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Many U.S. Airports Allow Loaded Guns Outside of TSA Screening Areas

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By Allan Lengel and James Gordon Meek
ABC News

Not only is it legal in America to transport unloaded, cased and locked firearms as checked luggage on airlines, but to the dismay of airport security officers it is also legal to carry a loaded weapon into 11 of the top 20 major airports including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Phoenix and Las Vegas — which all have had incidents, as ABC News has found.

The killing of five travelers inside a Florida airport last week allegedly by a man who legally transported a handgun from Alaska in his checked luggage has renewed concerns over state laws that allow firearms to be carried into baggage claim and ticketing areas in half of the busiest U.S. airports.

While airport security has been significantly tightened since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, gun-friendly state laws nationwide allow law-abiding citizens to possess firearms in areas outside of the TSA passenger screening security bubble like the check-in lounge and baggage claim, even in major terminals.

In some instances, gun rights advocates carrying loaded AR-15 assault rifles through public areas of major American airports have caused a stir, despite having a legal right to openly carry their weapons.

Some airports allow only “open carry,” while others require that weapons be concealed by individuals who hold state gun permits that are given to those who pass background checks.

To read the full story click here.


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