Florida's Senate Criminal Justice Committee has proposed legislation that would allow people to bring guns into airport terminals, but not through federal security.
Sen. Wilton Simpson, a Republican who is sponsoring the proposal, said it is intended to let people maintain their personal safety while dropping off or picking up travelers, reported CBS News.
“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.
But Sen. Jeff Clemens, a Democrat, said the proposal could make it easier for people to access weapons in an airport, CBS News said.
Michael Stewart, director of the Jacksonville Aviation Authority, 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 TSA 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, polling places, government meetings, and schools.
The House has approved a bill (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.