Ft. Lauderdale Shooting May Result in Changes to Concealed Carry Travel Laws

January 3, 2018

Federal prosecutors have filed charges against the Florida airport shooting suspect, 26-year-old Esteban Santiago, for an act of violence at an international airport resulting in 5 deaths and 6 wounded victims. Prosecutors additionally charged Santiago with two firearms violations.

The charges are:
(1) Using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence;
(2) Performing an act of violence against a person at an airport serving international civil aviation that caused bodily harm;
(3) And causing the death of a person through the use of a firearm.

The first charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, while the last two charges carry the maximum penalty of execution.

Santiago allegedly opened fire in a baggage claim area after retrieving a handgun from his checked luggage in the airport’s second Terminal.

While the motive remains under investigation, his brother and federal officials said he had been receiving psychological treatment recently. Santiago served in Iraq with the National Guard but was demoted and discharged last year for unsatisfactory performance.

This tragedy is likely to once again raise 2 controversial issues:

Should all public areas be gun-free zones OR should we eliminate gun free zones?
Some legislators like Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz want to ban guns in airports. However, Sen. Greg Steube and Rep. Jake Raburn have introduced bills in the Florida Senate and house to eliminate gun-free zones from non-secured public areas.

Sen. Steube told Yahoo News said, “Shooters with mental illness and terrorists specifically target gun-free zones and areas where they know law-abiding people like myself aren’t carrying,” he added. “They go to places they know where they can do as much damage and as much terror as possible until law enforcement arrives. I don’t think that should be the law of the state.”

Should people be allowed to travel with firearms?
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose district includes the Ft. Lauderdale airport where the mass shooting occurred, stated in a January 7 press conference that she plans to revisit rules for flying with firearms when she returns to Washington.

“While we take a look at balancing the public’s need to be able to freely travel, at the same time we need to protect the traveling public who is traveling alongside someone who may decide to do them harm,” she said.

According to the Transportation Security Administration, you may transport unloaded firearms:
• In a locked hard-sided container as checked baggage only.
• As long as you declare the firearm and/or ammunition to the airline when checking your bag at the ticket counter.
• The container must completely secure the firearm from being accessed.
• Locked cases that can be easily accessed are not permitted.
• Firearm parts, including magazines, clips, bolts and firing pins, are prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage.

As with all mass shootings, law abiding concealed carriers will pay the penalty for the violent acts of terrorists and mentally unstable people that have access to firearms.