Keep and Bear Arms
Home Members Login/Join About Us News/Editorials Archives Take Action Your Voice Web Services Free Email
You are 1 of 713 active visitors Tuesday, October 03, 2023
Main Email List:

State Email Lists:
Click Here
Join/Renew Online
Join/Renew by Mail
Make a Donation
Magazine Subscriptions
KABA Memorial Fund
Advertise Here
Use KABA Free Email




Keep and Bear Arms - Vote In Our Polls
Do you oppose Biden's anti-gun executive orders?

Current results
Earlier poll results
4648 people voted



» U.S. Gun Laws
» AmeriPAC
» NoInternetTax
» Gun Show On The Net
» 2nd Amendment Show
» SEMPER FIrearms
» Colt Collectors Assoc.
» Personal Defense Solutions



Keep and Bear Arms


Archived Information

Top | Last 30 Days | Search | Add to Archives | Newsletter | Featured Item

Closing the Cockpit Loophole

by Captain Duane Shaw

September 19, 2001

Could four handguns have saved thousands of lives?

The short answer is yes. Airplanes are controlled by pilots. Without pilots, airplanes are 150 ton 500mph guided petroleum missiles. We have just seen the potential of aircrafts used as assault weapons. 

Let me introduce myself. I am an airline Captain for the worlds second largest airline. I have been flying airplanes professionally for twenty one years. I have dealt with engine failures, aircraft system failures, aircraft navigation equipment failures, Air Traffic Control failures and airline management failures. Through it all, nothing has scared me more in aviation than the people I carry in the back of the plane. Why? Because I have had to deal with drug crazed and drunk passengers, air ragers, and people who are just scared. I have learned that all these people are unpredictable and dangerous. (just the opposite of law abiding gun owners). And now we have a new type of passenger. A diabolical warrior filled with more hate than ten Tim McVeighs.

What about Air Marshals? Not the best idea. An Air Marshal in the back of the aircraft can be identified, distracted and overwhelmed, even if armed. The pilots however have a cockpit door to get through. And a kevlar cockpit door would be a formidable obstacle for anyone to breech. Also, there are over eight thousand flight segments per day in the U.S. The cost of putting an Air Marshall on each flight would be prohibitive. Especially when you have two highly qualified professionals in the nerve center (cockpit) of the airplane who can do the job.

Is it dangerous for pilots to carry guns? No. Pilots are some of the most mentally, physically and psychologically tested people on earth. Additionally we are drug and alcohol tested all the time. We are highly educated, have a unique understanding of how mechanical things work, and have eye/hand coordination second to none. We are also required to undergo rigorous recurrent training and checkrides every nine months. (A great place for firearms requal.) There is no safer group of individuals to issue defensive firearms to. 

What about shooting in a pressurized cabin? Will the airplane blow up? No. Do not be fooled by movies showing an explosive decompression in the cabin after a gun is fired. The pressurized fuselage of an aircraft already has many holes in it for regulating pressurization and air flow. The aluminum alloy skin of the aircraft is a quarter inch thick and capable of taking direct hits from most handguns without fracture. Even the cabin windows are incredibly thick and strong and capable of taking hits without failure, especially if using a frangible bullet. Even if they did penetrate the fuselage, several additional small holes would not make any difference in the ability to maintain pressure. 

But let's not lose the forest for the trees here. Just remember the scenario that would require gunfire in an aircraft. It would be the last line of defense before turning the aircraft over to a terrorist for him to complete his mission - to kill hundreds or thousands of you. 

Fights between pilots in the cockpit? Does not happen. In twenty one years of professional flying with five different airlines, I have never been involved in an altercation with another pilot. I have never even heard of this happening. How many police get into arguments, draw their weapons and kill each other while on duty?

Still do not want guns on airplanes eh? In any given week of flying I will carry one to five armed individuals on my aircraft. They are IRS agents, Postal Inspectors, DEA agents, FBI agents, Secret Service agents, state and local law enforcement, and virtually anyone else authorized by the government to carry a weapon. There is no restriction on the size or type of gun they carry.

All I am asking is to not be defenseless. Give me a fighting chance to save my passengers, crew, aircraft and people on the ground from a psycho or terrorist. Lets close this cockpit loophole.

I am hearing over and over on TV and the radio from elected officials how we are going to have to give up freedom and liberties for additional security provided by our government. This is not acceptable. I have a right to defend my family from harm at home. Why can't I have the same right in my aircraft at work? If we adopt a bunker mentality and start voluntarily giving up freedom, then we have already lost. Let me defend my aircraft and cockpit with the best tools available. 

So, would four handguns have saved thousands of people from knife wielding terrorists? Please respond to this letter, and if you agree, please start making demands on your elected officials.

Related Reading

Airplanes & Guns: Myths and Reality
from Angel Shamaya

H.R. 2896 -- Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001
Support this bill. Contact your Representatives.

H.R. 2896 Will Arm Pilots
GOA Urges Congress to Pass Bill Arming Pilots
Rep. Paul says his bill will save lives if enacted

Free Gun Training for Commercial Pilots
--Front Sight Steps Up to the Plate

Urgent - Eliminate terror on commercial aircraft:
"Airline Safety and Anti-terrorism Act of 2001"

from Gary S. Marbut/MSSA/TOS, President, Montana Shooting Sports Association

U.S. Code Regarding Carrying of Weapons on Planes

An Examination of Airport Security
from Michael Z. Williamson

The F.A.A. "Increased Security Measures" Are Insultingly Fraudulent
Press Release from the F.A.A.
And a Response, Plus Action Steps

The Airplane and Air Flight Laws of Physics
from Angel Shamaya


Printer Version

There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible to live without breaking laws. AYN RAND

COPYRIGHT POLICY: The posting of copyrighted articles and other content, in whole or in part, is not allowed here. We have made an effort to educate our users about this policy and we are extremely serious about this. Users who are caught violating this rule will be warned and/or banned.
If you are the owner of content that you believe has been posted on this site without your permission, please contact our webmaster by following this link. Please include with your message: (1) the particulars of the infringement, including a description of the content, (2) a link to that content here and (3) information concerning where the content in question was originally posted/published. We will address your complaint as quickly as possible. Thank you.

NOTICE:  The information contained in this site is not to be considered as legal advice. In no way are Keep And Bear Arms .com or any of its agents responsible for the actions of our members or site visitors. Also, because this web site is a Free Speech Zone, opinions, ideas, beliefs, suggestions, practices and concepts throughout this site may or may not represent those of Keep And Bear Arms .com. All rights reserved. Articles that are original to this site may be redistributed provided they are left intact and a link to is given. Click here for Contact Information for representatives of is the leading provider of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and digital certificate solutions used by enterprises, Web sites, and consumers to conduct secure communications and transactions over the Internet and private networks., Inc. © 1999-2023, All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy