Airports, Weapons and YOU.


Airports, Weapons, and You.

The tragic shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport raises several crucial questions that deserve answers–but no one in law enforcement or airport management has thus far asked the right question much less offered an adequate answer.

But here’s the unspoken danger: the baggage claim area in the Fort Lauderdale airport is by city ordinance a weapons-free zone. Here’s the warning sign posted at every airport entrance. In this case, it’s at the baggage claim entrance.


By law, all weapons–including firearms, as depicted in the warning–are prohibited in the baggage claim area. Which raises the major question: why did the Fort Lauderdale Airport as well as the airline that carried the handgun allow that deadly weapon to be delivered into the hands of the alleged shooter within their own designated weapons-free zone?

That raises more questions: do passengers, crew and airport employees have a reasonable expectation that the airport authority will enforce their own weapons prohibition, keeping the baggage claim and everyone in it safe? Do the airlines have to deliver weapons and ammunition, as was the case in the recent Fort Lauderdale mass shooting, to the alleged gunman at all? 

That’s a two-part question. First, why are airlines in the business of transporting weapons and ammunition in the first place? By doing so, they’re introducing both deadly items into the secure side of the airport where even employees are prohibited from from accessing any weapons–but there they lay among other innocuous luggage items, in the open baggage handling areas at both the origination and destination airports.

The second part is, why carry weapons aboard passenger jets, even in the cargo hold, at all? One major airline no longer ships pets as cargo, period, for a lot of good reasons. Is there a more urgent reason to transport weapons and ammunition, and worse, to deliver them to a passenger in the secure area where weapons are explicitly prohibited? Why would an airline do that, and why would an airport permit that?

Certainly, violence can always be introduced from the outside by force. Sadly, in this case, the weapon and ammunition that killed five people in Fort Lauderdale was delivered by an airline into the hands of the shooter in the airport’s own weapons-free zone with their concurrence.

Those who must transport a weapon can do so by means other than the cargo compartment of an airliner, solving that problem. But besides a radical change in the way airlines and airports regard weapons and weapons-free zones, little can be done to prevent future loss of life like the tragedy in Fort Lauderdale. 


20 Responses to “Airports, Weapons and YOU.”

  1. Joe Farrell Says:

    Well. First off. Air Canada did not ‘deliver’ a weapon into the baggage claim area. Air Canada denies that they had any properly declared weapon on their flights all day. Thus, AC did not know it was packed in the checked luggage. So they did not do what you said.


    • Air Canada has nothing to do with the alleged shooter who arrived from Minneapolis on a US carrier. Foreign flag carriers do not fly between US cities. And the rest of your gibberish made as little sense as that, so I’m not including any of it in my blog.

      • Joe Farrell Says:

        Ok. So now he arrived on Delta? Delta had no idea he had a gun because he NEVER declared it in accordance with TSA requirements and the law. Once again gun laws are broken by criminals. What a shock. So how can Delta be responsible for something it didn’t know about?

        I get you’re anti-gun. But your blog assumes Delta knew. Assumes facts not in evidence. Sir.

  2. Capt. Manno, Bravo for your compelling question regarding why airlines can deliver weapons into the very area where they are prohibited? Crazy!!

    How can this loophole be changed?!

  3. Randy Sohn Says:

    Yup Chris, “tis a problem, tis”. Guess concerning “carrying weapons on air carriers”, the peeps up in Alaska pretty routinely take their hunting weapons with them when they go hunting, sometimes they travel on an air carrier to get there.

    • Agreed, Randy. I’m a gun owner and I support concealed carry, which I believe is vital to individual self-defense. But no one except LEOs should be allowed to have a weapon in areas designated as weapons-free zones. If I can’t carry mine there, I don’t want anyone else to bring theirs in or out to check or claim.

  4. Johhny Figerardo Says:

    I understand this thought process but I just do not see how this would prevent anything. He could have then picked up his weapon from the cargo facility, made his way back to the baggage claim area, and had the same effect. Unless they start screening people before they even enter the airport I do not see a way to really prevent this from happening again.

    • A very good point, but as I said, violence can always infiltrate from the outside–nonetheless, it’s vital to close all of the inside risk factors. In this case, that would be not ignoring their own prohibition.

  5. Transport gun only, no ammo, period.

  6. I also have a CCL and need a weapon to travel with me to various destinations within the U.S. where I don’t feel safe. Most states have reciprocity with Texas and there’s no real problem transporting the weapon in checked luggage…unless, of course, someone does something crazy at a baggage claim.

    Rather than have separate shipping for weapons, I’d just rather see (and pay for through fees) increased police presence at these baggage claims. It’s a small price to pay to keep the 2nd Amendment alive and well.

  7. Royce Jones Says:


    Sent from my iPhone


  8. He could have walked into the claim area from the ground side.

    So you screen entering from ground side. Now there is a large group of people clustered at that screening point.

    So you make the airport like a military base, set up a perimeter gate, and search every car before it enters the airport.

    Now you have a very long line of cars that are sitting ducks from the next Muslim terrorist.

    So you just ban all guns.

    Terrorists laugh at you.

  9. The real issue is that gun free zones are ineffective. For someone intent on murder, the criminal charge associated with violating a “gun free zone” law is likely their smallest concern. If these areas are to be gun free, then it should be incumbent on the airport authority to staff the area with a police presence sufficient to respond to a violent event.

    • Kind of my whole point: if I can’t carry mine, don’t let anyone else claim theirs in the “gun free zone.”

      • The point has been raised above though – there are other ways into this gun free zone. This guy (or anyone else) could have driven to the airport and walked into the baggage claim area with the gun to open fire. The fact that he accessed his weapon from checked baggage is really beside the point. Unless a venue is going to provide armed police (or private security?) AND take effective steps to screen individuals for weapons, gun free zones are purely security theater.

      • It’s not “beside the point”–it is the point: don’t hand a gun to anyone in a gun free zone. People bringing a gun into a gun free zone is a separate problem, which doesn’t in any way justify ignoring the first problem: don’t allow guns to be delivered in your own gun free zone.

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