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Southwest Pilot Arrested With Loaded Gun In St. Louis Airport

ST. LOUIS (CBSLA) – A 51-year-old Southwest Airlines pilot has been arrested in St. Louis Lambert International Airport after a loaded pistol was found in his carry-on bags early Wednesday morning, according to airport officials. A TSA agent discovered a loaded 9mm pistol in the pilot’s luggage during screening, the airport said. The pilot was detained before 5 a.m. local time and charged with unlawful use of a weapon. “The suspect did not have any conceal and carry permit or any other… ( 기타...

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1BabyGirl 29
I remember the days when we as airline employees did not have to go through security at all (BUR & LAX)
Sure wish we were living back in the day when people lived right and had a sense of decency and caring about others.
sparkie624 14
I remember those days... The Good Ole days... So much has changed an much not for the better!
btweston 10
The good old days... Slave ownership, child labor, actual witch hunts...

Why is the world so wicked nowadays?
jbermo 2
Your cynical sarcasm made me laugh!
bbabis 0
It hasn't really changed much. All those still go on today. The Houston Texans consider themselves slaves to their owner, 11 year olds cut Whitehouse lawns, and Robert Mueller is trying to bag his limit on witches.
What does this have to do with the story???
Did I miss something in the story? Was Robert Mueller at St. Louis arresting this dumb first officer????
Exactly! Some people feel the need to politicize everything! Sad......
Nuthin' whatsoever.
Huh? What has changed? Still millions of slaves on the planet (the world needs ditch diggers), still child labor (China, India and so many others)...and still actual persecution. It is not going to change...never will.
1bg..i remember those days as well..but then there was that incident with the airline employee in California who knew all the security people (this was in the 70's prior to tsa),who just waved him by the checkpoint with his employee id,and he proceeded to shoot the flight attendant,barge into the cockpit and shoot the flight deck crew,bringing the plane down..if I remember correctly,he had just been fired and was on a revenge/suicide mission..after that, the faa changed the rules for airline employees and their entrance into the gate area..decency and caring aside,i never minded the checkpoint,even before tsa...
It was a bit more recent than you recall:
It also resulted in Chevron's policy change to make VIP groups take separate planes, if I recall correctly.
srobak 1
And now almost all companies do this
All but the group on MH370....
The FAA did not change the employee screening rules. It was Elizabeth Dole as Secretary of Transportation. After this tragedy she demanded that FLIGHT CREWS go through security screening even though the flight crews on that aircraft had nothing to do with it's loss. However security screening for all other airport employees did not change, even though they WERE responsible for the demise of PSA 1771. That policy still stands today, with the exception that if a employee wants to travel they must go through screening.
And that's the distinction - if a malcontent, jihadi for example, becomes flight crew, weapons are largely irrelevant - once in the cockpit, they can kill everyone on board, like that nutcase over the Alps a few years back.
Groundcrew, on the other hand need to be be screened before going airside, in inverse proportion to the degree of care with which they are hired. (Somalis at MSP, anybody?)
Largely true. However, all crew members have to go through TSA security like a passenger (although they sometimes use special lanes for quicker access)before boarding their aircraft. If you are a FFDO, there is a special area and handling for you to go through by yourself, not as a whole crew. Both crew members when initially hired and more importantly once hired and given FFDO status, you have been "extremely vetted" with extensive psych and criminal background checks. Not saying it cannot ever happen, but the flight crew and FFDOs are likely the most trusted and vetted people on the airplane.
Again, not saying it is not possible but I highly doubt there are Somalis capable of going through years of pilot training and checks to make it in to the cockpit of a US carrier. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, they do not even have a national airline in that, no need for pilots
What country is this you refer to? Last I know, the only home for a Jihadist is their version of 'heaven'. Fact is, we need to do more PROFILING in every aspect of western life, in every western nation.
I wish we were living in a world where people "lived right and had a sense of decency and caring for others", yes, but you probably wouldn't necessarily find it 'back in the day', outside of our imaginations ;)
Uh..when was that exactly?
No kidding! That ere ended with the David Burke shooting of his ex-boss then the flight crew.
The collective influx of corporations into the government could not allow things that used to be.
I think this is just great. First weapon that TSA has detected this year short of one hundred and fifty thousand nail clippers.
The video was confusing! Was he trying to carry a gun or a deadly Nutri-blast blender?
tony..i agree..i read the article, but the link kept showing a blender and recipes for walnuts! great recipes but I wanted the news footage!!
NOW we even have trolls here. WTF?
A handgun is a deadly weapon, but a Boeing 737 can do a lot more damage in the hands of a deranged individual. If I trust the pilot to fly the airplane, I'm pretty sure I can trust him with a firearm.
In most cases and with most individuals I would agree. However there are laws in place to say nothing of company regulations in regards to having a firearm in the aircraft.
This person knew better to begin with but decided to carry anyway. That gives great cause for concern.
The law actually has provisions for pilots to be armed with handguns on board an aircraft:

