The current Libertarian presidential and vice presidential candidates are to gun rights what PETA is to foie gras. Over at thelibertarianrepublic.com, Aya Katz shows that not all libertarians are gun grabbers. His article — Heroes of Flight 93 Should Have Been Allowed to Have Guns — makes the case that airline passengers should be tooled-up against terror.

If the passengers and crew of Flight 93 had been armed from the outset, the outcome could have been even more positive. The terrorists would have been shot, and most likely everyone else would have survived.

But the authorities learned nothing from the lessons of Flight 93. The Patriot Act divested passengers of even more civil liberties, and today at the airport the blue rubber gloves of the TSA, dressed like proctologists, terrorize little children, elderly women and the disabled. Instead of trusting in the good will of most passengers, the TSA treat us all like criminals.

I bet the 9/11 pilots wished they’d been armed. Anyway, I’m OK with armed passengers. Period. As Mr. Katz points out, a bullet won’t depressurize a jetliner. But it can depressurize a terrorist.

Some of my less “extreme” colleagues reckon there should be some kind of permitting system for pistol-packing passengers. If not guns, what about knives, baseball bats, a crossbow, etc.? When Mr. Katz makes that suggestion to his “friends” the usual pearl-clutching ensues.

At this point, without fail, my liberal friends forget all about their previous argument, and they categorically declare that nobody should have weapons of any sort, except security officers and military. Because it’s safer that way. At which point I throw up my hands, because I don’t think these people really believe what they’re saying. I don’t know what their real motive is, but it can’t be the concern for safety.

To his credit, Mr. Katz pulls no punches, concluding his pro-pistol polemic thusly: “Let’s work tirelessly to arm every passenger on every flight so that this kind of senseless killing of innocents never happens again.”

I don’t know about arming every passenger, but if I had a choice, I’d fly with my gun. You?

62 Responses to Libertarian: Arm Airline Passengers!

  1. The horse has left the barn. Flight 93 and several subsequent events have shown passengers will fight back. They will just blow up planes now. No gun is going to defend against a bomb in the baggage.

    • Valid point. But if I can stay armed all the way to the airliner and all the way at my destination that means There’s never a time in my travels where I’m unable to respond to more mundane threats like robbers.

      • I flew to DC on Saturday and it would have been more convenient to just walk on then going through the check a gun procedure.

    • There’s no such thing as perfect defence. My door won’t stop a JDAM but I still keep it locked. Being armed on a plane won’t make the matter worse anyway.

  2. “but if I had a choice, I’d fly with my gun. You?”

    Hell yes.

    But those who clutch their pearls and want everyone disarmed? We know that they’re projecting. But follow that through — they know that they’re unsafe, so they think everyone else is unsafe. We know we’re safe, so we tend to project that everyone else would be safe too.

    Are we giving them too much credit? Maybe they actually ARE a danger.

  3. Yes absolutely! And I would have taken control of the guy on the recent flight who was screaming nonsense and gagged him

  4. You make it sound like the average libertarian is against guns. I would have to say that the current nominee and his vp are not libertarians and they do not represent them very closely.

    • Perhaps they aren’t; but then the next logical question is, How did they become their party’s nominees? We know how it happened for the Democrats – backroom deals as usual – and the Republicans – the party’s rank and file more or less revolted against the establishment.

      Perhaps the Libertarian party has kept the name but otherwise parted ways with libertarianism. I don’t know, but I do kind of wonder. And it makes me sad because there is no party I even come close to aligning with now.

    • From my experience as a member of the LP whilst I lived in SoCal and then in the Bay area, the current LP candidate for POTUS (and especially his VP) represent the LP quite accurately.

      I left the LP because the only three things they seemed to really care about were:

      1. Drugs. LP’ers I met wanted to end the “war on drugs” not so much to end the abuse of the Fourth, Fifth and 10th Amendments, but because they were stoners who wanted to get high.

      2. Sex. Sex with the same sex, sex in orgies, sex with anything that moved, and maybe sex with things that used to moved, but had quite moving.

      3. And, they were, by and large, tax scofflaws.

      That was it. When the conversation came around to RKBA issues, oh, the waffling started. When the conversation came around to enforcing border security – they were absolutely against it.

      In the end, I decided that the LP is a collection of super-annuated children, and I had to leave.

      • You do realize that you admitted this was in California? I didn’t meet any (that I can remember) such Libertarians in MI, NC, IN or MN. I too lived in CA (Bezerkeley) but didn’t even bother with politics of any sort there.

