The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) this morning congratulated gun owners who turned out in record numbers across the country for “providing the critical votes necessary to strengthen the pro-gun majority on Capitol Hill, and keep a pro-gun President in the White House.”

However, said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb, “The real work begins now. This is the first real opportunity that gun owners have had in recent memory to go on the offensive. We need to immediately begin pushing for an expansion of the armed pilots program, and perhaps equally important to homeland security, we need to pass national concealed carry legislation for private citizens.”

CCRKBA was first to call for the arming of commercial airline pilots on Sept. 11, 2001 while smoke was still rising from the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Virginia. It took a leadership role in pushing legislation on Capitol Hill to create a training program for pilots, and has been among the loudest critics of bureaucrats within the Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security for deliberately road blocking that important program.

“George Bush and the Republican majority in Congress are in office today, and will be tomorrow, largely because of the hard work, devotion and activism of America’s firearms owners,” Gottlieb stated. “It is time for Congress and the White House to fix the armed pilots program, and to provide the same right of national concealed carry to law-abiding American citizens that they provided this year to off-duty and retired police officers. No matter what an American citizen does for a living, they do not leave their right of self-defense at the border of their home state.

“Tuesday’s monumental victory was not merely a victory for Republicans,” Gottlieb observed. “It was a victory for the Second Amendment, and for all of those law-abiding citizens who volunteered in campaigns, who put up signs, sent money, rang doorbells, made telephone calls and worked so hard to protect their individual right to keep and bear arms.

“The hard work that lies ahead,” he said, “will be aimed at strengthening our rights, and thus make America stronger. We now have a clear chance to start, as Gen. Douglas McArthur called it, ‘the long road back’ toward regaining lost firearms freedoms, and expanding the ability of all Americans to be safe, in the air, on our streets and in our homes.”