BELLEVUE, WA – Condemning as “despicable” the horrible attacks on New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon by terrorist hijackers who used commercial airliners as weapons, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms today called for the arming, and training, of airline flight crews.

“This despicable, cowardly act that has cost so many innocent lives might not have occurred, or at least been less severe, had the flight crews on those aircraft been armed and trained to defend themselves against an in-flight take-over by hijackers,” said Alan Gottlieb, CCRKBA chairman.

While there are armed “sky marshals” on some international flights, all of the airplanes commandeered in the Tuesday outrage were on domestic routes.

“The right of self-defense should not end at the boarding gate of an airport terminal,” Gottlieb stated. “Arming pilots and flight crews is not a new concept. Flight crews and the passengers they serve deserve a fighting chance so that they may fly and arrive at their destinations safely.”

“If they will not allow passengers to fly armed for their own protection,” he continued, “at least air crews should be given that option.”

Unconfirmed reports suggest that the hijackers on at least one airliner, the one that crashed into the Pentagon, may have been armed only with knives and cardboard box cutters. Gottlieb noted that such weapons are no match for a gun in the hands of a person who knows how to use it.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the victims, in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on each of the airplanes as well as the brave police and firefighters who lost their lives,” Gottlieb continued. “As a nation of laws, where individual liberty and freedom have been our cornerstone for over 200 years, we should not rush to enact more restrictions on the rights of our law-abiding citizens for the irrational acts of terrorist thugs. Instead, we need to reaffirm our traditional belief in the right of self-defense for every individual citizen, and provide flight crews with the means to accomplish that goal.”