BELLEVUE, WA. – The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) today applauded Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) for his “Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001,” noting that it directly responds to CCRKBA’s demand that commercial airline pilots be allowed to carry firearms for their defense and the safety of their passengers.

CCRKBA called for the arming of pilots within hours of the devastating terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 11. Congressman Paul, who represents Texas’ 14th Congressional District, responded by introducing H.R. 2896 three days later.

H.R. 2896 would prevent the federal government from prohibiting any pilot, co-pilot or navigator of an aircraft, or any law enforcement personnel specifically detailed for the protection of that aircraft, from carrying a firearm.

“Rep. Paul has once again demonstrated not only his firm commitment to public safety, but also his strong belief in the right of self-defense,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “While others appear content to debate airline security from the safety of their offices or television studios, Ron Paul has put the focus of this issue where it ought to be: In the skies where lives are at stake and there is no time to pontificate.”

Gottlieb confirmed that in the past week, CCRKBA has been contacted by many people, including airline pilots, who believe pilots should be armed. Hijackers apparently commandeered the four jets with small knives and box cutters.

“The long-standing philosophy of compliance and negotiating with skyjackers became obsolete Sept. 11,” Gottlieb stated. “In the rush to convince Americans that steps are being taken to assure their safety, most measures have done little more than clamp down on their ability to travel. Ron Paul’s legislation is a refreshing step in the right direction.”

When Gottlieb called for armed pilots, he noted, “The right of self-defense should not end at the boarding gate of an airport terminal. 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 stated, “at least air crews should be given that option.”