Question of the Day: Would You Carry on an Airplane?

With a bit of luck and wind in the right direction, Dan and I will be winging our way to the 2017 SHOT Show as you read these words. If a terrorist or crazy attacks at Austin airport, we’ll be like lambs to the slaughter. Fast-running, cover-seeking lambs, but lambs nonetheless. If we were active law enforcement officers, we’d be able carry in the airport, subject to various caveats. For one thing, we’d have to have completed ‘Law Enforcement Officers Flying Armed” training. Here’s criminaljusticeonlineblog.com‘s description of the course:

The Law Enforcement Officers Flying Armed training is a 1.5 to 2 hour block of instruction that is comprised of a structured lesson plan, slide presentation, FAQs, NLETS procedures, and applicable codes of federal regulation. This material is provided to Federal, State, Local, Territorial, Tribal, and approved Railroad Law Enforcement agencies and departments to properly instruct their officers on the subject of flying on board commercial aircraft while armed. The training includes protocols in the handling of prohibited items, prisoner transport, and dealing with an act of criminal violence aboard an aircraft.

What if non-LEOs could take this course and carry on a plane. Would you?

comments

    1. avatar Doktor says:

      TTAG headline:
      Irresponsible Gun Owner of the day brings down 747 with onboard accidental discharge. 316 dead. Hi Point Arms claims no responsibility. Says their guns are perfect.

      1. avatar FulMetlJakit says:

        Always thought the problem with Hi-Points, according to those who have never owned one, was that they DON’T go off when intended…
        So unless Remington makes a 700 pistol, I believe you are thinking of Taurus, or someone trying to skirt blame for their negligent “Glock-fuselage.”

        1. avatar Doktor says:

          Good point FMJ. I was attempting to apply a subtle literary juxtaposition with the high cost of air travel with the carry of one of the cheapest production handguns. But as my great granddaddy used to say, “Yer jokes an’t funny if yous gots ta splan em.”

    2. No, a coach class seat is 17″-19″ wide, and carrying OWB or IWB is uncomfortable as all hell in a such a tight seat. Secondly, I fly more international that I do domestic, so it’s not an option based on my destination. Third, I’m not really into off body carry, so having a gun in a carry on bag is just not my thing.

  1. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

    Of course, I hate checking my gun. I hate checking anything actually.

  2. avatar dph says:

    Yes, I carry just about every where else. Even places where maybe I’m not supposed too.

  3. avatar Don says:

    Absolutely.

  4. In a heartbeat, you bet your ass I would.

  5. avatar K Maiden says:

    Living in the FASCIST state of Kalifornia, not really possible. But, otherwise hell yes.

  6. avatar Kyle says:

    sure, I would, I’d love to use planes again.

    1. avatar Ozzallos says:

      So what you’re implying is that you don’t fly because you’re not allowed to fly armed… Even though nobody has been allowed to fly armed for most of commercial aviation’s history?

      I think what you meant to say is “I have never flown anywhere, ever.”

  7. avatar Carrucan says:

    No. I expect law enforcement will be there to save me. They know best, of course.

    1. avatar Dave (not that one) says:

      This! After all I’m sure they will only be minutes away. Max. I’m sure that’ll be fine.

      1. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

        Hey, Superman, you aren’t faster than a speeding bullet. Even if an officer were standing right next to you, you aren’t going outdraw and outshoot someone who has made you his first or second target. Someone draws and fires out of the blue, you’re hit and possibly dead. Officer or not, you carrying or not.

        Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get it, your rights are your rights and efficacy is secondary. Well, I’m talking efficacy here. I concede it’s your right; you should acknowledge it’s irrelevant.

        In a high security environment like an airport, you’re basically either first to be shot, and thereby dead, or the officers do respond promptly and it’s over in seconds and you’re safe. Your sidearm will never come into play.

        1. avatar Cliff H says:

          Bullshit.

  8. avatar Al Booth says:

    Why not ? I carry everywhere else, except into a courthouse, where I have to pass through a metal detector.

