Pilots Packing Heat

Surprising everyone, advocates are winning the fight to let pilots take guns into the cockpit

For nearly a year, Washington's mushrooming aviation-security apparatus has concentrated on keeping anything that looks remotely like a weapon off airplanes. A G.I. Joe's toy gun. A granny's knitting needle. Everyone's nail clippers. Yet now the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is on the verge of a curious reversal. Next month the U.S. Senate is expected to pass legislation authorizing pilots to carry guns on planes.

A combination of government bungling, rare cohesion among airline unions, a push from the enthusiastic National Rifle Association and a little-known historical precedent for cockpit guns has turned an idea few thought would pass into a...

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