Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lawmakers say airport shootings strengthens proposals to allow guns in terminals

TALLAHASSEE — Two conservative Republican lawmakers who want to lift Florida's ban on concealed weapons in airport terminals say Friday's shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport strengthens the need for their proposal.

Weeks before Esteban Santiago, 26, opened fire in a baggage claim area, killing five people and injuring six others, state Sen. Greg Steube and state Rep. Jake Raburn had filed bills in the Florida Legislature that would allow the 1.7 million people with concealed-weapons permits in the state to carry their guns in airport passenger terminals.

Raburn, R-Lithia, said Saturday that the proposal wasn't inspired by any particular incident but is a matter of allowing "lawfully abiding citizens" to protect themselves, even if it's simply while picking up loved ones from the airport.

Raburn told the Times/Herald "it's hard to say" if his bill, if in place now, would have made a difference Friday. He said 44 states already allow guns in airport terminals.

"There's always the potential — if it were allowed and there were someone in that area that had a concealed weapon — that it could have gone differently," Raburn said. "I'm not going to say that it would have, because my understanding is we're talking about a span of time that's less than a minute. It may not have changed anything."

"But had I been there waiting to pick up my family from the airport and had it happened near me, I would have been prepared to defend myself and my family," he added.

Steube, R-Sarasota, is a passionate advocate for gun owners' rights. He has repeatedly said that gun-free zones "don't work" and that "law-abiding citizens" should be able to exercise their Second Amendment rights with fewer restrictions.

He told the Miami New Times that Friday's shooting "further enforces the point: People should have the ability to defend themselves." Steube could not be reached for comment by the Times/Herald on Saturday.

Steube filed a comprehensive gun bill (SB 140) for the upcoming legislative session. It includes the provision to allow concealed guns in airport terminals. Raburn has proposed a standalone bill (HB 6001) that deals only with airport terminals.

Under the proposals, though, guns would still be prohibited in "sterile" areas of airports — those areas beyond security checkpoints that are regulated by federal law.

Neither of the bills has been vetted yet by lawmakers. Legislative committee hearings start Tuesday for the 2017 session, which begins in March.

Steube's bill had previously been scheduled for its first hearing on Tuesday in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Steube chairs. However, the hearing was canceled last Wednesday because one senator would have been unable to attend.

Raburn's House bill has not been assigned to committees yet for review. He filed the same measure in the 2016 session, but it was never taken up. His bill is a basic repeal measure that simply removes passenger terminals from a list of 15 places in Florida law where concealed-weapons permit holders cannot carry.

Steube's bill does that, too, but goes much further. It also would let concealed-weapons permit holders openly carry their guns, and it would strip the concealed-weapons ban also from public college and university campuses, elementary and secondary schools, government meetings and career centers.

Last session, Sen. Wilton Simpson, a Trilby Republican who is now the Senate majority leader, also proposed allowing guns in airport terminals. His bill was considered and passed by only one committee before it stalled.

Simpson had cautioned airport terminals "could become more of a target" for terrorists and criminals because it was among the areas where state law prohibited even concealed-weapons permit holders from carrying.

Raburn acknowledged Saturday that his bill "wouldn't have allowed (Santiago) to do anything differently than exactly what he chose to do."

"And it's unfortunate," he said. "There are bad people in this world and bad things are going to happen, and we can't remove 100 percent of the risk from life."

Lawmakers say airport shootings strengthens proposals to allow guns in terminals 01/08/17 [Last modified: Sunday, January 8, 2017 9:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Roosevelt Blvd closed at I-275 after truck hauling crane hits overpass

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — A truck transporting a construction crane hit the Interstate 275 overpass at Roosevelt Boulevard Tuesday.

  2. One Pasco County student arrested for bringing weapons to school, another for threatening shooting

    Crime

    Two Pasco County students from different schools were arrested Tuesday, one for having weapons on school grounds and the other for threatening a school shooting.

  3. It's official: Hillsborough high schools move to 8:30 a.m. start time, elementary schools to go earlier

    K12

    TAMPA — Hillsborough County high schools school will be in session from 8:30 a.m. to 3:25 p.m. starting in 2018-19, the School Board decided Tuesday in a 6-0 vote.

    The Hillsborough County School Board has decided to end a compressed bus schedule that caused an estimated 12,000 children to get to school late every day. Under the new schedule, high schools will start at 8:30 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m. Elementary schools will start at 7:40 a.m. and middle schools at 9:25 a.m. [Times files]
  4. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues

    Bucs

    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]
  5. The topic will be neighborhoods as Kriseman, Baker debate one more time

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker will face off, possibly for the last time before the Nov. 7 election, in a candidate forum on Wednesday hosted by the influential Council of Neighborhood Associations.

    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, left, and former Mayor Rick Baker during a September forum. The two will will face off, possibly for the last time before the Nov. 7 election, during  a candidate forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Sunshine Center, 330 5th St. N. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]