Arming Pilots

Pilots say certification to carry guns in cockpits is too slow

Pilots say they aren't being certified quickly enough to carry guns in cockpits. And some say it's because the Transportation Security Administration never really wanted the program in the first place.

Pilots who monitor the program estimate that between four thousand and 45-hundred have been trained and deputized to carry guns since the Federal Flight Deck Officer program began in 2003. That's about triple the number from a year ago, but it's just a fraction of the 95-thousand who fly for US airlines. Program supporters say the Bush administration still is making it unnecessarily difficult for crews to get the certification. They say the process can take two months to a year.

The TSA initially opposed the program saying there were alternatives, but the agency reluctantly endorsed the idea when it was clear Congress was behind it.