Packing Heat on Planes

Your pilot just may be packing heat when he alerts you to put your trays in an upright position the next time you fly.

The U.S. government is seeking international support to let pilots carry guns on overseas flights, according to USA Today.

Conan Bruce, spokesman for the Federal Air Marshals Service, said that there's a threat internationally and they want to work toward arming pilots. The Department of Homeland Security and the State Department predict that they'll have a hard time convincing some countries, particularly Sweden, to participate. READ MORE

FNC wants to know what YOU think — should pilots be armed on overseas flights? Write to us at and tell us your opinion!

Here's What FOX Fans Are Saying:

“Absolutely, all pilots should be able to carry a concealed handgun for protection. If they are qualified to be pilots and make decisions and judgments that affect the lives of hundreds of passengers, they are easily qualified to make decisions about self defense. They would need some basic training and practice, perhaps a prequalification as occasionally as military personnel do, but they should be allowed to arm themselves if they have the desire. Pilots have to be at least as stable and qualified as any police officer, or county sheriff deputy.” — Dean (Lawrence, KS)

“It's about time pilots on overseas flights got armed. The more armed pilots the better, on both overseas and domestic flights.” — Jason (Helena, MT)

“Yes! As far as I'm concerned, they should be armed on every flight. Then maybe people like me will be willing to get back on an airplane again.” — Donna (Tracy, CA)

“Absolutely! When will the left accept the fact that armed citizens are safe citizens? If the pilots and crew of the four aircrafts taken over on 9/11 had firearms, they might have thwarted the attack. One could argue that guns pose a threat to the aircraft, but if a terrorist is going to turn the aircraft into a flying bomb, at least give the crew a fighting chance at resisting. The plane may go down anyway, but the lives of thousands on the ground might be spared.” — Nick

“Allow passengers possessing CCW permits to pack heat too, with frangible bullets for safety.” — Joe

“A pilot is the captain of the ship and has the responsibility to make sure all are safe and secure on their vessel. I believe that pilots should be armed on flights, particularly if there a no (armed) Sky Marshals on board. But more important, pilots should receive training on when and how best to use weapons on an aircraft, i.e., shoot as a last resort and then only to disable, not kill.” — Mike (Tampa, FL)

“When I first started air travel (1945) most airline pilots carried a weapon. I believe under the conditions passengers face with terrorist threats, pilot's should carry a fire arm for both domestic as well as overseas flights.” — Fred

“I do not think that it's a smart idea. Any possible attack would come from within passenger compartment. An area where not only would-be attackers exist but also flight attendants (coworkers and friends of pilots). A situation of give me the gun or I will harm the flight attendants could occur. A ready made environment is created.” — Jim (Telluride, CO)

“If the host country and the pilots agree to the rules governing carrying weapons into their jurisdiction, then yes. Why is this even a question?” — Joe

“Pilots should absolutely be allowed to be armed on both domestic and international flights. Knowing that they would face armed pilots on the other side of the cockpit door is a powerful deterrent to terrorists armed only with whatever they can smuggle through airport screening. The right to be armed should come with appropriate training, but not with a training harassment program — one designed to discourage pilots from stepping up to the plate to assist in assuring the safety of the flying public.” — Brant

“Yes, pilots should be armed whether flying local or overseas. And pilots should have a way to call for help from the Air Marshal without having to announce it over the intercom.” — Jeff

“Giving Marshals or pilots guns is even worse then leaving them unarmed. If you have a group of individuals that are not afraid to die, even unarmed, they will simply mob you at once. Now you just put that weapon in their hands. The solution is simple and already in place. A door. The pilots are unreachable and should do their job, fly the plane. Regardless of what is going on in the passenger compartment — that's the attendants job. If the attendant can't handle it, there's nothing that a gun to is going to help with.” — Keet

“Arm all pilots with military background and or proper training.” — Pastor Dave

“Sure, pilots should be armed in the cockpit, regardless of flying domestic or international routes. It probably wouldn't hurt having an armed individual in plain view in the aircraft. Anything we can do to deter harming innocent people gets my vote. I will be flying from Houston to Paris and then Rome next week. My goal is to get there and back, while still in one piece.” — Dawn

“I support a policy of arming crew members who are properly trained and certified under the existing program, whether domestically or internationally. We are at war with a stealthy group of radicals and terrorists, worldwide, who will not allow any law or policy to prevent their (Radicals and Terrorists) attempts to kill and/or maim for their purposes. Crew members must have the capability to defend against an aircraft takeover at any time.” — Ralph

“I have taken a car or bus to do my traveling since 9/11. Were pilots to be armed, and more Air Marshals assigned to flights, I would feel safe enough to travel by plane again. I also believe the restrictions on law-abiding citizens to carry firearms on a plane should be lessened.” — Sebastian (Hillsborough, NC)

