Every day, TSA Agents stop otherwise law-abiding passengers from bringing firearms onto an airplane. The problem is so prevalent that the Clayton County (GA) Solicitor General’s decided to destroy guns confiscated at Atlanta’s Hartsfield airport. What’s the big deal? Why not let licensed concealed carry weapons permit holders bring their gat on board? Remember that the 911 terrorists used boxed cutters on unarmed civilians. Wouldn’t we be safer from terrorist attacks if citizens could bring their weapons onto their flight? As for the problem of catastrophic structural failure, two things spring to mind. Mythbusters tackled that one and I once saw Elizabeth Hurley emerge naked from a London boutique’s dressing room. I almost had catastrophic heart failure. FYI. Your thoughts (on guns on planes)?

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35 Responses to Question of the Day: Should We Let Guns on Planes?

  1. I would be very wary of bringing a gun onto a commercial airliner because of how passengers are packed into convenient rows of potential headshots.

    A negligent discharge may not be catastrophic for the airframe, but it could be for however many people the bullet penetrates. Much less a DGU.

    I prepared to be convinced otherwise.

  2. First off, given the IGOTD segments that are posted, who would trust people to take a gun onboard a cabin? Second, given the idiots who forget they had a gun in their luggage, they will also forget that the gun is loaded. Unless it is in a locked case, no way.

    Although, given the arguments I have seen amongst passengers because someone is still playing with their phone during take-off (because they incorrectly believe a single cell phone can take out an airplane), people would freak out over a gun. The court of public opinion and the already numerous people afraid to fly would make this impossible even if done properly and logically. Fear is huge factor.

    My only thought is this…if the gun is found while passing through the x-ray and the person is a legal gun owner, there is no reason to go through the legal expense of court. The owner should have two options. 1) Have a TSA way to store your gun in the belly of the aircraft [The airport can charge him $400 for a TSA approved case and lock and to follow checkin procedure], or 2) be escorted off the line and off the airport until he can come back with a secure way or he can leave his gun at home. Such a waste of the courts time IMHO.

  3. Explosive decompression is not going to destroy the airplane agreed, but bullets hitting control mechanisms and other passengers (misses, rounds that penetrate target) are a concern. Plus to the best of my knowledge the cockpit doors are reinforced, not bulletproof.

    Considering how far the Feds have their heads up their “4th point of contact” regarding pilots carrying on planes (has anybody let them know that the pilots can crash/hijack/destroy the plane anytime they want? Duhh) you might as well try to get BATF to deregulate full auto short barrel suppressed 40mm explosive round X-Ray invisible firearms for underage felons who have been found guilty of domestic violence as to get the Feds to approve carrying on airliners.

    JMHO

    NukemJim

  4. Definitely the restrictions on firearms on planes needs to be whittled away at until gone, or significantly civilized. If it’s good enough for federal law enforcement, it’s good enough for us.

  5. I always carry a .410 bond arms derringer with snake shot on planes ever since a particular samuel l jacksom movie came out.

  6. So are the Intelligentsia thus far suggesting the average gun owner is too incapable of wisely using a firearm in a crowded environment or because they play with them like a gameboy?

    Come on – where is the cohesion in our beliefs and principles? When our own pet fears aren’t being stroked we have no problem saying that the gun grabbers operate from fear and not reason. When our fears are stroked, do we really want to cast our principles about rights aside so quickly and thoroughly? To play off what DaveY said – either we will whittle away until freedom is restored or until freedom goes away.

  7. Like any other private institution, it should be up the airline, not the government.

    I know this would probably still result in a ban on guns on airplanes given the bean-counters’ obsession with safety (aka, avoiding lawsuits), but it should be their choice, just like a restaurant has the choice to not allow law-abiding armed citizens into their establishments (at least here in PA). And in turn, we have the right to boycott such establishments.

    • Like any other private institution, it should be up the airline, not the government.I know this would probably still result in a ban on guns on airplanes given the bean-counters’ obsession with safety (aka, avoiding lawsuits)>

      Don’t think that would necessarily play out the way you think. For one thing, if it were up to the airline to ban lawful ( let’s even give them “CCW-licensed”) firearms, then in the event of something like the 9-11 event a very different legal result from your assumption would occur.If the family of only ONE lawful licensee would be able to show that he or she was barred from having a weapon in a setting where he or she would otherwise have carried, it could prevent the disaster — and the airline would be legally responsible, at least in part, for all the damages done, by barring the person’s weapon from his or her possession.

      Consider Flight 93 — add a pistol on the right side of the equation … Chew on that.

  8. I agree that you should be able to carry on a plane. Plain and simple, I guess I thought we all pretty much thought that so I thought I would have a little fun with the comments. Also I have a question for you guys. Is it true that you do not have to be leo or military to be an air marshal. I heard that anyone within a certain age range and able to have top secret clearance could become one. Or is that just bull s!@$

    • You don’t have to have prior LEO or Mil experience to be a Air Marshall, but it’s not a part-time job. It pays pretty well from what I understand.