    1. avatar JackInAlabama says:

      Yep – as do I – I absolutely DETEST having to fly anywhere, not just because of the free “first base” courtesy of TSA, but also because I really dislike being disarmed by the state – I much prefer having the choice.

    2. avatar FulMetlJakit says:

      Methinks a pilot? Or good friend of one.

  9. avatar tjlarson2k says:

    Who wouldn’t want to? Terrorists and hijackings are a reality and explosive decompression is not.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Technically there is such a thing as ‘explosive decompression’ as well as ‘rapid decompression’ and ‘gradual decompression’. Explosive decompression happens so fast that the excess air can’t escape from your lungs causing massive damage to them. Rapid decompression happens fast but slow enough to let the excess air escape from your lungs. Gradual decompression can happen so slow that no one notices until everyone is suffering from hypoxia. All three could be deadly.

      Explosive and rapid decompression would only occur if you’re on a very old plane and metal fatigue played a major role. Gradual decompression would only occur if somehow nobody (at least in the plane’s crew) was aware of your ballistic indiscretion. The other possibility is that you just happen to strike part of a critical system like hydraulics or electronics that renders some flight controls inoperable. In any case, the plane would have to make an emergency landing (assuming you’re not flying over the middle of the Pacific) and undergo a thorough inspection and any and all damage repaired before it could go back into use. The airline would then refund all the rest of the passengers their money, tally up the costs and sue you for something probably over 7 figures.

  10. avatar Dave says:

    I carry on private planes all the time at least 50 times a year I fly on private aircraft and I always carry my pistol when I’m flying as long as the destination location allows concealed carry permit holders from Florida to carry in that particular state. I’ve never had an issue flying with my firearm. We did it all the time in the military. David make specifically designed ammunition for Air Marshals that will not penetrate the outer skin of an aircraft or even break the window. Glaser safety slugs I believe is what they’re called the projectile is a plastic type see-through blue colored polymer baby and inside of that are a bunch of pellets little beebies if you will, and very lethal if it hits a human target but if it hits a hard surface it busts open and loses all of its weight and 0 penetration.

    1. avatar bLoving says:

      Pretty sure the Mythbusters tackled this one: no. Putting a small hole or two in the wall won’t make a jetliner explosively decompress at altitude. Hitting another passenger is a far more likely problem, though. Glasers are a good choice. The Ruger ARX loads are a perhaps better choice. Frangibles wouldn’t really be needed as the “holes in the wall” isn’t really a problem and they only act like FMJ in squishy stuff.

    2. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

      You have access to private planes and find it necessary to brag about it here. You do realize that most carriers here know that one can and would carry on private aircraft if they had the option use them? Also putting holes in the hull isn’t much of a problem, it is hitting critical control components like hydraulic and electrical lines that is.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        And on airliners, they usually have redundant ways to actuate the control surface. Search for a pic of an airliner with the cabin floor removed, you will see a *bunch* of control cables running the length of the aircraft.

        On the cabin windows, they are usually made of Lexan (or something similar) that is highly resistant to shattering.

        You will punch a bullet-sized hole in it, and then the aircraft’s pressurization system will compensate for the dropping cabin pressure automatically by adding additional high-pressure air from the abundant amount available from the aircraft’s engine…

        1. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

          Don’t have much knowledge of airliners even if I do have A&P certificates. I am a small airplane guy. I used to and I wish very much that I still owned an airplane – hence my sensitivity to Dave’s comment. But yes, I realize that with airliners critical control components are generally triple redundant. Was it a DC 10 that knocked it’s elevator control with pieces with one of the engines and they had to land with just throttles to control pitch?

        2. avatar Geoff PR says:

          Sioux City, 1989. United 232, a DC-10 from Denver to O’Hare, Capt. Al Haynes PIC.

          As a result of being able to marginally control an aircraft thought to be initially totally uncontrollable, it kicked off a lot of research into alternate means of flight control of damaged aircraft in flight, particularly in fly-by-wire designs.

