Downrange: 03/02


Youll have to hurry to make a deadline set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requesting public comments on the issue of airline pilots carrying firearms and flight deck crewmembers carrying less-than-lethal weapons on board commercial aircraft.

Provisions of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) would authorize the arming of pilots if certain approvals are granted.The deadline for comments is February 14, 2002, and comments must be identified by Docket No. FAA-2001-111229. Comments can be faxed to the Department of Transportation at (202) 267-5075, or can be filed by e-mail through the FAAs Web site at Under the Regulatory/Advisory headline, select Rulemaking, then select Documents Open for Comment, and follow the directions for submitting comments electronically.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) has announced a new, simplified Federal Form 4473 that gun buyers must fill out when purchasing firearms from licensed dealers.

The new version contains concise explanations in laymans terms of instructions and important notices for easier understanding by both the dealer and the purchaser. Changes to the form include new requirements regarding the transfer of firearms to legal aliens, and new restrictions on the transfer to non-immigrant aliens.

The new California law that took effect this year requiring severe testing standards for handguns is drawing criticism from gun-control advocates disappointed and dismayed at the high number of firearms passing the tests.

Thus far, almost 600 handgun models have been approved by the state Department of Justice following strict firing and drop tests conducted by independent testing laboratories. Handgun Control, Inc. lobbied heavily for passage of the Dangerous Weapons Control law in an effort to ban the sale of what it claimed were cheap, easily concealed handguns. Now, the group is very concerned about some of the guns that are on the (approved) list and some of the loopholes that we overlooked, said Luis Tolley of HCI.

A spokesman for one of the testing labs recently commented, Ive seen what people think is a cheaply made handgun, just because of its low cost, and it worked quite well. And Ive seen a very expensive gun that most police would be happy to carry that failed.

For a handgun to be approved, a manufacturer must submit three versions of each model and each must pass a 600-round firing test with no more than six malfunctions. Each gun is then dropped from various directions onto concrete from a height of just over 3 feet with the hammer cocked and the safety off. Each must withstand the test without discharging.To view the list of approved handguns, go to:

-Todd Woodard


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