Represent! | Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LAX shooting: Bill would ban guns at all U.S. airports

Police officers would still be allowed to carry guns at LAX in proposed bill.
Police officers would still be allowed to carry guns at LAX in proposed bill.
Mae Ryan/KPCC

Suspected LAX shooter Paul Ciancia was breaking the law when he brought a loaded gun to the airport, even before he allegedly killed Transportation Security Administration agent Gerardo Hernandez and wounded several others. 

Federal law prohibits passengers from bringing guns onto planes or past the security checkpoint. But California law prohibits people from carrying loaded firearms in public places.

That's not the case in many other states.

Now, a Democrat from Georgia, Congressman Hank Johnson, wants to make it illegal to bring a gun to airports nationwide. Johnson has introduced HR3484, the Airport Security Act, which prohibits anyone visiting terminals, parking in airport lots or waiting at shuttle bus stops from carrying a firearm.

Police are allowed to carry firearms, as are those passing through the airport on a bus.

Unloaded guns, carried in hard-sided,  locked luggage are allowed as long as a passenger has the key or combination to the lock and has a ticket. 

Congressman Johnson said the recent shooting at LAX prompted the legislation. "It defies logic that we would allow anyone other than law enforcement officials to carry a loaded gun within an airport,” he said.

The union representing TSA agents switched its position on carrying guns and now says some agents should be armed. U.S. Attorney Eric Holder says "given what happened in Los Angeles," the issue should be examined. 

Johnson's measure has nearly a dozen co-sponsors, all of them House Democrats, including Henry Waxman of Los Angeles. The bill's been sent to the  Homeland Security Committee.

A similar bill was introduced in the Democratic-led Senate three years ago. The measure died before ever getting a committee hearing.