S. 2546 (107th): Arming Pilots Against Terrorism Act

107th Congress, 2001–2002. Text as of Jun 04, 2002 (Reference Change).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

S 2546 RCS

107th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 2546

To amend title 49, United States Code, to establish a program for Federal flight deck officers, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 22, 2002

Mr. THURMOND introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Armed Services

June 4, 2002

Committee discharged; referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation


A BILL

To amend title 49, United States Code, to establish a program for Federal flight deck officers, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Arming Pilots Against Terrorism Act’.

SEC. 2. FEDERAL FLIGHT DECK OFFICER PROGRAM.

    (a) IN GENERAL- Subchapter I of chapter 449 of title 49, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

‘Sec. 44921. Federal flight deck officer program

    ‘(a) ESTABLISHMENT- Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Under Secretary of Transportation for Security shall establish a program to deputize qualified volunteer pilots of passenger aircraft as Federal law enforcement officers to defend the flight decks of aircraft of air carriers engaged in air transportation or intrastate air transportation against acts of criminal violence or air piracy. Such officers shall be known as ‘Federal flight deck officers’. The program shall be administered in connection with the Federal air marshal program.

    ‘(b) QUALIFIED PILOT- Under the program, a qualified pilot is a pilot of an aircraft engaged in air transportation or intrastate air transportation who--

      ‘(1) is employed by an air carrier;

      ‘(2) has demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Under Secretary fitness to be a Federal flight deck officer under the program; and

      ‘(3) has been the subject of an employment investigation (including a criminal history record check) under section 44936(a)(1).

    ‘(c) TRAINING, SUPERVISION, AND EQUIPMENT- The Under Secretary of Transportation for Security shall provide training, supervision, and equipment necessary for a qualified pilot to be a Federal flight deck officer under this section at no expense to the pilot or the air carrier employing the pilot.

    ‘(d) DEPUTIZATION-

      ‘(1) IN GENERAL- The Under Secretary shall deputize, as a Federal flight deck officer under this section, any qualified pilot who submits to the Under Secretary a request to be such an officer.

      ‘(2) INITIAL DEPUTIZATION- Not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Under Secretary shall deputize not fewer than 500 qualified pilots who are former military or law enforcement personnel as Federal flight deck officers under this section.

      ‘(3) FULL IMPLEMENTATION- Not later than 24 months after the date of enactment of this section, the Under Secretary shall deputize any qualified pilot as a Federal flight deck officer under this section.

    ‘(e) COMPENSATION- Pilots participating in the program under this section shall not be eligible for compensation from the Federal Government for services provided as a Federal flight deck officer.

    ‘(f) AUTHORITY TO CARRY FIREARMS- The Under Secretary shall authorize a Federal flight deck officer under this section to carry a firearm while engaged in providing air transportation or intrastate air transportation.

    ‘(g) AUTHORITY TO USE FORCE- Notwithstanding section 44903(d), a Federal flight deck officer may use force (including lethal force) against an individual in the defense of an aircraft in air transportation or intrastate air transportation if the officer reasonably believes that the security of the aircraft is at risk.

    ‘(h) LIMITATION ON LIABILITY-

      ‘(1) LIABILITY OF AIR CARRIERS- An air carrier shall not be liable for damages in any action brought in a Federal or State court arising out of the air carrier employing a pilot of an aircraft who is a Federal flight deck officer under this section or out of the acts or omissions of the pilot in defending an aircraft of the air carrier against acts of criminal violence or air piracy.

      ‘(2) LIABILITY OF FEDERAL FLIGHT DECK OFFICERS- A Federal flight deck officer shall not be liable for damages in any action brought in a Federal or State court arising out of the acts or omissions of the officer in defending an aircraft against acts of criminal violence or air piracy unless the officer is guilty of gross negligence or willful misconduct.

    ‘(i) REGULATIONS- Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Under Secretary, in consultation with the Firearms Training Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, shall issue regulations to carry out this section.

    ‘(j) PILOT DEFINED- The term ‘pilot’ means an individual responsible for the operation of aircraft.’.

    (b) CONFORMING AMENDMENTS-

      (1) CHAPTER ANALYSIS- The analysis for such chapter is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 44920 the following:

      ‘44921. Federal flight deck officer program.’.

      (2) EMPLOYMENT INVESTIGATIONS- Section 44936(a)(1)(B) is amended--

        (A) by aligning clause (iii) with clause (ii);

        (B) by striking ‘and’ at the end of clause (iii);

        (C) by striking the period at the end of clause (iv) and inserting ‘; and’; and

        (D) by adding at the end the following:

      ‘(v) qualified pilots who are deputized as Federal flight deck officers under section 44921.’.

      (3) FLIGHT DECK SECURITY- Section 128 of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (Public Law 107-71) is repealed.