The Bush administration, never enthusiastic about arming airline pilots against terrorists, has so impeded the congressionally mandated plan that new legislation is being introduced to force action.
Republican Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, who contends "one roadblock after another" has been set up by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), is introducing a bill with an expected 50 co-sponsors to correct this. Similar legislation is being introduced by Republican Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky.
The principal complaints with the TSA are its requirements that firearms be contained in lock boxes when the pilot leaves the cockpit and that the pilots authorized to use the weapons must undergo psychological testing.
NEW HOUSE BATTLEFIELD
The unexpected decision by Rep. Jennifer Dunn not to seek a seventh term from her suburban Seattle district changes a sure seat from the small Republican House majority to a hotly contested seat.
While Dunn's re-election would have been assured, nothing now is certain in a district that was carried by Al Gore in 2000. The Democrat unopposed so far for the nomination is Alex Alben, a dot-com millionaire self-funding his candidacy. The leading Republican to replace Dunn is King County Sheriff David Reichert, but conservatives would prefer radio talk-show host John Carlson.
Dunn was a member of the House Republican leadership until her unsuccessful bid to become majority leader for the 1999 session of Congress. An early backer of George W. Bush for president, she was discussed as a possible Cabinet member following the 2000 election.