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Trump Claims Guns Made Aircraft Safer

Trump Claims Guns Made Aircraft Safer
Joe Cortez

During a White House meeting with survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, President Donald Trump made the claim that flights have become safer because some pilots are armed in the cockpit. Although the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program was instituted after the September 11 attacks, it doesn’t necessarily correlate to safer aircraft.

Are guns the direct reason America has not seen another aircraft hijacking since September 11, 2001? The Washington Post reports that President Donald Trump made that assertion during his meeting with Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors on Wednesday, February 21, 2018.

During his time with the group, Trump made the suggestion that educators should be trained to use a weapon as a measure of self-defense. He then went on to suggest that because weapons are allowed on some flights, the aviation industry is safer.

“You know a lot of people don’t understand that a lot of airline pilots now — a lot of them carry guns,” Trump claimed, according to the Washington Post. “And … I have to say that things have changed a lot. People aren’t attacking the way they would routinely attack, and maybe you have the same situation in schools.”

The President may have been referring to the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program, a voluntary initiative of the Transportation Security Administration. The TSA describes on their website: “The Federal Flight Deck Officer Program authorizes flight crew members to use firearms to defend against an act of criminal violence and air piracy while attempting to gain control of an aircraft.” Approved aviators receive one week of training in New Mexico before they are allowed to carry a cockpit weapon.

Under that definition, a TSA official speaking anonymously to the Washington Post declared that a weapon could only be used if someone attempted a hijacking. In any other situation, the flight crew could not remove the weapon from the cockpit, nor use it to resolve a situation.

Another potential scenario Trump could have been referring to is the increase of air marshals on flights. However, that program has also been under scrutiny for personnel issues. A 2015 report suggested the Air Marshal Service experienced trends of drug use, fatigue and even suicide among members.

Meanwhile, guns continue to be a problem at airports, particularly in the form of flyers attempting to bring them on their flights. The TSA reported a new record number of guns found at security checkpoints during the week ending February 11, 2018, with 104 guns. Of those, 87 were loaded, while 38 were chambered and ready to fire.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (10)


  1. GeorgieBoy4

    February 24, 2018 at 12:39 am

    So what is the point of paying attention to this story? I guess banning guns. As a retired person and lived life a little, I want all these screwed up people who think banning guns would work in America, to understand the reality. Deep state wants you to give up your guns so that you can never offer resistance against Big Brother when it moves against the ordinary man or woman just like big social media is doing right now to silence traditional American values such as free speech. So much happening now behind the scenes in America and the President and the military are taking care of it. Please flyertalk this is not the place to touch on national gun policy when the country is so divided on, not only this issue but many others. Just trust that those who fly you are ensuring your safety.

  2. nadabrainiac

    February 24, 2018 at 12:49 am

    Gee, all this time I thought it was because the door to the flight deck was locked. Now, thanks to trump’s brilliance, I know it’s because the pilot may or may not have a gun and the hijacker is afraid of getting shot.

    Another scenario is that trump is just being trump and making up mindless, baseless nonsense that anyone with an IQ over 80 would find incredulous.

  3. mvoight

    February 26, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Flight door remains locked, box cutters etc are no longer permitted, other methods………..
    So, the basic issue, what is the penalty these people have been receiving for trying to bring loaded guns through checkpoints?

  4. Global321

    February 27, 2018 at 12:03 am

    This is such a lame article. Guns in the cockpit were put forth for improved safety by the Obama Administration. So why is it so crazy Trump repeats it? If guns in the cockpit do NOT make planes safer, let’s ban them now.

  5. Azureas

    March 1, 2018 at 4:17 am

    The idea to put a gun in a cockpit is a non sens.

    Making fire in an airplane can conduct to a depressurisation and kill everybody (without mentioning the casualties on the ground…)

    This is mindless.

  6. PapaJack

    March 1, 2018 at 4:33 am

    Let’s keep this to flyertalk. The reality here is the methods of preventing weapons on a person entering the plane are a lot more stringent than anywhere else. You can get into congress easier with a weapon than on a plane these days.

  7. tlglenn

    March 1, 2018 at 10:58 am

    I think someone has been watching too much James Bond fiction when he or she starts spouting off about, “depressurisation.”

  8. alexmyboy

    March 2, 2018 at 5:10 am

    Deep state, stop watching FOX news.

  9. arcticflier

    March 3, 2018 at 3:20 am

    Why do people have to tuen everything political? The practice of armed pilots has now existed under two Presidents.

    A better take-away is that a combination of an aggressive TSA search combined with armed pilots and air marshals ALL cutdown on violent intent.

    These same practices need to used in schools but taxpayers balk at the cost.

    The most troubling part of this article was the report on Air Marshals poor health asa result on the unreasonable demands being made of them. They are victims of unfair labor practices which adversely affect the Marshals and the passengers.

  10. arcticflier

    March 3, 2018 at 3:27 am

    “I think someone has been watching too much James Bond fiction when he or she starts spouting off about, “depressurisation.”
    You mean this isn’t true? Its been my biggest motivator to keep my seatbelt on in flight since childhood ! 😉

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