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Airline Pilots' Security Alliance

Mid April, 2002 Armed Pilot Update

April 17, 2002


The fight to arm airline pilots with firearms marches on. As this is written, we're over seven months past the atrocities of September 11th, 2001. The law is in place that allows for airline pilots to be armed if only the administration will act. We're getting a little impatient but we do have some progress to report. Here's what's up on the arming pilots front.

Pilot Groups Meet, Present Letter to President Bush

On Wednesday, April 3rd, representatives from APSA, APA, ALPA, IPA and CAPA met in Washington D.C. to coordinate strategy on the issue of arming pilots. Also present were high level staffers from the House and Senate offices of Rep. John Hostettler and Sen. Bob Smith. A thorough briefing on liability issues was presented by attorney Walter Kamiat. Dr. John Lott Jr., APSA advisor, was present as were representatives from Washington P.R. firm Craig Shirley and Associates. The meeting was extremely productive and a strategy for moving forward was put in place.

APSA, APA, ALPA, SWAPA and CAPA signed a joint letter to President Bush asking him to move quickly on the issue of arming pilots. We presented the letter to Presidential Advisor Chris Henick at the White House on April 3rd. The letter made quite a splash in the media and brought the issue back to front and center, just where it belongs (it was even mentioned by Jay Leno in his opening monologue).

Media, Media, Media!

All of the sudden, the armed pilot issue was all over the news. CNN, Fox News, Major Networks, print media (including national newspapers) and radio all interviewed pilots from APSA and APA. Recalling that the huge majority of Americans support arming pilots, now is a great time to send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper and to call in to talk radio shows and discuss arming pilots. Keeping this issue in front of the American public is crucial to our eventual success.

Who Decides?

We last left you with our push to get in to see high level officials at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The Aviation and Transportation Security Act signed into law by President Bush gives the authority to decide if pilots will be armed to the Undersecretary of Transportation, Mr. John Magaw. As Undersecretary, Mr. Magaw is the head of the TSA. Thus, TSA will decide if pilots can carry firearms onto the flight deck under existing law.

The day before our joint meeting with the other pilot groups, we received a call from Undersecretary Magaw's office at TSA. We were invited to brief Deputy Undersecretary Steve McHale and Aviation Security Specialist Tom Blank. The briefing was very well received and the questions they asked indicated to us that TSA has given much thought to this issue and that they are seriously considering it. Deputy Undersecretary McHale told us that they have collected ample data, that the threat of future attacks is very serious and that TSA needs to make a decision on the issue of arming pilots quickly. As he said, "The clock is ticking."

After hearing our briefing on arming airline pilots with firearms, Deputy Undersecretary McHale asked us to brief Mr. Tom Quinn, the director of the Federal Air Marshal program. We are in the process of scheduling that briefing as this update is being written. Homeland Security

In a meeting arranged by APSA advisor Dr. John Lott, APSA, ALPA and Dr. Lott will sit down with Gen. Bruce Lawlor at Homeland Security. Even though the decision point is at the White House and TSA, anything we can do to persuade Homeland Security will be a plus. Our briefing is complete and compelling; we have common sense and logic on our side. If we can convince our audience to look beyond emotion and pre-conceived notions, we will convince them of the necessity to arm volunteer airline pilots with firearms.

House Aviation Sub-Committee Hearings

Rep. Mica of Florida, Chairman of the House Aviation Sub-Committee, has decided to hold hearings on the issue of arming airline pilots with firearms. The tentative date is May 2nd and APSA will submit written testimony. We expect that our colleagues at ALPA will testify at the hearings.

These hearings represent a significant opportunity to put this in front of the American people once again. APSA has sponsored a petition that can be signed electronically through our web site at We will present the petition to Chairman Mica on the day of the hearings and we'd love to have many thousands of signatures for him. IF YOU HAVE NOT DONE SO ALREADY, LOG ON TO WWW.SECURE-SKIES.ORG AND SIGN THE PETITION! Chairman Mica needs our support; let's give it to him in a big way.

APSA Funding

APSA, along with our close colleagues at APA, plan large events surrounding the Aviation Sub-Committee hearings. Our printing costs will be substantial and we need your help. Please send your donation to:

APSA 8190 Beechmont Ave, # 340, Cincinnati, OH 45255-6117

Donations to APSA are NOT tax deductible, but every penny you send will go toward the fight to arm volunteer airline pilots with firearms

Call The President

The TSA will make its decision on arming pilots soon. Our petition, media exposure, briefings and letters all are intended to persuade decision makers in our government that we need to arm pilots or face another 9/11 style attack. NOTHING HELPS TO DRIVE OUR POINT HOME LIKE A PHONE CALL FROM YOU!

Call the President and tell him you support arming airline pilots with firearms. You can reach him at 202/456-1111

Then drop him an email at


If we quit, we fail. If we keep working, we'll prevail. WE HAVE ONLY JUST BEGUN TO FIGHT!