Many of you may have heard about the Federal Flight Deck Officer/pilot who managed to fire his weapon in flight Wednesday before last. As someone who safely carries a firearm daily, I wondered, “how could something like this have happened?” What silly unsafe stuff was this pilot up to? I admit prematurely judging this pilot pretty harshly, at least in my head. I guess I was especially bothered because a high profile incident like this gets all the gun-haters crowing about how unsafe guns are.
Well, now the story is coming out. Our friends at Crime, Guns, and Videotape have an interesting post, with video. Read and watch the whole thing, but basically the TSA regulations require a padlock be placed through the trigger guard of the gun and holster every time the officer leaves the cockpit, such as to go to the head!!! The trigger hits the padlock, and BOOM! Now I’m not saying the pilot is completely without blame because any idiot remotely familiar with guns can immediately see this is a ridiculous setup and extra, extra care needs to be taken every time one inserts this lock.
Wow. I wonder if this was really just extreme stupidity on the TSA’s part, or if someone thought an accident like this could lead to scrapping the whole Federal Flight Deck Officer program. It’s really too extreme to seriously consider, but the TSA certainly seemed to do everything in their power to avoid and delay the program until their funding was in jeopardy, so it does make you wonder.
Also read this AJC article about Rep. John Mica of Florida explaining all this to Congress. A good question the pilots ask is why doesn’t the TSA “just use the same procedures [they] use for [their] own air marshals?” Yes, we’d like to know.