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Vote set on compromise plan for guns in cockpit

Vote set on compromise plan for guns in cockpit

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A House panel is poised to approve a bill on Wednesday that would allow commercial jetliner pilots to carry guns in the cockpit.

Republicans and Democrats on the House Transportation Aviation Subcommittee reached a compromise Tuesday night on the measure, which authorizes a two-year test program involving as many as 1,400 commercial airline pilots.

The subcommittee is expected to vote on the measure Wednesday afternoon.

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The two-year period would begin only after 250 pilots had been deputized as federal flight deck officers allowed to carry firearms.

After two years, the Transportation Security Administration would be required to report to Congress. The TSA could then decide whether to continue the program.

As part of the compromise, flight attendants would get separate self-defense training.

"We have the votes to pass the House," said Gary Burns, a spokesman for the aviation subcommittee chairman, Rep. John Mica, R-Florida. Burns said the compromise is not only intended to get House Democrats on board, but also to try to overcome strong opposition from some Senate Democrats.

Under the House bill, pilots must undergo training and demonstrate proficiency with firearms comparable with federal air marshals. The TSA would be decide what type of guns and ammunition pilots would use and where the guns would be stored.

The Transportation Security Administration opposes guns in the cockpit. But it is studying whether to allow pilots to have stun guns or "Tasers." Currently, the TSA is the final arbiter of the issue.

The bill in the House and one in the Senate would take away TSA's authority to decide the issue and give it to Congress.




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