          “How The Crash Of United Flight 232 Changed The Way We Fly”

          http://jalopnik.com/how-the-crash-of-united-flight-232-changed-the-way-we-f-1606999239

  11. avatar Rich K. says:

    Of course, I would. Having to be unarmed is one big reason I would rather drive than fly, and won’t drive to or through any place that won’t honor my permit to carry!

  12. avatar Matt in FL says:

    This is a question?

    1. avatar tmm says:

      …and THAT is the question of the day.

  13. avatar Rabbi says:

    Interesting, 90% of the LE class is about check in and boarding procedures and almost nothing on the use of a firearm in an airport or plane

  14. avatar Chip Bennett says:

    Absolutely. The safest place for my EDC is left alone, holstered at my waist.

    That said, economy seats might be just a bit more uncomfortable, as they’re not especially wide to begin with.

    1. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

      Shoulder holster for the trip:-)

  15. avatar TheUnspoken says:

    Possession of a weapon should not be banned and prosecuted in any location. This line of logic is used to incrementally restrict the valid locations one can carry. “Why do you need a gun in an airplane/school/voting booth/post office/church/park/restaurant…?”

    We give in and say, OK, we can leave them out of pharmacies, or airports, or schools, too scary there…. Pretty soon you can’t carry anywhere. People intent on violence will attack in all locations. And honest people carrying a weapon are no more a threat at a kindergarten than a grocery store.

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      +1, well put.

  16. avatar dwb says:

    I don’t know if any of these are useful “the handling of prohibited items, prisoner transport” This could conceivably be useful: “dealing with an act of criminal violence aboard an aircraft” – but lot depends on the curriculum.

    Most importantly: can you shoot straight under pressure, and are you using ammo that won’t depressurize the plane.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Pistol ammo will not depressurize an airplane, period.

      1. avatar dwb says:

        Just because I saw it on Mythbusters, or read it in the comment section of the internet, does not mean I believe it.

        First, I challenge you to scientifically define “pistol ammo.” Some .357 magnum I can get 1850 fps out of an 8″ barrel with a 125 grain or lighter bullet. Some 7.69×39 I get about 1900 fps with a 125 gr bullet and 8″ barrel. How about .460 S&W magnum? As high as 2300fps with a 200gr bullet, from an 8″ barrel?

        One local range won’t allow 7.62×39 out of an SBR or AK pistol because “rifle” but will allow .357 out of a 16″ barrel, or even .460 S&W out of a revolver because “pistol.”

        If someone carried a huge-ass revolver onto a plane, would you bet that the shooter’s wrist would break before they punched enough holes that the plane depressurized? The question is not really whether the first, second , or third bullet depressurizes the plane. It may not. The question is how much damage can the skin withstand. Even the best armor plating eventually fails.

        1. avatar MLee says:

          One range near me explained they don’t allow the larger caliber rifles is because of the concussion. It knocks the lighting tubes out and brings down the tiles. It had nothing to do with their bullet stop, which they said is rated up to .50 caliber, but I can’t shoot my AK there. That’s why I questioned it. It sounded reasonable to me, although it could be a total bull shit excuse also.

        2. avatar dwb says:

          The indoor ranges to the north and west of me allow everything up to .50 BMG. The indoor range to the east, only allows “pistol caliber.”

          I call b.s. on the “concussion” explanation because all three appear to same the same tiles and lighting.

        3. avatar Tom says:

          I’m pretty sure each of the outflow valves on a commercial jetliner (there are usually 3, one in each wheel well) are way bigger than any hole a firearm could make.

        4. avatar Matt in FL says:

          @dwb

          Reductio ad absurdum.

          The question was “would you carry,” which brings the assumption that we’re talking about guns that someone would carry. .460 S&W magnum out of an 8″ barrel, and virtually anything that shoots 7.69×39 [sic] are well outside the bounds of what most people would consider a “carry gun.” Let’s be realistic here. I’m not saying that nobody could, I’m saying that few people would.

