Should Commercial Pilots and Officers Be Armed?


I happened to be sitting next to a first officer of a major airline on my flight home from Canada this past Friday and we discussed the issue of sidearms in the flight deck.  I was somewhat surprised by his answer.  He was not at all in favor of this practice mostly due to the fact that there is not enough weapons training.  That seems strange to me.  Shouldn’t weapons training be mandatory for all pilots and officers on commercial flights?  But he went on, he was much more in favor of air marshals who train constantly in these types of small, contained, situations.  The likelihood of their being trouble on a long flight is greater than on a short flight.  There is much merit to this argument.  But I explained that since ultimately the safety of the passengers is in the hands of the pilots and officers, it makes sense to me that there be training consistent with this type of responsibility.  Either argument is justified and there really is no right or wrong answer here.  It really is a matter of opinion.  Speculation is problematic at best but something I have always thought about since that horrible day; had the flight crews been armed and trained on September 11, 2001 would the outcome have been different?

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