DALLAS -- Gun control is a topic that's prompting conversation nationwide.
President Trump has proposed arming teachers. In another industry, aviation, some airline pilots are already armed.
We wanted to verify: Do the majority of airline pilots carry guns?
For answers we're looking at information published by the FAA and talking to Bill McNease, a former aviation safety inspector with more than 50 years experience.
"Do the majority of airline pilots carry guns?" we asked McNease.
"That's probably classified. My answer would be probably no -- but we don't know," McNease said.
So how many pilots are we talking about? The government doesn’t release that information. McNease estimates the number is less than half. Other aviation sources put that number closer to 20 to 30 percent.
According to the FAA, in 2002 the government created the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program. Airline pilots volunteer for a six-day training course designed by the FBI. If they pass, the government issues them a fire arm for domestic flights only. Since then it's been expanded to include flight engineers and navigators.
"Since it's a deterrent, we want the bad guys to understand that there could be someone in the cockpit that knows how to use it," McNease said.
So, do the majority of airline pilots carry guns? The government wont’s say, but aviation experts agree it is less than half.
"We found out on 9/11 just how accessible the cockpits were. The ability for terrorists to come in and actually use an airplane as a weapon of mass destruction," McNease said.
"They want them in the hands of the people that would volunteer to carry a gun, and be trained to do that in the cockpit of an airplane so as to act as a deterrent to terrorism," he said.