  5. Robert, I have a request. Similar to the way PoTG react to misuse of “automatic” vs. “semi-automatic” and “clip” vs. “magazine”, libertarians make a big distinction between “libertarians” and “Libertarians”. The former (small “l” libertarians”) have some principles, the main one being that being an aggressor is wrong but that it is morally and ethically sound, and at times required, to use force to defend against aggressors. The latter (big “L” Libertarians) are simply members of the Libertarian Party, which says nothing about whether or not they have any such principles. In fact, willingness to participate in contests to get into positions of power in govt strongly suggests that they are sadly lacking in principles.

    So my request is simple. When writing about political candidates, use the capital letter. When writing about people who just want to be free to do what they please so long as they don’t aggress against others, use the small letter. Thanks.

    BTW, I’m all for airlines themselves making their own rules about who gets to get on their planes while armed. If they don’t allow me to be armed, I’ll spend my money with another carrier. But it’s their plane so they get to make the rules.

    • I’ve long identified as a “small l libertarian/classical liberal.” The big “L” party contains a fair share of nut jobs.

    • ^This. Robert Farago, your lack of understanding of libertarianism is disappointing, and your remark that “not all libertarians are gun grabbers” is highly misleading. The broader school of thought that is libertarianism is more in keeping with constitutional values than any other school of thought, and all libertarians are pro-gun. Anyone who supports gun control is not a libertarian, as gun control shifts power into the hands of government, and therefore, is completely incongruent with core of libertarian principles.

      As Alan said, the capital “L” is used when referencing the political party, NOT the ideology. The two are not the same. And you should know, most -L-ibertarian politicians do not support gun control.

  6. Yes, were it legal I would carry on a plane.

    However, it’s not and it’s not going to be so this is a pointless conversation.

    As tdiinva pointed out terrorism is going to go the way of bombs because these days aircraft passengers will fight back against an attempted hijacking and probably kill the terrorists in ways most brutal. I mean, personally if you attacked my plane like that and you were captured rather than outright killed I’d seriously contemplate seeing how much I could make you scream to Allah with one of those little table knives they hand out.

    The days of hijackings are over, at least for now. The days of bombings are back.

    What every aircraft should have on board is a pound of bacon. That way if you do catch one (or more) of these assholes you can send them straight to hell by going ISIS on their ass with the aforementioned table knife. Put that shit on LiveLeak too.

    • This is not a pointless discussion. It is always valuable to make the argument for an expansion of liberty, even if we don’t see any way to achieve that expansion. If nothing more, it at least reminds everyone, especially the next generation, of the ideals we strive for.

      • I disagree. Wasting energy on fights you can’t win rather than directing them towards ones you can is a waste of resources and only weakens you on the fights you might actually win.

        Guns have been banned for carry on aircraft since 1968 and that isn’t going to change. Spending time on such an argument is a waste. Other freedoms are under threat, spend your resources there rather than wasting them here and damaging the 2A movement in the process by making us all look like kooks who are easily lampooned.

        Sorry, other arguments need to be won before we can even discuss this. Groundwork must be laid and it hasn’t been. Until we can demonstrate to the general public that the anti’s are wrong this is a bridge too far. This isn’t your dad’s USA. Guns are feared by the general public. You have to change that before you have a prayer’s chance in hell of winning this argument.

        This is a game of inches, which we are just now starting to really win. Trying to go for the hail-mary touchdown is a really, really bad idea.

        • To change the culture you have to educate. It’s pretty obvious the other side is using this play book by teaching garbage. So let’s teach real things. Granted, TTAG might be a little bit of an echo chamber. But, if we have to convince you that this discussion is worthwhile, maybe TTAG is doing exactly what needs done to continue to move the needle.

        • You nailed it in you first line and then abandoned it.

          Educating is where you win the the hearts and minds going “aircraft carry” before you’ve one those hearts and minds is counterproductive.

  7. Follow Bruce Schneier. AFAIK, he coined the term “Security Theater.” And maybe Wired’s “Danger Room”, which is less hacky than you’d think, being Wired, and all.

    Net, armed air crews, reinforced cockpit doors, and a policy change solve the box-cutter threat. That won’t help if some moody German pilot decides to fly into an alp, or a plane over Oceana diverts to the flying bomb staging base. (Wait, didn’t that turn out to be an alien abduction. My bad.) But it’s a help.

    As for passengers, those of us who aren’t Nicholai Hel, would do better having guns to take out the terrorists than without.