“Since the firearms do not leave the aircraft, it is not the legitimate concern of anyone other than agencies of the USA. I guarantee you that Israeli flights come and go with armed personnel on board and no one questions their sovereign right to do so. If countries such as Sweden don't like it, discontinue air service to and from them. Who cares whether they like it or not? They certainly need our air services more than we need their passengers. And to acknowledge that international flights DON'T have armed Federal Flight Deck Officers on board is akin to painting signs on affected aircraft saying "Hijack us, we're unarmed and terrorist-friendly." Sheesh...” — Buck (Georgia)

“Absolutely, the pilots should be armed on overseas flights.” — Joan

“Yes. The more law abiding citizens that are armed, the less likely the bad guys will risk a confrontation. There should also be provision for passengers with concealed weapons permits to carry on domestic flights.” — Reg

“I am a pilot and a firearms owner for much of my 58 years. Airline pilots should definitely be armed to protect the public in a last resort scenario. Had the pilots involved with the 9-11 events been armed there would have most certainly been a different outcome. The captain of the airliner is by federal laws the decision maker on all flights when it comes to flight operations and the safety of the flying public. He knows the aircraft and the safety issues involved with weapons on board. Trust him to do what is appropriate.” — Norm (Seffner, FL)

“As long as they are well trained, I would support the idea. They should also have to submit to a regular scheduled psychological test. ” — Ed (Central Point, OR)

“No, I don't agree with this. They are bus drivers with over inflated egos. It just insures a gun made it through security and is on the plane. If the pilot can not ever exit the cabin who is armed I might agree. If he exits the cabin it allows access to him. What about the idea that he is moving around the airport with a weapon and loses control in the secured areas of the airport? Basic military training tells and teaches you if a weapon is in arms reach it is difficult to use it to defend or attack.” — Steve C.

“Pilots on all commercial flights, international and domestic should be equipped to defend an aircraft and passengers. If they are competent to fly a plane they are most likely to be competent to be armed.” — Fred

“I believe it is a GREAT idea — any pilot, on either domestic or international flights, who is willing to go through the training, should be able to carry a firearm.” — Linda (Minnetonka, MN)

“I'm all for American pilots being armed on international flights. Most of them have been pilots in the U.S. military and have already had small arms training. I would feel safer if I knew the pilots were armed and the flight also had an American Sky Marshall on board.” — David (Iowa)

“Should pilots be armed? Possibly. Should the federal government pass a law requiring that pilots be armed? Absolutely not! Why not, for a change, let the airlines that own the planes and pay the pilots decide how much security they want and which measures to take? Then the market will tell the airlines how much security people want on their planes, instead of the feds tinkering in the market and screwing everything up as usual.” — Allen (Phoenix, AZ)

“Of course pilots should be armed, if they wish to be, while they fly. But so should anyone legally allowed to own a firearm. If a terrorist knows only the pilot may be armed, he may think of another way to carry out his plans, but if he does not know if the passenger next to him, across the aisle, or behind him is carrying a gun he may have to think of another type of transportation to attack.” — William

“Yes, arm the pilots not only on all overseas flights but all domestic flights too. If they are trainable enough to fly a plane then they should be trainable enough to be armed.” — Quent (Huntingdon, TN)

“I think all pilots should be armed. The government has been dragging it feet on this too long or we would already be there.” — Art

“Of course. And they should be armed on domestic flights as well. Maybe we should also allow all passengers who can legally carry a firearm to do so on domestic flights. I, for one, feel much safer knowing the pilot and at least a few passengers have recourse against would-be hijackers” — Wayne

“Definitely! Yes! We are entrusting the blessed pilots with our safety, even our lives, when we travel; more when we board international flights. With all the 'crazies' in the world today, I gladly sacrifice quick boarding and do not mind the securities I have to go through. Arming the pilots would only increase my sense of safety and well being. ” — Charlene

“Yes, Yes, Yes! This is a no brainer. They should be given deputy Air Marshal status to carry and they must take stress fire training and re-qualify at given intervals.” — Tom (Hawaii)

“As a former Marine and a retired cop, if I were flying, and a hijacker tried to take over the plane I would prefer to be able to shoot back myself. Not having this option, I would prefer to have the pilot have the opportunity to handle the situation instead of being shot out of the sky by F 15s, FA 18s, or the FA22 Raptor, which is now in the pipeline. The pilot may not be perfect, but survival chances are infinitely better with the pilot taking out the hijackers than with the civilian aircraft being shot out of the sky!” — Tom

“My family and I have not flown since Sept. 11, 2001. We were hopeful that we could resume flying when the program to arm pilots was started. I can think of nothing more important to passengers on airlines than allowing pilots to be armed. This, along with stouter cockpit doors, will give would-be terrorists pause. If they breach the cockpit door, they will be shot. If they don't breach the cockpit door, the passengers will overpower them and probably kill them. However, until I am sure that the vast majority of pilots are armed, I will drive instead of fly wherever I need to go, and will not fly overseas.” — D

