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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gentlemen-

I believe that Federal LE personnel are allowed to carry on aircraft, on or off duty, but state and local are strictly limited. I feel that I can competently protect the passengers. Anybody else feel the same way? Should we (state and local) be trusted enough to do so?
 

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Until recently the ability to carry was at the discretion of the aircraft's captain. Easy enough as LE to get on a aircraft with firearms, a bit harder to keep them.

No idea what is happening now.
 

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I would think training would be an issue. I don't think I would want to discharge a firearm in a pressurized aluminum can traveling 500 mph at 30,000 feet unless I had the proper training (knowing what sections of the aircraft would withstand a hit, etc.) and the proper sort of load. What that load is, I don't know. Magsafe or Glaser perhaps?
 

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While I haven't shot up a bunch of airplanes to verify this, I suspect that you would have to get really,really unlucky to shoot something on an airplane (except for the pilots) with a handgun round or two and wind up crashing the plane. A .45 inch hole is not enough to quickly decompress the cabin.

I'd be much more worried about getting shot by another "armed" citizen out to save the free world.

I have issues with random armed folks on my flights. I have no problems with a squad of Delta, Air Marshals, etc on board, or even training up some of the aircrews.
 

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Until a few years ago, any state or local LE official could carry on-board by presenting a signed document, on letterhead, from his CEO stating he was traveling on official business which required him to fly armed.

The rules changed a few years ago. For a state or local LE officer to carry on board, he/she must first complete a specific FAA training program. Don't ask me when or where is is taught.

In general, I am not in favor of letting any badge toter on a plane. To start with, the minute you leave your state or city, you most likely loose your authority. This includes any civil protection afforded you by your agency.

Rob
 

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The FAA class was, I believe, 4 hours in length. You might be able to find out where and when these classes take place from the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors at http://www.IALEFI.com. IALEFI used to do these classes as part of their regional and/or annual training conferences, though I don't see it listed in the curriculum for this year's ATC in Reno, NV (9/30-10/5).
 

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Actually, a .45 could conceivably lead to explosive decompression. A particularly mis-placed shot, such as through a window, could do it. Or, a jagged .45 hole (or smaller) could lead to greater fuselage/skin failure at altitude. Then, you get to things like "what if the bullet hits a compressor blade/hydraulic line/critical circuit?" Granted, not especially likely, but possible. We've all seen the "World's Wildest" type videos of aged aircraft with significant pieces missing, right?

Going armed on board an aircraft presents a completely new set of tactical rules regarding equipment (specifically ammo) and obviously requires unfailing shot placement. It's a training and equipment issue. I'm sure everyone is aware that the Airline Pilot's Assn. is requesting that Congress allow pilots to go armed, but only with extensive training such as what the Air Marshals received. They're actually requesting training from the FBI! This is because of the unique problems tied to firing shots on board a pressurized aircraft at 30 or 40,000 feet.

Don't get me wrong, I have the highest respect for LEOs in this country. However, I'm sure that all the officers who post to this forum know at least one fellow LEO that they wouldn't necessarily trust to even have as backup, much less be armed on board a hijacked aircraft. I would rather there be trained, armed pilots who can defend the flight deck, and an Air Marshal type service that is specifically created and trained for violent encounters on board aircraft. And, as an added benefit, I bet you see "air rage" take a serious decline!

As for me, I think I'll take to the road the next time I take a trip, so I can just carry my own gun and defend myself and mine! :grin:

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Credo quia absurdum est.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Brandon on 2001-09-27 12:58 ]</font>
 

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On 2001-09-27 10:42, Brandon wrote:

Don't get me wrong, I have the highest respect for LEOs in this country. However, I'm sure that all the officers who post to this forum know at least one fellow LEO that they wouldn't necessarily trust to even have as backup, much less be armed on board a hijacked aircraft. I would rather there be trained, armed pilots who can defend the flight deck...
Brandon, I was in agreement with you until you got to this paragraph. I personally DO NOT know any officers that I would not trust completely and without hesitation.

The way your logic reads, it makes me believe that I should put more faith in a pilot who has had extensive training in aviation and aeronatics, rather than a LEO who has had firearms training, and is used to dealing with irrational, confrontational and potentially deadly individuals? That's a bit of an insult to most LEO's.

I trust a pilot to fly the aircraft with which he is qualified, to get me safely to and from. I wouldn't trust a pilot to save me in a hijacking/hostage situation - nor would I expect them to. They became PILOTS for a reason, just as cops became cops.
 

