VPC Denounces Passage
of "Arming Pilots Against Terrorism Act"
Urges Senate Not
To Make the Same Mistake
Violence Policy Center (VPC) strongly denounced yesterday's passage of
the "Arming Pilots Against Terrorism Act" (H.R. 4635).
"The House of Representatives
has collectively misjudged the effectiveness of guns in the cockpits of
our nation's commercial planes," Kristen Rand, VPC legislative director
stated today. "We strongly urge the Senate not to make the same mistake."
Facts cited by the
VPC in opposition to arming pilots look at the on-the-ground experience
of law enforcement personnel:
- One study found
that 21 percent of police officers killed with a handgun were shot with
their own service weapon.
- Trained law enforcement
officers have only an 18 to 22 percent hit ratio in armed confrontations.
The cramped quarters of an airliner do not lend themselves to success.
are not infallible. In fact, 84 percent of all fatal commercial air crashes
are the result of pilot error. In a nation where states prohibit the use
of cell phones while driving, we are relying on pilots of passenger planes,
where hundreds of lives are at stake, to be both policeman and pilot,"
"There are many necessary
and constructive steps that can be taken to protect pilots and passengers
short of arming pilots. If firearms are absolutely necessary, they should
be carried by trained air marshals whose only responsibility is protecting
the safety of crew members and passengers," Rand concluded.
The VPC's comments
submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration on the use of firearms
on commercial air flights are available
The Violence Policy Center is a
national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence
in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals.
The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research
on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related
death and injury.