          But taking your argument at face value, your vaunted .460 S&W magnum will not tear appreciably larger holes in thin aluminum skin than a 9mm. The skin doesn’t have enough resistance to cause the bullet to blow out, so the 9mm would result in a hole not much bigger than 9mm, and the .460 S&W would result in a hole not much bigger than 11.5mm.

        5. avatar dwb says:

          The great thing about America is that people can carry whatever they want, so I don’t have any assumptions about what people might be carrying in their carry-on, either for EDC or maybe for a hunting trip.

          But if people are going to promote airplane carry, then they need to provide a good persuasive argument either a) Why people can carry whatever they want or b) What the scope will be, for example maybe people can only carry “pistol caliber” guns, but have to check their guns for hog hunting.

          I have not heard either a) or b), and we have not even got into the notion that if we impose restrictions, the TSA will become the caliber police.

          Given that 1/3 of America still does not recognize the right to carry on the street, the right to carry in a 400 ton tin can is a very long way off.

        6. avatar Chip in Florida says:

          “…The question is how much damage can the skin withstand”

          Way more than you could ever inflict with a firearm. Look up Aloha Air Flight 243. Something around 18 feet of the skin of the aircraft got gone and the plane made it to the ground with only one fatality. Look at the photos, you will be impressed and freightened at the same time.

          Guns on aircraft are only a problem for the people getting shot.

      2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        Sure, but can it rupture a hydraulic hose?

        1. avatar Chip in Florida says:

          “…but can it rupture a hydraulic hose?”

          Think about the inside of an aircraft…. Do you even know where the hydraulic lines run through the craft? Hitting one with a stray bullet is a possibility But flight controls are redundant systems so unless you can hit more than one hose the aircraft is still not in danger from any shots fired.

  17. avatar stateisevil says:

    Does a bear poop in the woods? Certain “heroes” already can. Including wonderful specimens from obscure alphabet agencies you’ve never heard of. Cuz they matter. If you’re just a run of the mill tax cow, you must disarm and go through slave training/security theater.

    1. avatar Ed says:

      ^^^THIS^^^

  18. avatar former water walker says:

    Yep…

  19. avatar MLee says:

    Yep. I carry everywhere anyway except court houses that have metal detectors. Going in there for your gun permit, you have to empty your pockets and remove your belt. What a pain in the ass! So there really are a few places I don’t carry, but the most part, gun free zones mean nothing to me and are ignored.

  20. avatar Jeff K says:

    Absolutely, along with my multiple knives.

  21. avatar Geoff PR says:

    “If a terrorist or crazy attacks at Austin airport, we’ll be like lambs to the slaughter.”

    Cripes, RF.

    I would like to think the ‘2017 TTAG Shot Show Expeditionary Forces’ would rise to the challenge and gang-rush and then dog-pile the terrorist saving scores of lives.

    And then, the Swedish Bikini Team, who’s lives you just saved, would give you an extra-special thank you for your good deed.

    (Can I lay on the heavy BS, or not? 🙂 )

  22. avatar Rick the Bear (now in NH!!) says:

    Definitely. S&W .38Spl with Glaser Safety Slugs.

  23. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Seriously?? Is that a question. If allowed Id carry everywhere. I carry now in a lot of places Im not allowed 20/7. 7days a week. I carry 2 rounds of Glasers in my pocket. The only one that has to worry about what I might do or not is the bad person who tries some thing in my vicinity.

  24. avatar Mr. Pierogie says:

    I would if I could. It should be up to each airline to decide what their gun policy is. Government should stay out of it.

    Does Fuddhorn…I mean Leghorn, agree?

  25. avatar Libertarian says:

    Only white armed lawfulls on board there was an chance to stop 9-11 ore the bastard Andreas Lubitz (hope he is root in hell) at Germanwings-fly 9525 so yes absolutly mandatory !!

  26. avatar C.S. says:

    If I actually could, then it’s none of your business…

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      This is a stupid, pointless response. Half the reason for being here is the conversation that takes place. If you feel like not taking part, then simply don’t take part. There’s no reason to be cute.

