Arming Cargo Pilots, Part II
Cargo pilots might soon be able to carry firearms in the cockpit. Congress is currently working on legislation to close a gap in the Homeland Security Act that excludes cargo pilots from carrying firearms aboard their aircraft. If passed, the new wording would allow 10,000 cargo pilots to train and carry weapons in the cockpit after undergoing background checks. When it was originally drafted, the Homeland Security Act allowed all pilots to arm themselves, but it was later amended to permit only airline pilots flying passenger routes to receive the training and subsequent permission to carry firearms, much to the dismay of professional pilot organizations and unions. "There are no federal air marshals on cargo flights and we cannot allow these jets to be used for future terrorist attacks," said Rep. Don Young (R-Ala.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Duane Woerth, chairman of the Air Line Pilots Association, was delighted by the move and said the group will work with Congress to pass what it says is a "greatly needed improvement to aviation security."