Time to Arm Airline Passengers?

November 23, 2010 05:11

In the war against jihadist terror, civilians have on different occasions been the first, the last, and even the most effective line of defense.

By Denis Keohane at American Thinker


As opposed to the increasingly absurd steps being taken to identify and keep weapons off commercial aircraft, it would be advisable and practical to identify and empower volunteer counter-terrorists among the passengers, initially at least on domestic flights or on international flights by domestic carriers. This could even extend to arming those passengers on the aircraft.

Volunteers could agree to place themselves under the command of flight crews and to accept any seat they are asked to occupy, in understanding that there could be situations in which the crew would deem it a proper precaution to have such a volunteer or volunteers seated in close proximity to a possible threat.

Local law enforcement can take applications in much the same way that dozens of states do now for concealed carry handgun permits. State and local police conduct thorough background checks, including of federal databases, to rule out the undesirable or even merely the questionable.

In devising the 9-11 attacks, al-Qaeda planners no doubt took into account that on a commercial aircraft, a few men with common box cutters would be the most heavily armed force on board.

The presence of volunteers on the aircraft who will stay alert during the flight, will take direction from the crew, are prepared to act immediately, and are willing and capable of physically engaging with an enemy will enhance the security of passengers and crew while presenting an impediment to terror planners and terrorists.


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