Lawmakers: Fort Lauderdale airport shooting shows reason to drop gun free zones

In the wake of a deadly airport shooting, two Florida Republicans are standing by their bills to remove airports in the Sunshine State from being listed as mandatory gun free zones.

Florida Rep. Jake Raburn, R-Lithia, has a measure in the state House which would remove the stipulation under current state law barring otherwise legal carrying of a concealed weapon from airport passenger terminals. He pointed out that 44 states already allow such practice and that last week’s attack may have unfolded differently if Florida was on that list.

““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 told the Bradenton Herald/Times. “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.”

Florida Sen. Greg Steube’s more sweeping Senate proposal, SB 140, drops airports as well as other places from the list of carry exclusion zones.

“It’s sad that incidents like this have to happen at gun-free zones,” Steube told the Miami New Times in the wake of the Ft. Lauderdale shooting. “The airport is a gun-free zone. These shootings aren’t occurring at Publix or Walmart.”

Gun control groups and politicians wasted no time in using the shooting to comment on gun violence, with Moms Demand Action posting to social media: “Being afraid of getting shot — in airports, schools, churches — isn’t freedom. We must fight for a safer America. #FortLauderdale.”

The shooting occurred at the Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport in Broward County, near the baggage claim in Terminal 2 on Friday leaving five dead and six injured. The alleged gunman, recently arrived on a flight from Alaska, retrieved his unloaded pistol from checked baggage, and loaded it in a bathroom area before the shooting.

The 26-year-old man accused of being the shooter in the mass killing was taken into custody at the scene and is facing a host of federal charges. He is scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing in federal court Monday. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Raburn’s House bill is awaiting committee assignment whereas Steube’s Senate measure is pending hearings in the Judiciary Committee.

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