The U.S. government is asking foreign countries to allow pilots to carry guns in the cockpit overseas, reports USA Today. The Homeland Security Department is trying to expand a 4-year-old program that allows thousands of pilots to carry guns on domestic flights. “It’s obvious that there’s a threat internationally,” said Conan Bruce of the Federal Air Marshals Service. Some countries may block U.S. efforts because they don’t want guns on airplanes, even if they’re carried by trained pilots who have been sworn as law officers.
Nations can prohibit armed air marshals on U.S. flights to their countries. Some, including Sweden, have resisted U.S. efforts to have them put their own armed officers on U.S.-bound flights. Thousands of U.S. air marshals fly as passengers on domestic and international flights. A recent Homeland Security report said the armed-pilots program needs improvement, and some policies “may have dissuaded pilots from participating.” Congress cut $11.5 million from the last two budget requests for armed pilots because the program didn’t spend all its money.