Lawmakers Take New Look At Guns On Planes After Airport Shooting

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Lawmakers are taking a new look at rules about guns on planes after Friday’s airport shooting in Fort Lauderdale.

Investigators said Esteban Santiago traveled with the gun he used in the deadly rampage, from Alaska to Florida via Minneapolis. The firearm was in his checked baggage.

Part of the surprise of Friday’s shooting is the fact the gunman arrived on an incoming flight and so did his gun.

Last year, the TSA reported confiscating more than 3,300 firearms from carry-on bags but the agency allows guns in checked luggage.They have to be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and owners have to declare them at the ticket counter.

“We’re going to have to take a hard look once and for all at the unsecured areas of our airports,” said Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Wasserman Schultz said she plans to review security procedures with TSA leaders.

A TSA agent died in a shooting in 2013, outside a security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport.

The rules regarding guns in airports vary by city and state.

The National Council of State Legislatures has identified six states, including Florida, which ban people from carrying guns in all areas of airports.

Related: Travelers Caught In Chaos Of Fort Lauderdale Shooting Claim Luggage, Lost Items

“The law is only protecting criminals. It’s not protecting law-abiding citizens who want the right and ability to defend themselves,” said Florida State Senator Sen. Greg Steube.

Steube introduced a bill to allow owners with permits to openly carry guns in areas like the place where Friday’s shooting occurred. He suggests the 45-second attack could have ended even sooner if other passengers were armed.

“That’s a ludicrous suggestion. If someone with a gun in the – in the baggage claim area opened fire in the midst of hundreds of people, the life loss probably would have been worse,” said Wasserman Schultz.

There is legislation from both sides of the aisle that will be discussed in Tallahassee when the legislative session begins in March.
A bill from a Republican state senator would expand the places where gun owners can carry guns like airports for instance. Meanwhile, several bills from a Democratic state senator would ban assault weapons and require deeper background checks for people looking to buy a gun.

Democratic state Senator Gary Farmer from Broward filed several bills in Tallahassee prior to last Friday’s shooting require background checks on gun sales at gun shows and ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

“These are not weapons that are used to hunt or for any kind of sportsmanship. These are weapons that were designed for the military purpose of killing as many people in as little time as possible,” said Farmer to CBS4’s Carey Codd.

Farmer said his heart goes out to all the victims of Friday’s shooting and he wants to do what he can to eliminate these types of mass shootings in the future. He knows that Republicans have a wide majority in Tallahassee but he’s undeterred.

“I think people in both parties can see and understand the need for sensible gun safety legislation,” said Farmer.

The Republican leadership tried to pass the expanded open carry law last year but the bill did not get out of committee.

Experts point out, the baggage claim area in most major airports is near exit doors with little to no security.

More from Carey Codd
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