Should commercial airline pilots be armed? (HU)

The debate on whether pilots of commercial airlines were reignited after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in the United States.  There are several legislations enacted since then to secure aviation industry from incidences of hijacking. Most notably the enactment of Aviation and Transport Security Act, which made screening of passengers a federal duty and provide for arming of commercial airline pilots with the approval of the Under Secretary for transport and security. However, whether the commercial airlines pilots should be armed is still open given that H.R 4635 required that Transport and Security Administration (TSA) to put in place a program to arm commercial airline pilots in 90 days (Ball, 2005). This is against the background of 1961 regulations by the then Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) which exempted airplane staffs and crew from carrying weapons aboard aircraft. However this requirement was changed in 1975 by FAA and allowed the crew to carry weapons onboard on condition that they have satisfactory completed a course on use of weapon, but on 21st July 2001, FAA allowed only law enforcement officers to carry weapons. Currently, crew members can carry weapons onboard with the approval of the Under Secretary of Transport and Security Administration, the air carrier company and the crew has received proper training on handling weapon (United States, 2002).

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