  8. I wish I could carry in California. I’d carry at work, church, the store, heck, everywhere. For planes, how about a nice stout hickory cane? It’s a mobility device.

  9. After 9/11 my friend said that what the airlines should be doing at boarding:
    Here’s your knife.
    Here’s your knife.
    Here’s your knife.
    Here’s your knife.
    Here’s your knife.

    • Yup.

      In an airline cabin, my first choice of weapon would be a Ka-bar. Hands down. Sure, I’ll pack a gun, but in close quarters, a knife is much more useful – and scary.

      It would be much more useful to our national security to have a hijacking end as such:

      – The plane’s pilots inform ATC that there is a hijacking, and they divert to the nearest airport.
      – The plane lands, taxis in from the active runway(s) (ie, on the ground route to the terminal), and not so close they need a pushback, but close enough to the terminal so that folks in the terminal can see what happens next.
      – The front PAX door opens…
      – The hijackers’ bodies are tossed out by a couple of large, pissed-off passengers, without ceremony or flourish…
      – and then some other passengers toss the hijackers’ heads out with an under-handed throw, like large softballs, so that the severed heads roll across the tarmac towards the terminal.

      – The aircraft’s door(s) are then closed by the flight crew
      – The pilots request a ground clearance to taxi to the active runway
      – The aircraft’s pilots then spool up the engines and ask for an expedited takeoff clearance, and they are given priority to the end of the runway,
      – The aircraft departs to resume the flight to their destination.
      – The passengers who handled the hijackers are given a voucher to buy themselves new clothes at the destination, lots of free miles, and a couple of first-class upgrades for being good citizens.

      No extra drama, no excess interruption of people’s day, no big federal make-work “investigation” which discovers the obvious, just a cleanup job for the ground crews, who should come out with a large plastic tote for the bodies and a fire truck to hose down the mess. Tell the morons in the FBI and DHS to go pound sand, “we’ve got this.”

      That’s it.

      • I’d like to be able to carry on airplanes, for convenience before and after the flight, not really for protection from terrorists. In an airplane, I think it is going to be very hard to miss, most every shot is going to hit someone, they’re just packed too tight. Myself, not being the deadeye I was (or imagined myself) 30-40 years ago, I would not care to fire onboard an aircraft unless I was close enough to use a knife.

  10. Aside: To Robert or whoever makes such decisions, I thank you very much for including on the main page the three line excerpt from each article. It does make a difference, and a welcome one.

    I know that with the strong trend toward use of small screen (compared to desktops and notebooks) devices to read web content that faster loading and quicker scrolling are a big deal, but I think you hit the right balance with the way you’re doing things now. Thanks again!.

  11. Well yeah I’d rather have a ?…what sane person wouldn’t? Breaking NEWS! The hildebeast is reported to have pneumonia…we’ll see.

      • Just cuz you call yourself something doesn’t make it true. I could call myself a unicorn but since I don’t have a horn or poop rainbows, it’s not true.

        Same with people who call themselves libertarian and don’t adhere to the core philosophy. They’re not libertarian, just liberal (in the modern sense of liberal).

  12. Not all libertarians are gun-grabbers?
    I’ve got news for you, no libertarian is a gun-grabber.
    But the Libertarian Party’s presidential ticket contains not one, but two, anti gun RINO ex-governors. It’s too bad that in a year where both of the Uniparty’s candidates have record disapproval ratings, the Libertarian Party doesn’t have a libertarian running for president in November.

  13. Cali-Zim and Illini Zim (same old fat guy) would love to be Air Marshals. They could brandish their firearms at the slightest provocation, and get paid to do it!!

  14. Hate to be a party pooper, but a dozen “Passenger 57” wantabes in coach to Tampa??? Um, pass on that one. Pilot? Fine. Air Marshall? Fine. A plane is a awful place for gun tooters. From the jackass who drops his weapon in the toilet. To the missed shot, hitting the attendant.

  15. Gotta go with a ‘no’ on this one. We all know that a bullet isn’t going to down a plane via rapid decompression or something but think about the nature of a plane- ducks lined up in a row, nowhere to go, no cover. Someone with a gun intent on killing might be stopped eventually but they will have killed plenty of people first (it will take more time for someone to react than it will to empty a magazine). And good luck trying to shoot them back without hitting the people in between you or behind them in those nice rows.

    Now, this argument could also be made for things like buses, subway cars, etc. but the difference is this: we already have and need to have a security process in play to examine people at the airport. We definitely don’t want explosives getting in there, so we’re not going to stop checking people. Because it is a limited and secured area we actually HAVE a way to stop the bad guys from bringing on guns, so we don’t need the ‘good guys with guns’ argument (same with court rooms, jails, etc). As someone mentioned above, we don’t need guns to stop a hijacking with razor blades either.

