Captain Michael P. Cronin, founder
and executive director of the Coalition
of Airline Pilots Associations
(CAPA), is the CCRKBA Gun Rights
Defender of the Month Award winner
for August.
Cronin, a Vietnam war combat
pilot and former prisoner of war, has
been a leader in uniting commercial
airline pilots in support of legislation
authorizing guns in the cockpit.
CCRKBA was first to call for the
arming of pilots just hours after the
Sept. 11 terrorist strike, when it was
revealed the perpetrators had been
armed only with box cutters. Since
then, Cronin has worked tirelessly
with CAPA member organizations –
including the Airline Professionals
Association Teamsters Local 1224,
the Allied Pilots Association, the
Independent Pilots Association, the
National Pilots Association, and the
Southwest Airlines Pilots Association
– to push the legislation.
“Since last September’s terrorist
attacks,” said John Michael Snyder,
CCRKBA Public Affairs director,
“pilots generally are demanding the
right to be armed in the cockpits as
a means of protecting themselves,
their flight crews, their passengers
and their airplanes. This position
underscores in general the validity
of the right to keep and bear arms
for the purpose of self-defense, for
the purpose of defending the lives
of the innocent against terrorists.
Capt. Cronin is one of the leaders
in this fight, and a strong defender
in general of the individual Second
Amendment civil right to keep and
bear arms.”
Capt. Cronin emphasized to Point
Blank that CAPA members are all
airline pilots. Better than anyone
else, they know what the situation
is or could become in the skies. They
support the individual right of lawabiding
citizens to keep and bear
“There are no risks to arming pilots
that are unique,” Cronin said. “Armed
personnel often are aboard flights
and none of them are better qualified
than trained pilots to handle a
gun aboard an aircraft. Also none of
these are as well aware of the unique
hazards that might exist in using a
gun aboard an aircraft.”
Arming pilots, he also notes, “has
broad public support. There are still
known weaknesses in airline security
that won’t be solved for some time.
Arming pilots is a measure that can
be taken fairly quickly and cheaply,
even with all the sensible precautions
that must be observed. In spite of that,
the Administration has done nothing
even though they have been given
ample money and the authority to
CAPA officers include Capt. Bob
Miller of the Independent Pilots
Association as president and Capt.
Mickey Mellerski of the Allied Pilots
Association as vice president. Directors
include Captains Rob Boyd of
the Airline Professionals Association,
Sean Sullivan of the National Pilots
Association, John Darrah of the Allied
Pilots Association, and John Weeks
of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association.
Cronin graduated from the United
States Naval Academy in 1963, and
Georgetown University Law Center
in 1994.
As a naval aviator, Cronin flew 175
combat missions in Vietnam while
attached to VA-23 aboard the U.S.S.
Midway and the U.S.S. Coral Sea.
He was a prisoner of war in Hanoi,
1967-1973. He retired from the Naval
Reserve in 1993.
His decorations include the Legion
of Merit with combat V, the Silver Star
with combat V (2), the Bronze Star
with combat V (4), the Distinguished
Flying Cross with combat V, the Air
Medal (15) with combat V, the Navy
Commendation Medal with combat
V (2), the Purple Heart (2), the Navy
Unit Citation with combat V (2), and
the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.
Cronin has served with American
Airlines (1976 – 2001), as chairman
for Legislative Affairs of the Allied
Pilots Association (1994-1998), and
as chairman of CAPA (1996-1999).