Monday, March 31, 2008

Did TSA Idiocy Cause Airline Gun Mishap?

(h/t The Michael Bane Blog)
Last week this story caused a mini-sensation when a pilot that had qualified through the "Federal Flight Deck Officer" program had an "accidental discharge." Take a look at the weapon and holster the program MANDATES for each FFDO. A LOCK through the TRIGGER GUARD?


I've been carrying a handgun for over 20 years now, and if ANYONE mandated that I should put ANYTHING in the trigger guard of MY weapon I would have immediately looked into seeing that THEY no longer carried a weapon. Anyone who is knowledgeable about firearms knows that the trigger is to NEVER be TOUCHED unless the weapon is to be fired SOON, as in IMMEDIATELY. This holster requires that a metal bar be threaded through the trigger guard of a double action pistol and worn on the hip. I'm FLOORED to think that this is the FIRST time something like this has happened.

And that lock that TSA mandates be threaded through the holster? It isn't even secure. Here's a video on how to pick it in seconds:

Paul Huebl of CrimeFileNews broke the story of how this holster and weapon were made for mishap back in December 2007.
It was only a matter of time before there’d be an accidental, non-negligent discharge of a Federal Flight Deck Officer’s weapon. Saturday a U.S. Airways pilot’s gun discharged on Flight 1536, which left Denver at approximately 6:45am and arrived in Charlotte at approximately 11:51am. The Airbus A319 plane landed safely and thankfully none of the flight’s 124 passengers or five crew members was injured

The insane procedures required by the TSA demands that our pilots to lock and then un-lock their .40 side arms was and is a solid recipe for disaster. Did the TSA deliberately create this bizarre and unconventional Rube Goldberg firearm retention system hoping for this result? The sordid history of the FAA and TSA’s total resistance to the concept of arming pilots to protect Americans is in itself a scandal.

Putting a gun into a holster and then threading a padlock through the trigger and trigger-guard is required every time the pilots enter or leave the cockpit. This kind of silliness has never been forced on any law enforcement or security officers anywhere in the world until now. Before this holster padlock procedure pilots with guns were forced to carry them around in a cumbersome 22 pound vault. The vault caused problems in the confined space of most cockpits.

FFDO pilots need to carry their side arms in conventional concealed holsters and there is no reason for the unnecessary handling of their firearms in the cockpits.

Huebl then made a video explaining how the discharge probably happened.

I have to say, this reeks of someone wanting to sabotage the process of arming pilots. No one can be THIS stupid, can they?

Here's a bit of a clue from the CBS item at the time:
The TSA initially opposed the Flight Deck Officer program to arm and train cockpit personnel. Agency officials worried that introducing a weapon to commercial flights was dangerous and that other security improvements made it unnecessary. Congress and pilots backed the program.

"The TSA has never been real supportive of this program," said Mike Boyd, who runs the Colorado-based aviation consulting firm The Boyd Group. "It's something I think Congress kind of put on them."

Stupidity or deliberate sabotage?

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