A shooting today at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport has left at least 5 dead and 13 injured. Not surprisingly, Florida is one of only 6 states with laws that banned carrying guns in the unsecured areas of airports. A move was killed in 2016 to overturn this ban, and the reason for overturning it seems very applicable to today’s events. Time after time these attacks keep occurring at places where civilians aren’t allowed to defend themselves.
A Broward County official indicates that the killer, Esteban Santiago, had checked is gun in on his flight and that when he got his baggage he took his gun into the restroom where he loaded it. Guns on planes have to be unloaded when they are checked in the baggage, ammunition must be stored separately. Guns locked up. Point is that others in the non-sterile areas at airport were obeying rules not to carry.
The FBI’s George Piro made clear that “the suspect had traveled to Fort Lauderdale specifically to carry out the attack,” though why he picked that airport isn’t clear.
Apparently, the killer felt he was on a mission from ISIS: “Esteban Santiago, reportedly walked into the FBI field office in Anchorage, Alaska in November and told officials he was being forced to fight for the terrorist group. ISIS has not taken credit for the attack.”
From the Miami Herald:
A proposal to let some gun-owners carry concealed weapons in Florida airport terminals was approved by its first Senate committee on Tuesday, but its chances at becoming law this year are nearly impossible because a House version has yet to be considered.
SB 1500 by Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, is among several gun bills under consideration by the Republican-led Legislature this year that aim to expand gun-owners’ rights and specifically those of the 1.5 million people with concealed weapons permits in Florida.
Simpson said the legislation is needed because airport terminals “could become more of a target” for terrorists and criminals, since they are among 15 areas codified in state law where even concealed-weapons permit-holders can’t carry weapons. “Sterile” areas of airports — those past security checkpoints and controlled by the federal Transportation Security Administration — would remain a prohibited area for weapons.
The bill received initial approval from the Senate Criminal Justice Committee on Tuesday by a 3-2 vote, along party lines with Democrats in opposition. . . .
Simpson said the legislation is intended to let “law-abiding citizens” carry concealed when they visit airports, such as when dropping off or picking up family and friends or when dining or shopping in commercial areas that are outside security checkpoints. . . .
As Florida Carry notes:
The Federal government has determined that the “sterile area” is the “sensitive place” at an airport but Florida has gone much farther and banned even licensed carry inside the entire terminal, on this topic Florida is one of the most restrictive places in the country.
This has lead to confusion in the past even outside the terminal. In one case a lawful concealed carry licensee had his firearm become accidentally exposed while helping to unload luggage for someone who he was dropping off at the airport. Airport police overreacted and he ended up cuffed on the sidewalk outside until the officers realized their mistake. . . .
“Santiago served in the U.S. military, first in the Puerto Rico Army National Guard in 2007, according to the Department of Defense. He was deployed to Iraq in April 2010 as a combat engineer and returned to the U.S. in early 2011. In November 2014, after moving to Alaska, he joined the Alaska National Guard. Santiago was honorably discharged four months ago, according to ABC News.”