News Releases

Murray Applauds Decision on Arming Pilots

May 21 2002

Pilots do not need the added distraction of being a police officer

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – After six months of analysis, the Administration has finally decided that U.S. pilots should not carry guns in the cockpits of commercial airplanes. The announcement was made today at a Senate committee hearing on aviation security.

Sen. Patty Murray released the following statement:

"Today the Department of Transportation announced its decision on arming pilots of commercial airplanes. The Department made the right decision.

Flying an airplane is an incredibly demanding task, requiring intense concentration and single-minded focus. Our pilots already have the responsibility of flying a 60-ton machine at 500 miles an hour with hundreds of passengers on board. They do not need the added distraction of being a police officer.

The only personnel who should be armed on airplanes are sky marshals. These officials have the appropriate training, preparation and background in law enforcement that equips them to use lethal force in a constrained space.

Hardening cockpit doors, installing video cameras, and keeping terrorists off airplanes in the first place are the other critical measures that will prevent future terrorist attacks.

I applaud Secretary Norman Mineta and Undersecretary John Magaw for this sound, if belated, decision.

The Senate Appropriations Committee, on which I serve, is currently working on an Emergency Supplemental bill which will provide funding for a variety of critical aviation security measures."