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'Stop complying now ...
Don't give the government-regulated airlines your business'

by Vin Suprynowicz

September 30, 2001

The "next time someone tells you that the militia referred to in the Second Amendment has been 'superceded' by the National Guard, ask them who it was that prevented United Airlines Flight 93 from reaching its target," writes Boston University Professor Randy E. Barnett.

"The National Guard? The regular Army? The D.C. Police Department?" asked Barnett in his Sept. 18 article for, titled "Flight 93 Saved by the Militia: Arming an army against terrorism."

"None of these had a presence on Flight 93 because, in a free society, professional law-enforcement and military personnel cannot be everywhere. Terrorists and criminals are well aware of this -- indeed, they count on it.

"Who is everywhere? The people the Founders referred to as the 'general militia.' Cell-phone calls from the plane have now revealed that it was members of the general militia, not organized law enforcement, who successfully prevented Flight 93 from reaching its intended target at the cost of their own lives," continues Barnett, author of "The Structure of Liberty: Justice and the Rule of Law."

"The characterization of these heroes as members of the militia is not just the opinion of one law professor. It is clearly stated in Federal statutes. Perhaps you will not believe me unless I quote Section 311 of US Code Title 10, entitled, 'Militia: composition and classes' in its entirety:

" '(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

'(b) The classes of the militia are --

'(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and

'(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.' ...

"Here is the cold hard fact of the matter: Often -- whether on an airplane, subway, cruise ship, or in a high school -- only self defense by the 'unorganized militia' will be available when domestic or foreign terrorists chose their next moment of murder. ..."

# # #

I'd booked a 7 a.m. flight to Phoenix on Oct. 6 so I could hear Aaron Zelman speak at Marc Victor's Freedom Summit in Scottsdale -- my travel agent sent me a written warning to show up at the airport two hours early for a one-hour flight, so I could be diligently searched for toenail clippers.

But within hours of booking my fare, I was shamed by the following, stirring message from Mr. Zelman, executive director of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (web site

"To reach the Summit in Arizona," my friend Aaron wrote, "I would have to fly from my home in Wisconsin. This I can no longer do -- not with the latest 'heightened (and useless) airport security measures' designed to treat me like a criminal, a serf, or both.

"I will never set foot on a commercial airliner until the airlines, the airport authorities, the FAA, and all other would-be regulators of air travel respect my rights. ...

"Disarming me and you doesn't make the nation's skies safe. But -- tragically missing that point, also -- these police-statist cowards now want to make sure that millions of people are deprived even of their razor blades, Girl Scout knives -- even plastic knives from fast-food joints. ...

"Stop complying now. ... Don't give the government-regulated airlines your business. They're already in financial trouble, and they've earned it. Let them go bankrupt. Let them pay the price for conditioning us to act like cattle and lulling us into submission. ..."

I haven't yet decided whether to join Aaron's boycott and drive the six hours to to Phoenix (the Freedom Summit organizers have slated my own speech for Sunday morning -- see I speak at some location or other around the country at least once a month, and I couldn't reach a lot of those places without flying. Do I do more good by setting forth and proselytizing for freedom in my own, halting way ... or more harm by hanging my holster on the wall when I leave for the airport, going along with this current regime of traveler disarmament?

But Aaron is right. Enough simpering about "the right of private carriers to set the terms of their private contracts." There are dozens of major airlines -- which one advertises that I'm welcome to carry my gun on board, and light up a Salem while I'm at it? Isn't the free market supposed to be about competition and diversity, rather than enforced uniformity?

FAA regulations (Title 14, Chapter I, Section 108.11) allow any government agent to carry a gun on a plane, of course. As for us second-class "civilians," the "certificate holder" (airline) can authorize anyone it likes to carry firearms on its planes, providing said passenger or crew member demonstrates they have passed a gun safety course which is "acceptable to the Administrator."

But so far as I've been able to be determine, no one knows of any readily available safety course which has been so approved "by the Administrator." Thus, the FAA regulation in question is probably void for setting a requirement no one can figure out how to meet, one successful local trial attorney tells me.

The threat of bankruptcy is precisely the goad that might finally motivate some of these mincing wimps to post signs declaring that armed passengers are welcome -- please check in at the gate to top off your magazines with complimentary frangible ammo.

Instead, we now propose to put this major section of the American economy on a permanent government dole, allowing them to perpetuate the tyranny of victim disarmament while their passengers die by the hundreds, taking with them thousands of innocent victims on the ground.

Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Subscribe to his monthly newsletter by sending $72 to Privacy Alert, 561 Keystone Ave., Suite 684, Reno, NV 89503 -- or dialing 775-348-8591.  Vin Suprynowicz,

This is a FREE distribution of Vin Suprynowicz' syndicated column 'The Libertarian.' Permission to forward is granted, as long as you wait until the embargo date listed at the top of each column, and keep ALL headers and footers intact. To subscribe, just send an email to with subscribe in the subject line and your email address and subscribe in the body of the text. We never rent or sell our subscription list to anyone - ever! To unsubscribe, just send an email to with unsubscribe in the message line and I'll remove you. Please include your email address and unsubscribe in the body of the text.

"They that would give up essential liberty for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

-- Benjamin Franklin 1759

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