“Absolutely! Pilots on overseas flights should be armed! Moreover, along with the (limited number of) Air Marshals in the airliner cabins, U.S. citizens who have been thoroughly background-checked (i.e., those with active high-level security clearances) should be offered the opportunity to volunteer and be formally trained as Air Marshals, deputized (much like the U.S. federal agent program), and also be armed on flights. This resource pool of literally tens of thousands of security-cleared individuals who air-travel daily could supplement the relatively small number of overworked Air Marshals.” — Gary (New Mexico)

“I'm all for it, but if the federal government mandates it, stop making the pilots pay for the training themselves while making them do it on their own time!” — David

“Not only should the pilots be armed, the passengers should be also!! You're given METAL knives and forks while in the air, and those are weapons, so ... I'll have the Glock 7, and peanuts!” — John

“I've flown on many airlines. After September 11, America needed to take control of the security on airplanes. When you consider that maniacs with box cutters inflicted death on those unfortunate passengers and destruction to the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, it makes sense to take command not only of the controls on the plane but the safety and security of the passengers. It makes ultimate sense for pilots to carry firearms.” — Tony (Apopka, FL)

“It should be up to the individual on whether or not they carry a weapon. If everyone is armed the politeness factor is elevated immensely. People use the limits placed upon them by others if no self discipline is required of them. If self discipline is required, they behave accordingly. That is to say, self discipline is the best discipline.” — Arvid

“After numerous terrorist plots to hijack and crash transatlantic flights have been discovered and (so far) foiled without incident, it makes sense for pilots on international flights to be armed, in order to protect themselves and innocent passengers against a future 9-11 attempt, especially for flights from Middle Eastern countries where a terrorist might be able to sneak a weapon past an airport security checkpoint. As a safety precaution, the guns they carry should be powerful enough to kill an attacker at close range, but not strong enough that a missed shot would cause cabin depressurization, putting all passengers at risk.” — Steve

“Arm the pilots with firearms and let the attendants have tazers.” — CW

“The pilot is responsible for his passengers; it only makes since for him/her to be armed to protect the passengers. Think about it, if the pilot wanted to kill people, wouldn't't they just crash the plane? Also the Second Amendment states that your rights to bear arms shall not be infringed, written by people who knew what that meant, unlike our 'educated' public of today.” — Tim

“The NRA will be pleased with this one! We seem to figure than the only solution to a problem is to arm ourselves or send in the military. Personally, I would not feel comfortable to have the pilots be armed on a plane. I'd rather that they concentrate on flying the plane as a first priority. When a relative told me she had a gun in her suitcase I asked her to put the gun in her car or that she wasn't welcome as a guest in my house. I would probably do the same thing when deciding which airline to book a flight on. One that was 'gun free' would get my business! ” — Gil

“If were up to me, not one flight would leve the ground unless there WERE an armed cockpit crew on board. The pilot and first officer are the final line of defense in protecting the plane and its passengers. Arming them should be mandatory, and the TSA should obey the law as defined by Congress.” — Dene

“Enabling commercial pilots to carry side arms makes sense. Given appropriate training regarding handgun use and tactics in the cabin area of an airliner, I believe pilots should be strongly encouraged to carry a sidearm. The greater the number of armed pilots in commercial airliner cockpits the more any terrorists contemplating hijacking a commercial airliner would have to recognize two primary probabilities; (1)they will probably not be able to smuggle a lethal weapon onto a commercial flight, (2) even if they do, there is a likelihood that the fortified cockpit will be defended by at least one armed crew member. A fortified cockpit populated with armed crew members makes an opportunity to take over the cockpit so remote and hazardous that it is no longer an appealing target. Armed pilots make commercial air travel safer. It is a practice that should be encouraged but not required.” — Charlie

“You mean they haven't already been armed?” — Mike

“Armed cockpits are a proactive step toward preventing another 9/11 situation. Proactive management is far preferable to reactive management.” — J (Dallas, TX)

“Yes, pilots should be allowed to carry weapons! Pilots know more about their aircraft than most anyone on board. They will have a better idea on when and where to fire a weapon than anyone. I say let them have weapons to defend the aircraft and passengers they are responsible for. It would be good to allow them to wear protective vests, carry tazers and pack low powered fire arms. It would also be good to supply them with several pair of handcuffs with restraining points built-in to several spots within the aircraft.” — Decal

“Yes, pilots should be armed, but only after they have received proper training and qualify to carry a weapon. This goes for any flights, international or domestic. There should be a system for checking the weapons in and out at the airline's facilities at each airport and the weapons should be available only during the flights, so there would no perceived 'threat' to any foreign populace. For those countries that still would have a problem with that, just don't fly there anymore.” — Phil (Rensselaer, NY)

“Having armed pilots on every flight is the only logical approach to having the ability to protect themselves, an inalienable right, as well as protect those on the flight who have been forced into the role of multiple victims in one spot for the predators of this world.” — CP

“I think that all airline pilots should carry a gun. Maybe even all corporate style charter pilots. We are dealing with the devil himself, and sometimes you must fight fire with fire. As a private pilot, I know the risks involved when guns are fired on a plane. However, they are far less dangerous than having the terrorists at the controls.” — Ashley (Quincy, FL)