    On the list of infringements against the 2nd based on their importance I rank this one very low and with absolutely zero chance of going anywhere. There’s gotta be better things to be worried about.

    • Only a few things wrong with all that…

      1. personal guns were quite common on aircraft prior to the “ban.” None of those things happened.
      2. Just as with any “gun free zone,” those who want to harm others will have their weapons.
      3. The TSA is notoriously BAD at finding anything more dangerous than nail clippers and bottled water…

      In an actual free country, the airlines themselves would decide who boarded their craft, if and when the individual would be allowed to carry a weapon, etc. Different airlines would do this in different ways, and the response of their customers would determine which airlines survived and which went bankrupt. No “bailouts” from government.

      Personally, I will never fly commercially again until I’m offered a complimentary box of frangible ammo for my carry gun… or at least until nobody pays any more attention to the gun on my hip at the airport than do the shoppers at my local grocery store, or the ladies in the courthouse, the bank, or anywhere else here except the stupid “post office.”

      If you want perfect safety utopia, try going to Disneyland. Oh wait, that’s not safe either. Darn.

  16. What happened on Flight 93, or the other 3 9/11 flights for that matter, had nothing to do with the availability of weapons. 9/11 was a social engineering hack, exploiting the “common wisdom” of cooperating with hijackers. Guns wouldn’t have helped Flight 93 because the hijackers were already at the controls. Had they begun resisting before they could seize the controls, guns wouldn’t have been necessary.

    • On the other hand… if it were generally known in the world that Americans were likely armed on commercial flights… the attack would not likely ever happen. Same logic as gun free zones in place now. An invitation to attack.

      • 1) As pointed out previously, they’d simply switch to bombs if it became well known there were guns borne by good guys (and gals. Let’s not forget MamaLiberty et. numerous-but-not-nearly-enough al.).

        But that is NO reason to deny our rights on aircraft, for one thing we are better able to defend ourselves on the ground at our destination.

        2) I suspect knives (combat sized; KaBar is an excellent example but there are many others) would be better weapons for defense in airplanes for many of the reasons mentioned above, just in case some idiot really tries it. But again, that’s no reason to deny people the right to carry a gun. (Personally, given freedom to do so, I’d probably carry a knife, and slip the gun and holster into my carry on.)

  17. I always carry-on an extra pair of socks and an extra computer battery. Plausible deniability that will serve as a good bludgeon l in a pinch.

  18. The majority of my flying is on Southwest, which may not be representative of the overall airline industry. Still, I do maintain A-List status with them, which requires 25 flights per calendar year. So I’d consider that a reasonable amount of experience.

    There are too many jack wagons travelling for me to be comfortable with them carrying guns. Hell, half of them can’t even cram their rears into the seats. There is no room for a holster, anyway. Add in the drunks and the air rage and it’s just not worth it.

    I know, one’s rights don’t depend on my comfort. Your rights do depend on your responsibilities, though. You cannot conduct a gunfight aboard a plane in any way that is not inherently reckless. If you can’t be responsible for your actions and not violate other people’s rights, then you don’t get to exercise your right. Even the inevitable negligent discharges are almost certain to cause injuries in such close quarters.

    Really, the cockpits are sealed up and bullet proof now, anyway. No terrorist passenger can bring down the plane. It’s been 15 year. Who are we afraid of? The failed shoe bomber and underwear bomber? Both were shut down without guns. Successful Muslim attacks on commercial planes have come from missiles and suicidal pilots. You’re not stopping those with a gun.

    I would be amenable to allowing passengers to carry a properly secured, loaded firearm in their carry-on luggage, but not on their person. An additional condition would be that they cannot remove that firearm from its secured location any time while aboard, except for for purposes they’d be legally justified in using the weapon. In other words, no playing with it, showing it off, repositioning it, etc.

    FIRST violation: banned from commercial flights for five years. If first violation includes a discharge, then that’ll be a felony and you lose both gun rights and air travel privileges for life.

  19. As a libertarian – people should have the right to be armed but the private airline carrier has the right to not let you on their plane – from there let the free market figure it out.

    For people afraid of other people carrying guns on the plane – it’s no different than any other situation – if there’s an accidental discharge or anything else like that then that person is responsible.

    Oh and Mr. Farago – Aya Katz is a Ms. not a Mr. FYI

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