WASHINGTON D.C. — “We commend President George W. Bush for signing into law a measure to provide for the arming of cargo pilots against terrorism,” John Michael Snyder, Public Affairs Director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), said here today.

The measure appears as Section 609 of H.R. 2115, the Vision 100 Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act, which the President signed Friday.

Section 609 is designed to close the loophole in the law, enacted last year, which allows commercial airline passenger pilots, but not cargo pilots, to carry guns in the cockpit if they volunteer for a federal program which includes a week of specialized training.

Snyder, named Dean of gun lobbyists by national media, noted that, “our country is at war with militant, radical Islamist terrorists. Just last month, according to reports, the Homeland Security Department issued warnings to police that Al-Qaeda may be conspiring to fly cargo planes into American nuclear plants, bridges, dams or other targets. With the magnificent capture over the weekend of Saddam Hussein by our Armed Forces, it is possible the more fanatic extremists will be more determined than ever to attack American targets.”

“When push comes to shove, there’s nothing quite like a handgun for self-defense. Our pilots need to be able to protect themselves and their aircraft from the terrible terrorist threat. The President did the proper thing when he signed this measure.

“Now”, added Snyder, “we encourage both the Administration and Congress to light a fire under the Transportation Security Administration so that TSA will proceed more expeditiously than it has up to the present in implementing the armed pilots program. Our airline pilots, both passenger and cargo, need this program not only for their own safety but for the safety of airline users. Our country demands that the TSA get on the stick, quit fooling around and, literally, get with the program!

“Otherwise, why not take the program entirely out of the hands of TSA?”