However, even if this pilot was trained and authorized under the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program, he still violated the law by carrying a loaded gun through security.
How do we know he was/is a FFDO? We don't. And according to the article, he did not have a CCW either. So, what are we to think? Just because you're a pilot does not mean you get to circumvent security. In fact, he is likely in big trouble because he should know better.....
We don't know that, but that wasn't my point. I was responding to the "there are laws in place [...] in regards to having a firearms in the aircraft." There are many pilots flying armed every day, most people just aren't aware of it.
Agreed. But some people don't read and comprehend the full article and start jumping to incorrect conclusions (not necessarily you!) or start spouting things about guns.

First, they have to realize that there are rules and regs for having loaded weapons onboard - by BOTH passengers and pilots. Those regs are very specific and anyone carrying is responsible to know what these are and abide by them. If they do, then no issues.

Clearly, this WAS an issue because 1) he was NOT a FFDO; 2) he was also NOT a CCW 3) it IS an offense to carry a loaded weapon onboard a civil aircraft.

Whether people are aware or not is not the issue. If a pilot is armed and carrying (FFDO), rest assured he is properly authorized & trained and goes through an entirely separate security channel. And they NEVER "forget" what they have with them.

Clearly, this pilot was none of the above. Thus, he was not authorized and broke a law. With guns, go responsibilities. You don't just forget.........
Ahmen Brother, Hope he gets a pass if this was an oversight. Does not disturb me as much as a drunken pilot in the cockpit. Besides, probably an ex military pilot who know a little about weapons.
btweston 0
Like the guy who locked the other pilot out of the cockpit and flew into a mountain?
oh, well he won't do that again.
At least not while working at South West...!
Probably ever
bbabis -1
He'll be ok. Plenty of great corporate jobs out there. My gun is with me every day everywhere. Too many crazies in this world to be unarmed.
Really? He could lose his job with SWA and that would be the end of his flying career then! Pilots are held to a much higher standard than the general public. I assume you know that.......
I wonder if the people who commit crimes with guns say the same thing about there being too many crazies out there.
bbabis 0
Crazy, like so many other things, is in the eye of the beholder. My feeling though, is that if you are crazy enough to commit a crime with a gun, you are incapable of determining crazy.
If he really felt the need to carry a weapon onto the aircraft, he simply could have applied to become a Federal Flight Deck Officer. If pilots wish to fly armed, then like everyone else they need to follow the law. Lots of commercial pilots are armed legally to provide an additional measure of security, but it has to be done professionally and lawfully. No one should be supportive of what this guy did, no more then anyone would be supportive of a passenger that feels the need for bringing a firearm onto an aircraft. Here's a link if anyone wants to become a FFDO...
In the really “Good ole Days” hotel vans use to bring you right up to the aircraft !! Imagine that !
Updated news: FO will not face charges in St. Louis for this. FAA and SWA may still take action.
Yes, thanks. That's probably because he "forget" he had it and hence it was not a deliberate and willful act. And being who he was, they are giving the benefit of the doubt.

FAA and company (SWA) sanctions are likely though because he clearly broke both FAA and company regs since he was not authorized to carry a weapon in the first place. Let alone a fully loaded one. Also, having been arrested and not being able to operate the flight almost certainly caused a delay to the service and having to get someone in on standby at short notice. Not something an airline takes lightly......
I keep thinking I value 'situational awareness' in pilots. It's hard to fade into the woodwork in a case like this.
And just as much as situational awareness is a key trait and requirement in pilots to conduct safe flights, so should it be for them to carry guns!

