Passengers React To Arming Pilots

The Airline Pilots Association is pushing a proposal that would allow pilots to carry firearms.

It's a direct response to the recent terrorist hijackings and a move the union says could help prevent similar tragedies in the future. Currently, the Federal Aviation Administration prohibits pilots from being armed.

Anyone who's flown since the Sept. 11th attack is already familiar with various steps airports have already taken to tighten security. But allowing pilots to carry guns is something that hasn't been decided yet.

"I fly a lot. My daughter lives down here. This is my second trip down here in the last three months," said frequent flier, Phoenix Barker.

The Michigan resident doesn't mind the added inconvenience that comes with much tighter security at airport baggage checks. She also doesn't have a problem allowing armed security aboard airplanes.

"Armed federal agents I think would be fine. As far as pilots being armed, I guess they would be better to answer that question. It would be okay with me, as long as they know they've got to get them trained and they're in a position where they know what they have to do."

Airport security changes that resulted from the attack haven't bothered business traveler John Williams. He believes pilots should be allowed to arm themselves and says the presence of undercover armed air marshals could be a deterrent to crime in the air.

"Anytime, I think, if somebody wants to hijack a plane, I think if they know there's a probability of somebody in there amongst them, that's a pretty strong deterrent in itself. So, I'm very supportive of it," Williams said.

Several passengers say allowing pilots to carry firearms or placing armed marshals aboard airplanes is certainly worth considering, since they say, such armed security has already proven effective in other countries.

The pilots association took its proposal before Congress this week.  If approved, it would voluntarily allow pilots to carry firearms in the cockpit.

The pilots would use a special kind of bullet that disintegrates on impact and would not able to shoot a hole through an airplane.