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CNN BREAKING NEWS

TSA Task Force Recommends Rules for Arming Pilots

Aired February 19, 2003 - 15:44   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to bring in our Patty Davis out of D.C. Just moments ago, we were telling you about the TSA recommending to the FAA that commercial pilots may carry guns in the cockpit now, but only under certain rules.
Patty, what more can you tell us. I mean, is this something that's going to happen right away?

PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you could see pilots with guns, Kyra, within a couple of months. In fact, Congress mandated that pilots could carry guns on a voluntary basis. That happened a few months ago, and today, the Transportation Security Administration, a task force, was recommending to the head of the Transportation Security Administration, Admiral James Loy, just how it will work.

Now, the TSA task force is recommending 48 hours of training for pilots. That is five straight days of training in using these guns. Now, they'll use .40 caliber semiautomatic pistols. The pilots will have to undergo background checks as well as psychological testing to make sure that they, for instance, won't freeze if they have to shoot that gun.

The TSA spokesperson told me that they want to make sure that if a pilot shoots a gun that they kill the intruder. Now, the pilot will have to stay in the cockpit with the gun. They cannot come out and use it in the plane. That's the air marshal's job.

The pilot will have to carry that gun in a holster in the cockpit, and when the flight lands and the shift is over, he or she must carry the gun in the holster inside a lock box in a nondescript bag.

We could see this training, I'm told, by late March, when it will start. Then five weeks -- or five days of training, and within the next couple of months, we will have pilots with guns. I'm told, at first we're going to see about 48 pilots being trained, and then it will escalate from there. But that will be about through the summer. It will have only about 48 pilots trained -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: So Patty, this is a done deal? The TSA is not just recommending to the FAA this proposal. I mean, this is going to happen, or can the FAA shoot this down?

DAVIS: Well, FAA has no role in this, actually. This was a Transportation Security Administration task force, and what they are doing is telling the head of the TSA, We've been working on this for months now. This is what we're recommending that you adopt. Next week is the deadline that Congress set to have all these rules in place for pilots with guns, and the head of the TSA then, next week, will put the recommendations forward to Congress, and that will be a done deal at that point.

Now, there is a possibility that the head of the Transportation Security Administration could change these a bit, but at this point, they are recommendations from a task force at the TSA to the head of the TSA, and will most likely stay in this form -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right. Patty Davis out of Washington. Once again, commercial pilots allowed to carry a gun in the cockpit under specific rules.

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