Last week, a man named Estaban Santiago entered the Fort Lauderdale airport in Florida, and opened fire on civilians, killing five. While some lawmakers like Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz are looking to make having guns in airports completely illegal, two Florida lawmakers are looking to make the laws much more relaxed.
Florida state Sen. Greg Steube and state Rep. Jake Raburn, both Republicans, have both introduced bills into the Florida Senate and House respectively that seek to eliminate gun-free zones from places such as the areas in airports where firearms are prohibited.
While Raburn’s bill, House Bill 6001, deals exclusively with allowing concealed carry permit holders to enter into non-secured parts of the area with their firearm, Steube goes a step further. His bill, Senate Bill 140, would allow gun owners to not only carry in airports, but college campuses, public schools, courthouses, legislative committee meetings, and local government meetings.
“Shooters know they’re gun-free zones, and they know that law-abiding citizens aren’t present to defend themselves and that they [can] go in there and start shooting,” Steube told Yahoo News.
“Those with mental illness and terrorists specifically target locations 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.”
Indeed, John Lott at the Crime Prevention Research Center has run some numbers and found that 98.4% of shootings between 1950 and today have occurred on gun-free zones. While Democrats may believe more guns may lead to more problems, the numbers don’t seem to agree.
Furthermore, while some would consider carrying inside government buildings, many state capitols allow the possession of firearms by not only legislators, but anyone with the legal capability to do so. These capitols include the capitols of Texas, Kentucky, and Kansas.
Steube’s bill will have a hearing at the end of January with the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Steube chairs.