06:00 PM Eastern Standard Time September 2, 2003 Tuesday



BILL TUCKER, CNNfn CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The federal air marshal program is getting a makeover. The program will be shifted to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the law enforcement arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

TOM RIDGE, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Depending on the need, we can move people in and out of situations where we need them. It doesn't necessarily mean that any assignment for one of these agents is going to be permanent, but it gives us a surge capability.

TUCKER: Which solves another problem few people want to talk about. This is the image: air marshal, lawmen in the air saving passengers and airliners, exciting stuff. This is the reality, a crowded plane ride, boring. Under the reorganization, the air marshal program would become the sixth branch of the ICE, which already includes investigations, detention and removal officers, intelligence, air/Marine services, and the federal protective service, creating opportunity as well as flexibility, managerially smart, but critics say not necessarily the most cost-effective.

JOHN LOTT, AUTHOR, "THE BIAS AGAINST GUNS" : One simple program would be to go and arm pilots. We only have about 150 to 200 pilots that are currently allowed to carry guns on planes, out of well over 100,000 commercial passenger pilots in the United States.

TUCKER: Gun training programs are less expensive. And guns in the cockpit are hardly a new idea.


TUCKER: In 1963, pilots routinely carried guns under a federal law which required any pilot carrying U.S. mail to be armed. And some pilots continued to carry guns until as late as 1987 -- John.

KING: Now, Bill, there was some criticism from Congress when some lawmakers thought -- the administration denied it -- but some thought they were going to cut back on this program.

TUCKER: Right.

KING: Any early reaction now that they say they're going to expand it?

TUCKER: No. Nobody came out in a positive way. Airline unions, generally speaking, that I spoke with today are happy that they're taking measures to do this. They do want to see them proceed with guns in the cockpit. Consumer groups, generally speaking, are happy with the moves today.

KING: Bill Tucker, thank you very much.


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The End of Myth: An Interview with Dr. John Lott

Cold Comfort, Economist John Lott discusses the benefits of guns--and the hazards of pointing them out.

An interview with John R. Lott, Jr. author of More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws

Some data not found at www.johnlott.org:

Updated Media Analysis of Appalachian Law School Attack

Since the first news search was done additional news stories have been added to Nexis:

There are thus now 218 unique stories, and a total of 294 stories counting duplicates (the stories in yellow were duplicates): Excel file for general overview and specific stories. Explicit mentions of defensive gun use increase from 2 to 3 now.

Journal of Legal Studies paper on spoiled ballots during the 2000 Presidential Election

Data set from USA Today, STATA 7.0 data set

"Do" File for some of the basic regressions from the paper