(CNSNews.com) - The time has come for Congress to start "slicing up" the Transportation Security Administration for the sake of national security -- and for the safety of pilots, crews, and passengers, said a pro-Second Amendment group.
"The TSA has been dragging its feet...in implementing a national mandate for the arming of airline pilots," said John Michael Snyder of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
It's gotten to the point, Snyder said, "that one cannot help thinking that the interests of the nation would be better served if this responsibility is taken out of the hands of the agency."
Snyder is public affairs director of CCRKBA, and his argument in favor of breaking up the TSA can be found in the current issue of Point Blank, a monthly CCRKBA publication.
Snyder says in the post-Sept. 11 world, pilots must be able to carry and use guns to protect themselves, their crews, their passengers, their cargoes, and their aircraft.
"This seems like a no-brainer to anyone with an ounce of common sense," he said. "If TSA cannot or will not get it, then it's time to start dumping on the TSA."
As CNSNews.com first reported last month, a number of pilots have expressed concern about the armed pilots program -- including the way pilots are required to transport their weapons.
They also have complained about TSA-administered background investigations, psychological examinations, and the release of personal information about applicants; and about the remote location of the program's single training facility -- in Artesia, N.M.
The bottom line, several pilots told CNSNews.com, is that TSA has never liked the idea of arming pilots, and even under orders from Congress to do so, it is making the process more cumbersome and discouraging than it needs to be.
Snyder is among those who say it is time for Congress to take a serious look at the functions, activities and personnel policies of the TSA.
CCRKBA is "most heartened by reports that Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky and Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina plan to take the bull by the horns following the Presidents' Day congressional recess, Snyder said.
As CNSNews.com reported, Rep. Wilson plans to introduce legislation to force major changes in the TSA program. The proposal would remove most of the TSA's influence over the armed-pilots program (formally known as the Federal Flight Deck Officer program). Sen. Jim Bunning is expected to introduce an identical bill in the Senate.
"It's time for Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to make sure TSA implements fully the intent of Congress regarding the arming of qualified airline pilots or for Congress to step into the matter and maybe step hard on the toes of the foot-draggers," he said.
CCRKBA says it is dedicated to preserving firearms freedom through active lobbying of elected officials and facilitating grass-roots organization of gun right activists in local communities throughout the United States.
See Earlier Stories:
Thousands of Pilots Won't Fly Armed, Blame TSA (15 Jan. 2004)
Exclusive: TSA's Email Threat 'Last Straw' for Congressman (26 Jan. 2004)
Ridge Unaware of TSA's Threatening Email to Armed Pilots (2 Feb. 2004)
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