Someone e-mailed me a link to what I assume is a joke cabin PA. The person who sent it merely wrote, "I want to fly with this pilot." The first time I watched it, the audio was turned off on my computer, so I was watching video only, scrutinizing the clouds waiting to see a lightning strike, a narrowly avoided oncoming aircraft or a roll of toilet paper thrown out of the cockpit. When nothing happened, I activated the sound and replayed it, discovering it to be a pro-gun statement.
Pilots who fly armed should be proficient and confident in the use of their weapons. A pilot who is not a good shot would probably do more harm than good. A pilot who would hesitate to use the weapon when the need arose, would simply be supplying a weapon to the attackers. Skill could be assured by adding firearm proficiency to the already long list of initial and recurrent training items that airline pilots must demonstrate proficiency at, but what about the attitude?
To a certain extent, the pilot-in-command attitude already suggests the attitude of someone who would not hesitate to shoot someone who threatened the safety of an aircraft. Thats the attitude that causes a pilot to take whatever action necessary to assure the safety of a flight, to take personal responsibility for everything that happens on that flight and to be able to take control from another pilot, even a senior one, if a dangerous situation is not being corrected. But some people are repelled by the idea of carrying guns.
Should pilots be allowed to carry guns if they are competent and willing to use them? After all, someone who is not ready and willing to use a firearm in defence of the aircraft probably wouldn't want to carry one anyway. Some people would say that someone who is eager to carry a gun onto the flight deck shouldn't be allowed one. I believe that the risk of a pilot coming to harm because he or she didn't have a gun on the flight deck is lower than the risk of accidental harm resulting from the presence of a gun on the flight deck. It's not that the risk of gun accidents is high: it's probably very low. But the chance of needing the gun is vanishingly low, because hijackings are very rare. Police--a more highly trained gun carrying group--have gun accidents, but that accident risk is worth it to them, because police have a far greater likelihood of needing to use the gun, daily and over their careers.
With reference to the linked video clip, a flight attendant should not be armed, especially not known to be armed, because passengers are close around him for legitimate reasons for the whole flight, so he is far too vulnerable to having the weapon taken away.
I wouldn't object to taking weapons training to carry a gun on a flight deck. (There are very few areas of skill or knowledge that I would decline an opportunity to learn). I once worked for a company which responded to post-September-11th concerns by arming me with--I swear I'm not making this up--a big stick. The stick was already present for another purpose, but the person training me indicated it with all seriousness as my weapon of defense against unlawful interference.