Prior to Friday’s shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport where at least five people were killed and eight were injured, Florida lawmakers were considering a bill that would make it legal for people with concealed carry licenses to bring guns in airport terminals. Yup, you read that right—some lawmakers in Florida want to make it easier to have guns at airports according to ThinkProgress.
Florida’s bill was sent to committee just three days before the shooting. It was deemed to have a high likelihood of passing out of the Senate Judiciary Committee; similar legislation had died in committee previously because the former chair didn’t schedule a vote, but he lost his bid for reelection. The new chair, Greg Steube (R), is a sponsor of the bill and huge proponent of getting rid of gun-free zones.
Based on Steube’s remarks though, the recent mass shooting is unlikely to deter the effort to repeal the ban on guns at airport terminals. ““If you want to kill as many people as possible before the cops arrive then you are likely to go to a place where law-abiding citizens can’t carry,” he said when he introduced the legislation according to the Tallahassee Democrat, a local paper. “That’s what we’ve seen, time and time again and why I think we shouldn’t have them.”
As ThinkProgress explains though, security officials are saying calling for the exact opposite.
Rather than looking to allow more guns in airport terminals, however, security officials are worried there aren’t enough regulations to keep them out. “I am very concerned about a weapon in this airport,” Patrick Gannon, deputy executive director for law enforcement & homeland security at Los Angeles International Airport, told the Wall Street Journal. “This incident highlights that concern.”
Baggage claim areas are particularly troubling because there is so much activity, and so far most security is focused on theft, not violence.
The country has already seen shootings in and around airports in recent years. In 2013, a gunman opened fire outside the security zone of a terminal in Los Angeles International Airport, killing a Transportation Security Administration officer and wounding others. Earlier that same year, a gunman opened fire inside a terminal at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport before turning the gun on himself.