Can Pilots Carry Guns?

One of my favorite things to do in my spare time is to go target shooting. Just to be clear, I am not crazy and I do not go out and shoot people. I have always thought that guns are a great way to protect ourselves because you are never going to keep the bad guys from doing bad guy things. This got me thinking, why don’t pilots carry guns with them to protect themselves from the bad guys?  As it turns out, they can! After many terrorist attacks involving airplanes, Arming Pilots Against Terrorism Act signed into law in November 2002. According to tsa.gov this resulted in the creation of the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program. This will allow pilots to defend themselves and others against criminal acts of violence, air piracy, and/or to use force against individuals that are trying to gain control of the flight deck. Unfortunately not everyone is able to take part in the program. A few things that determine eligibility are that you must be a U.S. citizen, have and maintain a current FAA airman’s certificate, and have and maintain a current class one or class two medical certificate.  Training began in 2003 and the first armed pilots boarded commercial aircraft in April of 2003. This course is held in Artesia, New Mexico at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. If you decide to take the course, over the course of 6 days, you will have completed after 56 hours of intense training that covers topics like defense tactics, the psychology of survival, and program standard operating procedures. Once completing the program, you must pass a bi-annual qualifying test with your firearm. After you get certified, this does NOT mean that you can strut around the airport with your new fancy gun all wide open! Unless you are on the flight deck, the gun MUST be in a locked case. I do not know what happens when you do not follow that rule, but I can assure you that I would not want to find out if I were you. The best part of the program is that it is all FREE! I hope to be involved in this program once I complete all of my training and have a big fancy flying career! I would like to thank globalair.com again for helping me further my training by giving me a scholarship! P.S. The tiny town in the picture is my hometown (:

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