do is call me and we can start training their pilots tomorrow — free of charge."
Says Piazza, "The first commercial airline to do the right thing and take the logical step to protect their passengers, flight crews, and aircrafts will see their public stock value soar, their flights fill to capacity, and gain the endless admiration of flight passengers around the world. I personally hope American or United make the first move as it would demonstrate a will to turn the tables on terrorists and take back control of the skies."
Aaron Benedetti, a United Airlines co-pilot and Platinum member of Front Sight’s Firearms Training Resort in Las Vegas agrees. "The fear of the American people is real. Air travel is down, way down, and may never recover if we continue disarming passengers and pilots," says Benedetti. "Airlines are laying off people by the thousands. Most people do not know that Federal Aviation Regulation 108.11 currently allows airlines to arm their personnel with handguns. I hope United is the first to do so. United could once again claim they fly the friendly skies and overnight, corner the market on armed flights. I fully support arming pilots and co-pilots and I have experienced Front Sight’s training first hand. It is the best in the world."
Mark Donovan, a Southwest Captain and Bronze member of Front Sight’s Firearms Institute hopes that Southwest is the first to lead the way. Donovan states, "Southwest clearly dominates their market at this time and is rated #1 in customer service, but an upstart airline or one of our competitors could steal that away in a heartbeat with a single press release and rotation of their pilots through Front Sight’s training courses. FAR 108.11 allows Southwest to authorize its pilots to carry a handgun on board to protect their cockpits. All it takes is the airline to make the decision."
Lieutenant Bob Redmond, SWAT Commander of Nye County (NV) Sheriff’s Department concurs that Front Sight’s training is exactly what the commercial airliners need and that they should immediately begin sending their pilots to Front Sight. Redmond, who sends his SWAT officers to Front Sight for firearms and tactical training states, "Front Sight’s training exceeds levels offered by most if not all law enforcement agencies throughout the country. Front Sight’s training is so good that I want every officer we have in the department to attend every course Front Sight offers. If airlines sent their pilots to Front Sight, it would be like having SWAT officers in the sky."
Paul Nelson, an American Airlines Co-pilot and reserve police officer for the city of Pasadena (CA) believes that in order to restore the confidence of the American public, strong and necessary steps must be immediately taken to empower pilots as the last line of defense of passengers and aircraft.
Nelson emphatically states, "Front Sight and FAR 108.11 provide American Airlines with an easily initiated and meaningful step to regain passenger confidence in our airline. If we do not take this step, I fear that the public will never return to the skies as they once did."
Nelson continues, "American Airlines has a distinct opportunity to turn this tragedy into triumph and make our domestic skies the safest in the world. As soon as the executives at American give the word, I am going to Front Sight!
God bless them."