In order to get the coveted FFDO rating, it is a very comprehensive training program including an extensive psych eval. It's far more than what a civilian would go through or a CCW.

And believe it or not, not every pilot applicant who wants to go in the program is accepted!
Thanks for the update Joel!
this has happened on a few occasions at the large airport where I worked..often the crew members excuse to tsa was i just forgot it was in my to the concealed carry permit,to my knowledge that is required if the crew member is "packing" as they used to say,and the agents and other crew members must be made aware of an armed individual in the cockpit,just as they are made aware of air marshalls....
AWAAlum 7
Realizing my viewpoint will be unpopular, I can't help but speak up. I wonder if all of the posts supporting this First Officer aren't due to feeling defensive for a fellow pilot. When I scroll back in my mind to a pilot being on meds for being diagnosed as bi-polar to one flying the plane into the ground as a means of suicide, I fail to understand why so many support the idea of carrying a loaded gun. Pilots are people. They shouldn't be exempt from the law.
I'm sticking up for him as a pilot AND a gun owner.
Andy you too, would be in the wrong by breaking the law!
You seem not to understand how this works. As a pilot, I’m surprised how you can flaunt the law like this.
Perhaps you should not have a gun if this is the way you go about your business.
You don’t seem to have much discipline. Are you sure you’re a PROFESSIONAL pilot? Airline or corporate? You don’t sound like one.
You know nothing about me. As an intellectual exercise though I'd like you to explain how an enumerated right in the bill of rights can have geographic limitations.

Can you only exercise your right of free speech and redress in your home state?
Are you only free from unwarranted searches and seizures of your person or property in your home state?
Breaking a Federal law - which this guy did - is not free speech! Nor does it have state boundaries!

Is that what you’re talking about?....
bbabis -2
You're passing over the fact that if the pilot is trusted with the flight, they certainly can be trusted with a gun. Also, I think your point is even more reason to let pilots have guns. If you do have a suicidal pilot he/she has the opportunity to only kill their self instead of taking everybody in with them.
AWAAlum -1
Sentence 1: As evidenced by history, that view is flawed. Sentence 2: OMG !!! Sentence 3: Yeah, I remember all the reactions being exactly that after reading about the pilot flying himself and a plane full of pax into the ground. Come on, Babis.
mboette 2
I really really really really really really really hope he wasn't trying to use KCM.
Because if he did, that could mess up our system. We all know there is a chance we can be searched. Just not worth it.
The problem, it seems, is that he didn't have a permit for the firearm. Otherwise he could have checked it in. The airline should have a facility to transport firearms. Or he could have left it in safe custody.
And you would think that a responsible gun owner and professional pilot would know all this! Still a mystery why he didn’t. Forgetting is a pretty feeble excuse.
"Forgetting is a pretty feeble excuse." - No, not really. In states like Texas and FL it is SO COMMON for folks to carry. First off, I feel safe in Walmart at 2am knowing that I am not the only one who is armed. The workers feel safer knowing we are armed...and, with the right setup it is easy to "forget" as it is an every day thing.