  9. I’m not in favor of this. The extreme crowding of passengers would make almost any DGU virtually a wrestling match, in which any discharge is very likely to strike another passenger. Even with perfect shot placement and trigger control by the good guys (which will never ever happen) and zero NDs (also a lot to expect) the introduction of guns into passenger cabins would lead to more problems instead of fewer.

    Airline passenger cabins are much more crowded than prison cellblocks, and even prison guards are NEVER allowed to bring weapons inside the wire.

    And why the desire to intruduce guns into a pressurized and rowded cabin? What is the threat to be protected against? Since guns were banned from passenger cabins, how many domestic-flight hijackings have there been? Four planes on 9/11 (all taken with knives) and how many others? WIthout researching carefully, I’m throwing out the number ‘zero’.

    Before strict gun screening (and still in countries where there isn’t any) there were lots of planes hijacked. Now it just doesn’t happen. Unlike other forms of ‘gun control,’ keeping them out of passenger cabins works.

    Having to check your gun for three hours isn’t disarament; It’s a reasonable ‘time, place, and manner’ restriction of a fundamental Constitutional right because it goes no further than absolutely necessary to protect people from a real danger of hijackings and accidental shootings while in the air.

    • By this logic guns should be banned in movie theaters and waiting rooms and pretty much every room ever. Remember that an assailant can cover 21 feet faster than you can draw a fun no matter how good you are. Literally any indoor DGU has the potential to be a wrestling match.

      • Think it through a little deeper: how many superfluous parts does a 737 have in its airframe, fuselage and engines? How many thousands of critical flight control, avionics, life support and fuel system parts are there? How do aircraft respond to having holes shot in their critical system components?

        Even with perfect shot placement and zero negligent discharges, a bullet fired in a passenger cabin has a very decent chance of exiting its target and hitting something that can depressurize the cabin (even if not explosively) or bring down the entire aircraft. The least dangerous places a bullet can theoretically go are straight out a window (hopefully at low altitude) or into a cargo container under the passenger cabin.

        Given these well-founded and extraordinary risks to other passengers, can someone tell me the benefit of carrying guns in aircraft cabins where serious assaults (that would justify defensive gun use) are statistically nonexistent? Aircraft cabins are different from city streets, theaters, and subway cars. Because they’re aircraft cabins, surrounded by tens of thousands of crucial aircraft parts and sitting atop tens of thousands of gallons of jet fuel.

        • Have an “aside” area for CCW holders intending to carry on a plane to make the weapon safe and render every weapon Condition Three: full mag in place, empty chamber, hammer down. No U.D.’s that way. If ammo selection is an issue an approved list of aircraft-friendly frangible rounds wouldn’t be hard to come up with.

          Box cutters aren’t going to cut it (bad pun) or fly (another bad pun) if passengers are armed. American aircraft shouldn’t ever be seen as tubes full of sheep waiting for slaughter.

  10. First the important stuff. Ya got pictures?

    Second, I think CCW permit holders should be able to carry on planes. Perhaps the airlines could have their own training, the successful completion of which would provide an airline endorsement on the license.

  11. Personally, I think we need to start a new website – call it TheTruthAboutElizabethHurley.com. Forget the airplane question – booooring. But Liz Hurley, naked? NOW you’re talkin’! Details, man. We need details. And I don’t mean about the defibrillators and such.

  12. I wasn’t around then, but, in the bad old days, couldn’t one bring whatever they wanted onto a plane? Must have been absolute mayhem back then.

  13. Commercial airliners are massively redundant. The average pistol round that even gets unlucky enough to strike a core system is simply going to cause the backup to engage.If this were allowed, we’d probably see a Texas Statehouse effect. The security line for those who carry is going to be shorter than for those who don’t. Imagine all the people getting carry licenses so they can keep their shoes on and their liquids in their bag.Finally, if guns are so dangerous on planes then why does every Federal LEO, Air Marshall, and pilot in the program carry one on a plane? A couple of regs could make some sense – maybe a Federal air carry rider license with some mandatory training and a requirement that you carry frangible in the magazine and chamber that’s inspected at security?-Gene

  14. I have no problem with guns on planes in civillian hands. Air marshalls tend to be idiots like most feds but they are extra douchey due to the super secret squirrel nature of their very important job of protecting us from imaginary threats

  15. The risk of hitting someone you don’t intend to is rather high. Never underestimate the ability of the cattle to panic. They could very well mistake you for a highjacker. Imagine pulling your Glock on Jihad Joe only to be tackled by someone. You could get shot by an Air Marshal to boot.

