Pilots want administration to speed weapons training - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Pilots want administration to speed weapons training

August 26, 2003

(Washington-AP) -- Airline pilots are accusing the federal government of dragging its feet when it comes to arming them in the cockpit. The pilots are stepping up a campaign to push the Bush administration to train more commercial pilots to carry guns.

Fewer than 200 pilots have been authorized to carry weapons since November, when Congress ordered the government to start a program for pilots who want to be armed when they fly.

The head of the Airline Pilots' Security Alliance says such a small number of armed pilots won't serve as any kind of deterrent to terrorism. Pilots are planning news conferences today at airports in Miami, Washington, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Cincinnati to urge the Transportation Security Administration to pick up the pace.

The pilots say the agency is dragging its feet because it had initially opposed the program. But a TSA spokesman denies that, saying he expects the pace of training to pick up.

posted at 9:45AM by dave.miller@walb.com