The “Arming All Pilots Act” Amendment and a Bipartisan Amendment with Sen. Edward Markey

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rand Paul this week introduced two amendments to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2016. The first amendment, known as the Arming All Pilots Act (S.1594), would increase training opportunities to encourage pilots to participate in the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) Program. Sen. Paul’s second bipartisan amendment, introduced alongside Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), would protect an individual’s right to privacy against unwarranted governmental intrusion through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones.

Specifically, the Arming All Pilots Act as an amendment would expand the number of training facilities used for initial and recurrent training, including firearms requalification. Additionally, the bill will require a five-day initial training, with two days of in-person classroom attendance and additional on-line training options. Recurrent training for officers would be set at two days every five years. Sen. Paul originally introduced the Arming All Pilots Act in June 2015.

“The Federal Flight Deck Officer Program is an important element in our continued efforts to ensure the safety of airline passengers, and my amendment will make it possible for more pilots to get trained and protect flyers. Pilots regularly tell me they’ve experienced problems with the availability of training under the current program; my amendment addresses those concerns and ensures that participants in the program have the critical training they need,” Sen. Paul said.

The second bipartisan amendment would prohibit law enforcement from using a drone to surveil or collect evidence pertaining to a violation of a law or regulation without a warrant. While the use of drone aircraft and technology continues to expand in all areas of the government, the amendment will ensure the protection of every American citizen’s right to constitutional privacy protections.

“The use of drone surveillance may work on the battlefields overseas, but it isn’t well-suited for unrestrained use on the streets in the United States. Congress must be vigilant in providing oversight to the use of this technology and protection for rights of the American people. I will continue the fight to protect and uphold our Fourth Amendment,” said Sen. Paul.

“Just as we have rules of the road for manned vehicles, we now need rules of the sky for unmanned ones,” said Sen. Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which has jurisdiction over the FAA. “Requiring that law enforcement obtain a warrant before using a drone ensures we reap the economic and educational benefits of drones while ensuring the privacy of Americans is protected. I thank Senator Paul for his partnership on this amendment, and I look forward to fighting to ensure that Americans are guaranteed strong personal privacy protections as these new vehicles take flight.”

To read the Arming all Pilots in its entirety, click HERE. Top-line bullet points and background information on the amendment introduced with Sen. Markey can be found below, and the text can be found HERE.


  • Prohibits the use of drones owned or funded by the federal government in an evidence-collection or surveillance capacity unless a warrant authorizing the action has been obtained.
  • Includes the following exceptions:
    • Patrol of national borders;
    • When there is imminent danger to life;
    • High risk of a terrorist attack.
  • Specifies that no evidence obtained or collected in violation of this amendment can be used/admissible as evidence in a criminal, civil, or regulatory action.


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