    And what if you print? It’s probably worse than yelling “bomb” or “Allah Akbar” on a plane. Chances are they’ll land somewhere and interrogate you. Ruining people’s flight and generally making your life hell.

    Besides, the odds of being on a highjacked plane are pretty slim. At some point we’ll just have to learn to be tough without a gun (as blasphemous as that may sound to readers here).

    • If you pull a gun on someone who is clearly hijacking the aircraft people probably wouldn’t tackle you. Most people will be too busy with their life flashing before their eyes.

      • I’ve came close to death and never had a series of events flash before me. I can’t be alone in that.

        A Boeing 747 seats around 350 folks. Murphy’s Law dictates that someone out of 350 people will fuck something up for the ersatz Air Marshal.

        Just my opinion and your sky miles may vary. Hope neither of us is thrust into that position.

  16. Okay, not that my opinion is more valuable than others, but I do work in the airline industry (pilot):

    1. The airport is a controlled access area like a courthouse and other such places. Theoretically, everyone past the security checkpoint is gun-free except certain folks like the Air Marshals and other LEOs. Security is not 100% but it’s pretty good. Many folks on these comments have previously stated they’re okay with a “gun-free zone” as long as there’s some kind of controlled access to guarantee the promise.

    2a. I’m not completely opposed to civilians carrying weapons on planes, but there’s a lot more to think about than carrying on the street. Some have mentioned the other folks within close proximity and the biggest thing is being mistaken for a bad guy. To prevent this, all LEOs have to know who the other weapon-carriers are and where they’re seated. You’d have to go through this system and technically the Captain can refuse to board you if he/she doesn’t like weapon-carrying (rare in the LEO world but might be more common with civvies unless they have “flying armed” training which LEOs are required to have).

    2b. Allowing passengers to CCW would basically require some kind of Federal-level CCW permit with permissions to carry in areas that don’t normally allow it. This would be due to flight diversions which might take you to a state that doesn’t recognize your state’s permit. Most gun-carriers on aircraft are Feds so they have no problem. There’s legislation that opened up carry to State and Local LEOs but there’s nothing like that (yet) for civvy gun-carriers. Let’s say you take-off from Pittsburgh going to Denver. On the way there is an aircraft system abnormal and the crew diverts to Springfield, IL… “uh oh” for you if you were carrying on a CCW permit from the state of PA. If you made a Federal-level CCW the requirements would probably be pretty stringent because it would open-up every state and those state Reps and Senators from IL, CA, MA, NY, etc. would insist on maximum training (cost) to get one.

    3. As others stated, a gun in such close quarters is not necessarily the best weapon for the job. Most hijackers would have edged weapons and at a close distance (arm’s length) a gun would not be the best tool. However, you could choose the moment of engagement when the hijacker(s) aren’t close to you and perforate them when they’re a few rows away.

    4. Why do you believe that you are unarmed on an airplane? Every passenger is issued a foot-long blunt object and a shield for gladiatorial combat. One of the things that worries knowledgeable aircrews is that there’s no way to disarm someone when there’s tons of weapons all over the aircraft. You don’t have access to it, but my favorite in the cockpit is the crash axe. Trust me, I don’t feel naked without my gun on an airplane because I know where to get my weapons, even when I’m in the back.

    5. Don’t worry about hitting some critical component of the aircraft in a shootout, after the first gunshot the crew will be doing an emergency descent and landing right now. There’s virtually no system that’s likely to be hit that would cause a unrecoverable problem. If you hit the bleed lines and cause a bleed leak then we’ll close the associated engine bleed (this will disable the associated PACK but we can maintain pressurization with one, but even if we had to depressurize, we’ll be on the ground within 15 min). Over the ocean might be more problematic, but most over-ocean flight are in twins (777, 767, 757, A330) that are ETOPS certified so you won’t be much more than 30-45 min away from land and less than an hour from an airport. Although, you probably won’t be carrying over-ocean since whatever country you’re flying to would not be happy with you carrying a firearm through their Customs.

    I apologize for the long post, but I don’t think many people consider the total ramifications of CCW on aircraft. I will again state that I am not 100% against it, but the reality of the situation is that it would cost a lot to get that kind of permission. Consider that few CCW-holders carry often. Then consider that bad guys could use an easy system to bypass security and get firearms on an aircraft knowing that the likelihood that there’s another civvy good guy is not that high. The aircraft CCW system would have to be pretty tight to be accepted by those who would be in charge of it. In summary, don’t hold your breath.

  17. I’m hearing some arguments here that sound pretty similar to the Brady Bunch’s views. So we’re okay with our rights being suspended in favor of safety in certain situations.

    So where do we draw the line between rights and safety? Because without it, we are in the position of having someone like mikeylotsanumbers throwing our arguments in our face and calling us either hypocrites or just plain illogical.

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