Look no further than Chicago to see what happens when ignorant lefties and libtards start to ban guns...
You do realize commercial aircraft and airports are NOT comparable to Walmart and they are not lax about loaded weapons - especially on board aircraft. It’s also not TX!
Your point t ismokt therefore.
And to try and politicize this is garbage!
If you do t like our nations airport security mandates, perhaps you’d be better served changing the laws by lobbying Your lawmaker stead of making crass and irrelevant comments!
I feel safer knowing that that crew CAN arm themselves. Even more so, when was the last time some idiot played the fool on El Al? Bet you cant name a single instance.
But breaking the law is of NO concern of yours, right?
As I said, you don't like it, change it. Don't whine..........
I moved to a state with very flexible gun laws (Florida) from a state with criminally corrupt left wing Democrat politicians who banned guns (Illinois). Plus, being in healthcare I no longer need to worry about ghetto trash PX and their total lack of even basic life skills.
I’m thrilled for you!
Greg S 4
If there's one person in the world who should be armed it's the pilot of a commercial airliner. They're already entrusted with the lives of everybody on board the aircraft, they undergo more screening for mental and physical health than police officers, and large planes have two pilots in the cockpit providing two-person failsafe control. Oh, and their are documented persistent threats against aviation that require an armed response to defeat. Heck, they should be required to carry.
There is special licensing, training, and approval for armed Flight deck Officers. If they have this authorization, they can carry onboard; else, not.
There is a specific program for that.
However, this pilot did NOT partake and clearly, he broke the law. About that, there is no debate..............
All under the assumption that he might hijack the plane. This world is something else.
I wish all you active pilots were armed and trained yearly if you wanted to carry with no restrictions.. and this from a retired Asst Chief in south Florida and fellow pilot.
Range qualifications should be as frequent as your local law enforcement organizations.
Probably MORE than LEO. Most law enforcement that aren't part of special details (SWAT) etc only shoot once a year to re-qualify.. most CCW folks train way more often than that.

Most beat cops aren't great shots, with the adrenalin dump of a real situation there's a huge miss ratio on shots fired. The guy in NYC that mowed down the people with the truck had a cop unload on him and he was hit ONCE. Where did all those other bullets go.

