Vote set on compromise bill for guns in cockpit
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A House subcommittee supported a bill Wednesday that would allow commercial jetliner pilots to carry guns in the cockpit.
The measure goes on to the full House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which is scheduled to vote on the guns in the cockpit bill next Wednesday.
"We have the votes to pass the House," said a spokesman for Rep. John Mica, R-Florida, chairman of the House Transportation and Aviation Subcommittee.
Republicans and Democrats on the subcommittee had reached a compromise Tuesday night on the measure, which authorizes a two-year test program involving as many as 1,400 commercial airline pilots.
Mica's spokesman, Gary Burns, said the compromise is not only intended to get House Democrats on board, but also to try to overcome strong opposition expected from some Senate Democrats.
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 to continue, terminate or expand the pilot gun program.
As part of the compromise, flight attendants would get separate self-defense training.
Under the House bill, pilots must undergo training and demonstrate proficiency with firearms comparable to that required of federal air marshals. The TSA would decide what type of guns and ammunition pilots would use and where the guns would be stored.
The TSA 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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