Magaw Ousted: Armed Pilots Beginning To Take Off

Armed Pilots Beginning to Take Off
— Your efforts have helped fuel a huge momentum shift in Washington!

(Thursday, July 18, 2002) — One week ago, press reports were indicating that proponents of arming pilots were facing an uphill battle in the Senate. But since then, there have been some huge developments in the fight to arm pilots.

First, your phone calls, faxes and e-mails are helping to bring new cosponsors onto Senator Bob Smith’s bill that would force the administration to arm pilots. Gun Owners of America has been targeting selected states to add new cosponsors to the Smith bill (S. 2554). Several Senators from those states have now joined onto S. 2554, bringing the new total to 17 cosponsors. (See the full list below.)

Most notably, anti-gun Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) signed onto the Smith bill eight days ago. At a press conference on July 10, Sen. Boxer said it was “the first time” that Sen. Smith and she had ever been together on the same side of an issue at a press conference.

Another huge development was announced by the Bush administration today. John Magaw has been forced out as the head of the new Transportation Security Administration (TSA). While the TSA has come under bitter criticism from many quarters, gun owners and pilot groups have criticized the agency (and Magaw in particular) for failing to implement the current law allowing pilots to carry arms in the cockpit.

“GOA has been asking President Bush to take Magaw to the political woodshed for months because of his staunch refusal to enforce the law arming pilots,” said GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt. “We hope that the change in leadership at the TSA will bring about a substantive change in policy regarding the pilots’ ability to defend their aircraft.”

Finally, several U.S. Senators and Representatives joined Sen. Smith at a well-attended news conference today in Washington, DC to push his armed pilots bill.

One significant speaker at the press conference was Ellen Saracini, the widow of a pilot who was killed when his plane crashed into Tower 2 of the World Trade Center on Flight 175. She said that even before the September 11th tragedy, her husband had advocated — and had been working toward — initiatives to allow for pilots to be armed.

Senator Smith is looking for an opportunity to attach his bill as an amendment to a must-pass bill. Each new cosponsor will give Smith added clout when he speaks on the Senate floor in favor of arming pilots.

Senate cosponsors of S. 2554, introduced by Senator Bob Smith (R-NH):

Boxer (D-CA)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burns (R-MT)
Campbell (R-CO)
Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
Enzi (R-WY)
Helms (R-NC)
Hutchinson (R-AR)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Johnson (D-SD)
Miller (D-GA)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Nickles (R-OK)
Sessions (R-AL)
Thomas (R-WY)
Thurmond (R-SC)

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