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    Another AmBush

    Published: Friday, May 24, 2002

    We have been amBushed again! Once again, President Bush has decided to betray his constituents. Despite the fact that it was the gun rights issue that made the difference in the 2000 presidential election, Bush told airline pilots this week they could not carry side arms in the cockpits. So much for Bush's "commitment" to the Second Amendment.

    Outside law enforcement officers, no group of Americans is more qualified to carry personal firearms than airline pilots. The vast majority of commercial pilots came out of the U.S. Armed Forces. Many of them are combat veterans. They have received some of the most rigorous training any group of people could ever receive. Many (if not most) of them at one time or another have been awarded "expert" classification for their handgun proficiency.

    Furthermore, airline pilots are among the most highly regulated and most intensely scrutinized people in the country. After all, hundreds of thousands of Americans trust these pilots with their lives and the lives of their loved ones (both in the air and on the ground) every single day.

    In spite of the fact that airline pilots are among the most trusted and capable people in the nation and in spite of the fact that they are already responsible for the safety of thousands of people, George W. Bush does not trust them to carry pistols into the cockpits. Instead, in the event of another hijacking, Bush would scramble a fighter jet to shoot down the commercial plane.

    However, before we start using U.S. military fighters to shoot down American commercial airliners, let's try this solution: divide the entire airline industry into two groups. One group consists of armed airline pilots. The other group consists of unarmed pilots. Then, let the flying public choose the flights they prefer. No, that wouldn't work because people would not be depending upon the federal government for their safety.

    It should be obvious to everyone that the issue is not public safety; it is government control! Bush suffers from the same disease that infects most in Washington, D.C. He has succumbed to the fallacious belief that only government should be allowed to protect and defend people. If these pilots were all federal employees, they would be required to carry firearms. After all, even entry-level federal guards are allowed (even required) to carry firearms when guarding federal buildings. In like fashion, federal marshals are allowed to carry guns on airliners, but civilian pilots are not. The facts speak for themselves: our government leaders (including President Bush) do not trust the American people (no matter who they are) to defend themselves.

    Unfortunately, many so-called pro-gun groups (such as the N.R.A.) continue to give cover for Bush and refuse to take him to task for this despotic decision. Like most conservative organizations, the N.R.A. refuses to hold this Republican favored son accountable to the same principles of freedom that they hold Democrats to. Therefore, in the end, more liberties are lost and more lives are put at risk.

    © Chuck Baldwin

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