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I know I probably should keep quiet, but just had to throw my .02 cents in. I retired after 28 years in LE, and now am a reserve officer for the local Sheriffs Dept. I have been and still am a firearms instructor for over 25 years. I've taught officers from police depts. and sheriffs depts. from many areas of the state.
There are MANY officers that I've seen that I would not want with me in an armed encounter, on the ground or in the air!
I'm not familiar with the pilots training, so I won't comment.
 

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nr123, what makes you think that pilots will be any safer with firearms? My instincts still tell me to trust a cop with a gun, rather than a pilot with a gun.

That said, I am not against pilots being armed - I think they should be. But let's keep it in perspective - they are still pilots, first and foremost.
 

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Shane:
Without getting into too much detail, I have a little law enforcement experience. I live in a large city that has a police department whose selection criteria are for the most part politically based rather than qualification based. One of my closest friends is a retired captain from said department, and his advice to me upon mentioning a career with this department was a flat-out NO, don't do it, go somewhere else. I know guys here I would trust my life to in a heartbeat, and I know people I wouldn't trust with 50 cents to buy me a Coke. I meant absolutely, unequivocally NO insult whatsoever to any law enforcement officer. I meant only to address that there are those wearing a badge who shouldn't be. I've personally locked one up myself. That's no reflection on the LEO community; rather, the departments that hire anybody with a pulse. The department here will hire CRIMINALS and that is no exaggeration. I don't know exactly how tight the controls are in Canada, but they can be pretty damn loose here sometimes. Rampart division in California is a perfect example. Want one of those guys to start shooting in an airplane? I don't.

I respond so strongly because I realize you are an LEO. Please don't misunderstand my intent. Aircraft are just not places that you can realistically have lots of people with guns, especially when you can't vouch for their experience, training, or frame of mind. It saddens me to say that too many county and municipal governments in this country do not take applicant screening seriously enough. But it is a fact.

I would never suggest that more faith should be put in a pilot's ability to handle a violent offender, rather than a typical police officer. However, I would trust that pilot to better understand the effects of a bullet punching holes in his airplane, rather than the guy firing the shots when all he's had is typical state or local-level academy firearms training. I can tell you for a fact that the local PD does not discuss any type of ROE for an aircraft incident. Up until a couple of weeks ago, why would they? They're not federal.

I hate to have to say it, but there's people working behind badges in this country that just shouldn't be. Period. And I don't think it's practical to open up commercial flights to every local LEO just because he's an LEO. There's no way to guarantee that he's not one of those guys that shouldn't be. On the other hand, federal screening criteria are far more stringent, so that's a different matter. I hope you understand my point of view, but if not, that's OK too. Just don't take it as an insult that it wasn't meant to be.
 

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On 2001-09-27 13:17, Brandon wrote:
I hate to have to say it, but there's people working behind badges in this country that just shouldn't be. Period.
There are also some pilots who shouldn't be in cockpits either. From personal experience I know a few who have lost their jobs due to drug/alcohol dependance. I also know that the situation has improved greatly, but there are still some pilots who are flying on a minimal amount of sleep due to scheduling. Yes, logs are kept blah, blah, blah. Believe me - there are pilots flying right now who should be in bed sleeping. Or they are so wired on caffeine that they may not be making sound decisions. Either way, I will still trust a cop with a gun to do the right thing, before I will trust a pilot with a gun to do the right thing.

I'm not trying to be argumentative, and your last post makes a lot sense. No insult implied or taken. I think that any profession has its share of "sub-standard" employees, but my money is still on the cops to do the right thing in a time of crisis, not necessarily a pilot.
 

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Just to jump in here, I have know a lot of officers I wouldn't want to back me up with a sharp stick, much less a gun on a plane or otherwise.

I'm also not in favor of pilots having guns.

I think everyone should be able to carry!!! LOL An armed society is a polite society.

