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Editorial: Pilots don’t need guns on flights

A new airline safety proposal is set to be announced today, and it will most likely not allow pilots to have guns on-flight. It is hoped that President George W. Bush will not be swayed by the Air Line Pilots Association, which declared that it wants pilots to be armed with guns.

Pilots should be concerned only with flying the plane safely, not trying to police it at the same time.

With several other measures already being discussed or put into place, airport security has strengthened a great deal since the Sept. 11 attacks. Some measures thought to be proposed today are more secure doors between the cockpit and the cabin and more armed marshals on each plane. These are good ideas and should be implemented quickly. Several flights have air marshals already.

However, pilots remain concerned that a group of terrorists could split up and still attack the pilot or take control of the plane. They argue that having real guns would stop such attempts.

They argue that guns with frangible bullets (ones that would scatter on impact) would not cause an explosion in the plane when fired in the decompressed plane. However, others are concerned that the plane might be in jeopardy if the pilot isn?t concentrating on the flight itself.

Perhaps, giving pilots stun guns as a small measure of defense would be a more acceptable way of arming them. This way, if someone did try to take over the plane, the pilot would have something to his or her advantage, which could also buy time for some passengers to help.

Something must be done to ensure safety on planes, but arming pilots isn?t the answer. The solution lies in boarding security measures and plainclothes air marshals, trained and concentrating only on watching for signs of trouble in the skies. It is hoped that President Bush will agree.