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Armed Pilots Could Have Changed 9/11

September 19, 2002

"Congress Misses the Mark," your Sept. 15 editorial against arming pilots, confirms what many of us have long suspected: Your staff's knee-jerk opposition to gun ownership knows no boundaries. Do you seriously believe that 3,000 people would have died on 9/11 if American pilots, like their Israeli counterparts, had been armed?

In an era where many Americans--other than felons, wife-beaters, mental patients and California residents--can obtain licenses to carry concealed firearms, do you seriously believe that there are any people out there who can be trusted flying a commercial jetliner yet cannot be trusted with a firearm? Or is your anti-gun-owner hysteria so extreme that you would willingly trade 3,000 lives for the luxury of ideological consistency?

Jeff Bishop

Rancho Santa Margarita

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If the pilots on the four 9/11 flights had been armed, 3,000 people would still be alive. If the El Al Airlines ticket counter guard had not been armed at LAX, many more people would probably be dead. El Al pilots are armed and they have not been hijacked in decades. Where at The Times is the recognition of these simple, empirical truths?

Why would Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein back arming airline pilots? These two are staunchly anti-gun and have never folded on this issue from political pressure. They have resolutely refused to recognize every sensible argument in favor of guns as tools for self-defense--until now. Why now? Just maybe because they recognize that the only way to quickly increase security aboard airliners is to train and arm the pilots.

Sam Brunstein

Burbank

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