      1. avatar C.S. says:

        Ok, Matt, I’ll bite. RF just put in the “reasonable restriction” of having to first complete a training class. What happened to “shall not be infringed”? How about just allowing me to carry my gun, and just criminally charge me if I draw or discharge it?

        1. avatar Matt in FL says:

          That’s a fair point, and one not made by your flip “none of your business” response.

          The question was “if you could take the class that LE takes and carry, would you?”

          “I shouldn’t even have to take the class” is a legitimate response. It’s not a direct response, but it’s more direct than “none of your business” which is a complete non-answer, and adds nothing to the conversation. That was my point.

          To that response (“I shouldn’t have to take the class”), though, I almost disagree. Let’s set up a reality where firearm carry on airplanes was allowed and accepted, but the cost of doing so was having to spend 20-30 minutes of your preflight time sitting in a room learning the pitfalls, dangers, responsibilities of doing so. You’re sitting in the waiting area anyway, right? Let’s say that doing it once gets you a year (or two? or three?) and then you have to do a refresher. Is that too much of an infringement? Does it have to be free? What about a fee to cover the cost of the guy running the information session? A couple bucks? Five? What’s reasonable? What’s unreasonable? Is all of it unreasonable? Am I out of my mind for even imagining such a thing?

          Put this in perspective. If you go to a paintball range, there’s usually some sort of quick orientation. “Don’t shoot people in the throat,” stuff like that. Everyone gets it, even if you’ve been there before. Frequent flyers (shooters) don’t even listen anymore, they could teach the thing. But they still have to hear it. It’s just part of the deal. Flying with a gun any different? And yes, I know, paintball isn’t protected by the 2A. Spare me that argument, please.

        2. avatar C.S. says:

          Personal criticism accepted, Matt. No hard feelings.

          Any other dangerous and unusual circumstances in which you’ll be wiling to deny a person’s right to keep and bear arms? Even Justice Scalia said the 2nd Amendment is not unlimited. Say, I take the class, would I have to show competency? Is there an exam at the end to make sure I paid attention? Maybe I need a refresher class every year. How about we just make sure that every person have to go through the same LEO evaluations, examination and training in order to carry a firearm with the same restrictions?

          I find this argument a bit odd, considering you’re one of the people that converted me from the Progressive ideology. Maybe the world’s just turning upside down — I recently watched a clip of Piers Morgan talking about Donald Trump and found myself agreeing with him.

        3. avatar Matt in FL says:

          I don’t have answers to your questions. I’d never even thought about it before your comment brought it to mind. Honestly, I’m not even sure I agree with the class/training idea I just proposed. What would it teach? I’d think “Don’t play with your gun on the plane” would pretty much cover it. You don’t need to sit in a classroom for that.

      2. avatar C.S. says:

        I’ll admit, it’s just Show Show envy.

  27. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    Yes, I’d carry. I might even fly again, if being permitted to carry would get me out of the TSA line. Once you’d have a flight CCW, then it could be assumed that you’ve been background checked and aren’t someone who needs their junk grabbed by a bunch of civil service perverts.

    As for all the worries about “decompression.” Complete bunk.

    The B-29 had three pressurized cabin compartments. Superforts would occasionally get shot up by fighters late in WWII over Japan. No “explosive” decompression. Superforts over Korea sometimes got ventilated like a screen door by MiG-15’s, and they didn’t suffer any “explosive” decompression. If they were shot down, they’d go down in flames from fuel tanks being hit or suffer from ordnance detonation, just like their B-17 predecessors.

    The truth is, unless you’re lighting off something like a 37mm cannon inside an aircraft, decompression just isn’t much of a threat.

  28. avatar Gregolas says:

    If allowed to carry, I’d start flying again.

  29. avatar AlanInFL says:

    Givee a definite hell ya.

    If I have to patch the damage, I’m an aircraft mechanic.

