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Florida Senate’s Latest Bow to Guns: Allowing Them in Airport Terminals

| February 16, 2016

airport guns florida legislature

Might as well. (Greg Bishop)

A proposal that would allow people to bring guns into airport terminals, but not through federal security screening, has taken off in the Senate amid turbulence from aviation officials.

The measure (SB 1500), narrowly approved along party lines in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to continue carrying sidearms in the areas of airports that are before passengers go through the security-screening process.

It is unknown how far the measure will fly this legislative session, as it has two additional committee appearances scheduled in the Senate, and the House version (HB 4051) has not been heard in committees.

Sen. Wilton Simpson, a Trilby Republican who is sponsoring the proposal, said it is intended to let people maintain their personal safety while dropping off or picking up travelers.

“When you see that there are lots of terroristic threats around airports and security around airports, and it seems to me that when you have 100 million visitors come through the state of Florida at some level, this is one of those areas we need to address,” Simpson said after the meeting.

But Sen. Jeff Clemens, a Lake Worth Democrat who joined Jacksonville Democrat Audrey Gibson in opposing the bill, said the proposal could make it easier for people to access weapons in an airport.

Michael Stewart, director of the Jacksonville Aviation Authority who represented the Florida Airports Council, said law-enforcement agencies that patrol airports are also concerned about introducing more guns into potentially stress-filled situations.

“Obviously the good person there has been trained, but when someone else sees someone with a weapon … the introduction of a weapon could be a problem,” Stewart said.

Under the proposal, people intending to travel with firearms would still have to pack the unloaded guns into baggage and declare the pieces when checking in.

The Transportation Security Administration prohibits people from possessing weapons when going through security screening to enter what is known as the sterile area of the airport. Violators may be fined up to $11,000 per violation.

Airport terminals, along with the sterile areas, are among listed limitations in state law about where people can carry concealed weapons. Other examples are police stations, jails, courthouses, courthouses, polling places, government meetings and schools.

The House has approved a bill (HB 163) that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to openly carry guns. Part of that bill also would allow state lawmakers to carry sidearms during legislative meetings.

A separate measure (HB 4031), which has not advanced in the House, would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to bring their handguns into meetings of the Legislature, city councils and school boards.

–News Service of Florida

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9 Responses for “Florida Senate’s Latest Bow to Guns: Allowing Them in Airport Terminals”

  1. Freddy says:

    As usual the liberal FlaglerLive is sensationalizing this article by showing a massive machine gun from a a world war II bomber. I have carried concealed in airport terminal and did not know it was against the law. The new law would have decriminalized this.

  2. Dave says:

    I’m all for the second amendment but this is a little too far out there for me, leave your gun in your car…

  3. Jack Howell, PhD says:

    Sorry, don’t see the need for this. Can’t recall any incidents by having a gun at the airport to drop off or pick up a passenger was needed.

  4. confidential says:

    This is a BS Bill. Totally reckless!

  5. liberal says:

    The plane with the machine guns looks to be beyond the Federal Security screening area. So it doesn’t really fit the article.

  6. Mark says:

    Well, do something to keep guns out of thugs hands. Otherwise leave law abiding citizens to exercise their RIGHTS to protect themselves. Quit the PC bulls*t. If it looks like a thug, search it. If unsure ask for a permit.

  7. Anonymous says:

    As always the anti constitutional left look at the legal gun owning citizens as the problem.

  8. confidential says:

    North Carolina has joined a growing list of states that have spent huge sums of money to drug test welfare recipients in order to make sure they weren’t wasting government money on drugs — only to find out that they rarely use drugs.
    The state launched the program in August, and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services recently revealed to Vox that 0.3 percent of the approximate 7,600 applicants and recipients screened for drug abuse tested positive for drug use.

    Now the 0.3 = 21 non recipients of 7600 tested and the $$ saved by denying their benefits will not cover the huge cost of the testing to all, that at the same time generated revenue for the labs and at the same time will generate more crime because if those welfare recipients do not have $$ to buy food will still food.
    So we the overburdened taxpayers end up paying for their testing and receiving no gain but added crime.
    Extreme GOP agenda as usual very detrimental.

  9. Sherry says:

    As usual. . . our horrific legislature can think of nothing better to do than find yet another insane place to carry guns! guns! guns! No wonder our citizens are growing more fearful and paranoid by the moment! Not only are the Presidential candidates and the media screaming that we should all be “terrified” 24/7. . . but now our political leaders and law makers are sending the same message.

    The Syrian terrorists need not lift a finger to terrorize us. . . we are doing it to ourselves! Insanity reigns!

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