Rob
 

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Hi folks: I enjoy the opinions of you all. I'm a corporate pilot flying jets. I worked for American Airlines at Dulles for 12 years and an avid shooter. For the years I worked at the ticket counter and at the gates I couldn't understand why police officers were not authorized to carry a weapon on board but a Dept of Education or similar employee was qualified. As for whether pilots should....they have for years. Throughout the 1960's & 1970's pilots carried weapons with them and it wasn't an issue was it? It wasn't until 1988 I believe that the FAA began requiring flight crew members to clear security. This was in response to a fired airline airport employee in Southern California who used his airline I.D. to pass though security and board a flight and kill both pilots once airborne. I can't recall of an American airline pilot ever, in this wonderful country of ours, commandeering his own flight or harming a crewmember. Nor have there been any accidental discharges. My father saw one captain place his revolver behind his seat on a DC-3 in the late 60's. As you all have made it clear, there are LEO's that shouldn't be handling firearms and there are pilots too. Many of these cockpits are as cramped as compact cars. There's literally no room to maneuver. As much as I train in hanguns, I believe the idea of me shooting with my weak hand in the cockpit is more dangerous than my aeronautical skill & understanding. I'll immediately put on my O2 mask and dump the cabin. Wait 3-4 minutes and then begin an emergency descent at .76 mach. I'll be on the ground in 8 minutes. Hopefully the 3 minutes of no O2 will kill the hijacker. The idea that crew members are prohibited by the FAA to carry a knife, blackjack, or whatever is absurd. The FAA rules overnight with no studies being done whatsoever. Simply a reactive enforcement agency. Oh, and no accountability. My point is that crews have carried weapons for years. Never has been an issue because there was no reason for one. Once the FAA bans all weapons from crews it then becomes one. Typical. Keep the faith....Keith
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Let's see now, what prompted this discussion? It was four or five terrorists (per plane) with BOXCUTTERS slitting the throats of helpless Flight Attendants, Pilots and/or passengers! And not a soul, not even the most slovenly, poorly trained, political hack of a police officer, Federal, state or Local with a firearm to stop them. And no armed aircrew member either. Twenty boxcutters, untold horror and NOBODY trusted with a firearm, resulted in 7,000 plus fatalities. Yep, I see your point.

Oh, and how many terrorists, according to the FBI, are still out there?

But help is on the way! National Guardsmen, with three days of FAA training, armed with loaded M-16s, in the airports. But a cop or an aircrew member with a firearm, no way!! They can't be trusted. Too risky.

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Sic Semper Tyrannus

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Witherspoon on 2001-09-28 22:55 ]</font>
 

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You got to think in their mind set -- Non Federal Law Enforcement can't be trusted with law enforecment intelligence information even if your jurisdiction might be threatened nor can we be trusted with any weapons other than in or jusisdiction!!

I was a LE bomb tech and assisted Federal LE on a couple of things. They stood back while I did the hands on work to collect the evidence for court on some explosive devices. They had orders out of Washington DC they could do no hands on at all. That should tell you a lot. Now I see that they call Military EOD units on lot on things. You'll get it blown in place from these men, sans evidence. Just a mind set training thing -- Mil vs LE. Ask an EOD guy about a place called Mine Lake.

Local, County, and State guys are expendable - Feds are not. We are not all equal no matter what hyperbol they preach.

Not all the feds are like this, there are a few that don't agree with the Rules from DC but they can't say too much if they want to continue in their career. Some of the best supporters of Local LE are the older agents that are retiring now, hate to see them go.

Although the Feds are good at getting in front of the TV cameras and News Photographers all the time though. Hope I didn't hurt anyones feelings!!!!!!

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: wmoore on 2002-01-07 01:15 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: wmoore on 2002-01-07 01:22 ]</font>
 

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Guns and aircraft

Does anyone remember the episode of "All In The Family" when Archie Bunkers solution to aircraft highjacking was "arm all the passengers". Ofcourse, the purpose of that program was to make fun of conservative, pro-gun, christian, white european males like all liberal programing pretty much does. That being said, maybe Archie was right. Pardon my humerous approach to an otherwise serious discussion.
 

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I know this string is old but I wanted to try and rekindle it and add a couple cents. I think there is a possibility of a few new options for this coming. I recently heard of the Law Enforcement Safety Act, I think that is what it was called that all full time licensed LE can now carry nation wide with normal restrictions. This was to open doors for how much of a LE force we had on the street at one time and this was for all LE to be armed to deal with bad guys on or off duty. I have family in Federal LE branches and the new rumor on the block is that the FFA are almost done with a curriculum for a class for licensed LE to become qualified to carry on aircraft. For my opinion I do not think any person LE or Pilot should have the right to carry on a flight without good hard training and that should include a very comprehensive qualification that must be passed with a high percentage because of the fact that there are too many lives at stake in the air and one ground. I think that if Air Marshal’s have to go through very hard training then so should anyone else that is qualified to carry aboard an aircraft. I am in LE and I think that I would want to carry on an aircraft and feel confident that I can defend the bird but I would still want to attend the course and pass the test just like the Air Marshals. I know LE in the Police and Sheriffs departments that I would not feel comfortable with in a gun fight or a plane or at a dinner table if thay possessed a handgun. There should be a restriction on ammo and caliber of weapons that were allowed to be carried and info on the plane and the internal and external components that do not need a bullet in them. But if you are not trained to shoot a weapon on an aircraft then you do not need to have a weapon on the plane either. As far as pilots having weapons I am not against it but they need to be trained very well and all planes should have doors for the cockpit that do not open at all during the flights and bullets or knives or lock picks can’t get through and that would solve most of it. Just IMHO. :-?
 
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