  30. avatar Retro says:

    I’d absolutely carry in a commercial aircraft if I could. No more screwing around with declaring a pistol in my checked luggage and wondering if it would get “lost”.

    And a big Thank You to DG for pointing out the B29s, I always have to make that argument about aircraft decompression.

  31. avatar Holdfast says:

    I have carried on an airplane- we deployed to Desert Storm on commercial aircraft with an entire battalion, along with personal weapons (pistols, rifles, M-203’s, and a couple of M-60’s)….and we had ammo on the aircraft with us. I know quite a few AF crew chiefs who were packing a duty weapon whenever their plane flew. Not one problem or complaint. I would have no problem carrying on any aircraft.

    I am not an expert on Aircraft, but I did have an interesting discussion with some really old McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) guys who were- they thought WW 2 era aircraft were inherently more survivable because the aircraft was mostly empty space and controlled by a lot of cables..Puncture the fuselage and no big deal. .Today’s aircraft have maxed out available space- and stuffed lots of digital controls- which means more vulnerability to a shot. I don’t know if it’s true or not- but it did make me think..

    1. avatar Nanashi says:

      Were you in-uniform? I’d imagine that would turn off most complaints of any kind.

      As for the aircraft, I’ve heard plenty of stories of heavily damaged WW2 planes returning to base on their own power, but none of more modern stuff (admittedly not a military aviation person and I’m reasonably sure most of our enemies the past few decades weren’t capable of hitting our planes in the past). Of course armament is as much an issue as plane durability for that and older planes likely wouldn’t take missiles very well.

  32. avatar Missouri Mule says:

    Why is this a question?

  33. avatar Chip in Florida says:

    Wait… Is the class required before I can carry in-flight?

    Do I have to take the class every flight? Every year? Just once in a lifetime? Who certifies I took this class? Is the TSA going to challenge the certification because the front line agents do tend to make it up as they go.

    Drop the requirement of the class and I might consider returning to air travel.

  34. avatar PW in KY says:

    I would jump at the chance to take a brief class to carry on a plane. I carry at all other times so it wouldn’t exactly be a big change!

  35. avatar Mike W. says:

    YUP. Sure would. Would be a REALLY limited short list of when I’d use it on a plane tho…… Terrorism. ONLY reason.

  36. avatar Ozzallos says:

    First, yes. Due to the enormous risks, a certification would almost be a must. Without a certification, it would too easy for a terrorist org to stack a flight with their own.

    Second, a reality check for the entitled snowflakes here: You do not have the right to fly.

    Even discarding the FAA, TSA, FBI or any other acronym you care to cite, you do not, nor ever had, the right to fly on a commercial airliner; armed or not. The airlines have always had the discretion to remove you from a plane for any number of reasons, be it how you dress or your interactions with their employees. It could even be something as simple as weight limits. You will not fly because they said so. To point, their was an attempt to alter regulations to allow little knives as carry on. For once, nearly everybody agreed that small blades weren’t a substantial threat to aviation. Guess who disagreed? The airlines themselves, specifically the cabin crew serving you. If they can’t get past little knives, do you really think guns are going to go?

    To the rest of you saying you would fly again if you could fly armed, what you’re really saying is you have never flown anywhere, period, because you haven’t been allowed to fly armed for most of commercial aviation’s history. Please, just stop it already.

    Beyond the initial headline, this thread is mental masturbation at its finest.

    1. avatar tiger says:

      Too many on this site think they really are “Passenger 57” or John Mc Claine?? Sigh…. I’m not getting capped over a arrgument about peanuts or the Sky mall catalog.

  37. avatar tiger says:

    Nooooooo. This is fun hypothetical chit chat, but this is nuts….. There is line between pro gun and gun nuts; this will not fly with the public, the crews, the airlines or the gungrabbers. The difference between a “good” guy & a “bad” guy is intent. The guy in Palm Beach was a good guy, till he pulled trigger. Want to fly and carry? Fly a charter! No tsa, no x ray, drive to plane & walk on.

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