I'd say folks need to practice a lot more often than a regular beat cop.
Como acceso con un arma en su equipaje de mano
Why should he need a permit?
He should just carry the Constitution.
We already trust the pilots with our lives, so unless the pilot himself (or herself) goes full jihadi, I'd rather he were armed than not.
The Pilot may not be able to carry a loaded weapon onto a commercial airliner but as far as him not having a CCW makes no difference. As of Jan 1, 2017 Missouri passed a law stating you DO NOT need a CCW to legally carry a concealed weapon.
Your statement it true. However, local municipalities can and do limit CCW to those with permits. St. Louis muni code section 716-130 does this. As the FO did not have a CCW, he violated the local law and might be subject to prosecution locally. See:
I agree with you 100%, I'm just saying the article made it sound like he had to have a CCW to be legal and he don't but then I'm not up to date on commercial Pilots. Thank you for the reply Sir.
went back and reread the story, and can see how you you inferred that. I inferred somewhat differently - that he hadn't any sort of authorization for concealed carry. I used to work for a group that had LEO investigators regularly fly in Calif, policy was that they were transporting rather than carrying, and transported unloaded. The story was written in Calif and the Mo laws may not have entered their minds when writing.
Well, even if he was a CCW, there are still very specific rules for having a loaded weapon on board an aircraft. Either way you look at this, he did wrong. End of story. Having or not having a CCW would have made no real difference. Bottom line, he had NOTHING and got caught going through security with a loaded weapon. That is a no-no.
Well I certainly appreciate your input and making it clear on this particular story, thank you.
I am glad that they caught him. He could have been planning on committing suicide while flying the plane.
Where's the proof of that supposition? why that as opposed to say ripping off the wings with an overstressed maneuver at cruise speed? Dead is dead right?
Better a loaded gun than being loaded.
Better common sense than gung-ho..........
chalet 1
Airline pilots have no business carrying a hand gun into the cockpit. For those who think otherwise how would pilots use it if there is a nasty fight back in the passenger area between a sober one and and drunkard, come out swinging it and firing shots at the drunkard like a cowboy. They don't need to be armed, just stay calm and land ASAP and have the pólice take care of the situation like they have done several times already.
bbabis 3
You watch too many movies. Any responsible pilot would know that a gun is not called for in that situation. But if a situation would call for one, it would be very nice to have one.
AWAAlum 3
The key word in your post being "responsible". Responsible pilots aren't the ones to worry about.
bbabis 1
Bingo! Now you're getting it. If people took responsibility a whole lot of the worlds problems would be solved, wouldn't they? Pilots rank pretty far up there on the responsibility scale to do their jobs.
AWAAlum 4
I fear I'm beating a dead horse here. You just don't get it, so I'll stop trying to explain my point.
How is he a "responsible" pilot or even traveler if he "forgot" he had a loaded weapon in his carry on? I would hardly call that responsible. More like incompetent! Remember, even you have previously stated that pilots rank high up the food chain in terms of standards. He should have known this was going to cause trouble and he should have been more diligent in his packing. Other passengers are treated exactly the same way. Trust me, I've seen it many times and the police are required to respond. Also, this is a federal offense!
chalet 2
You seem to watch too many aviation movies depicting pilots as Century 21 he-men saviours. Are not Air Marshals there to do it professionally, see they are highly trained marksmen.
You are missing the point here. What he did was illegal! That's why he got arrested, duh!
Re-read again the story. I'll help you. First he was NOT a FFDO. Neither was he a CCW. He had a loaded firearm in his carry on and got caught. End of discussion.
Even if he were a FFDO then there is a totally separate procedure for that going through TSA security and I am not going to divulge that for obvious reasons.
Try to understand what this is really about instead of foisting your views about guns and movies. This is the real world and ignorance has no place.
having guns in unsecured carry bags (pilots) provides easy access for someone wanting a gun. if all pilots were packing, then there are 100+ easy access guns rolling around ATL any any given moment.
bbabis 4
Agreed. It should be required to be on body. Off body carry does have its own cons.
All pilots should be armed. You have got to be kidding. Remember the Capt with US Air (who by the way was a FFDO) that shot a hole in the cockpit floor while putting his gun away in Phoenix. There are those among us who do not have the discipline to be armed.
srobak 0
If they cannot be trusted with a gun - then they cannot be trusted with a hundred foot long bullet carrying 150 people on board.
Trouble is your argument falls flat. They are licensed to fly that airplane and the responsibilities that go with it. If they fail in any way, they get either retrained or disciplined. Same goes for the gun. You have to be licensed and trained to carry in whatever capacity, FFDO, CCW, it matters not. And with that comes more responsibilities. Forgetting is not a good enough excuse and it won't wash with the authorities.
Every pilot should be armed. Give the guy a medal.
Not if he's broken the law! Some pilots are and there's a specific requirement and training for that. Perhaps he should have applied rather than do his own thing. Now he's got some explaining to do...........
Yeah cos a pilot who could just as easily crash the whole plane if that was his intent, can't be trusted with a 9mm handgun. I hope the republicans make good on their promises and get national reciprocity soon so this kind of "your civil rights end at the state border" garbage can get put behind us.
Will national reciprocity do anything about "your civil rights end at TSA screening"?
It's really amazing how many people miss the point here, why this happened the way it did and not burble about "trust", "responsibility" or throw politics in to the mix!
He inadvertently broke the law and is suffering the consequences of his forgetfulness. When will people realize that having possession of a firearm also entails following the rules? And when you fail to do that, there are consequences. This is not something one should be blasé about. It's not a question of trust. And if it were, clearly, he could NOT be trusted to know and apply the rules.
Maybe this is what is necessary to insure a safe flight. Then someone would be able to fight back if there was a problem on board. Since our court system allows all this freedom to enter our country with minimal vetting.
You are not making much sense here. The flight was never in any danger! The pilot was arrested so he never reached the aircraft and they likely had to get a standby crew member resulting in a delayed flight and inconvenience to passengers.
This pilot was not professional and broke the law. There are consequences to that, I presume you understand that concept. Carrying a firearm does that. There are responsibilities that go with having a firearm, especially at airports and on or near aircraft., and he was well aware or should have been.
You are surmising here and not acknowledging that he actually broke a law!
And no, we don't have shoot outs like the Wild West in aircraft cabins. How does a court come in to this scenario? stick to the article, not your idea of what should or shouldn't happen on a commercial aircraft.
And last but not least, I do believe the aircraft is INSURED already. The word you were looking for is ensure!
50's-60's-70's public didn't know it but the crews packed heat all the time and nobody cared. Now it's a freak show and the snowflakes go nuts. Much ado about nothing, except one guy out in the street (maybe).
That was a totally different era. Your comments do not apply to either the times or this situation. What this guy did was wrong. Forgetting for a pilot is not a good enough excuse. And he clearly, broke the law! A federal offense to boot. Somehow, I don't think his base chief pilot is going to congratulate him.......snowflake or not! More like a cornflake.

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