How could Esteban Santiago, identified by local police as the gunman who killed at least five people at the Fort Lauderdale, Fla. airport Friday, have had a loaded gun in an airport?
Both Canada and the United States allow air passengers to fly with guns and ammunition, but the rules are designed to keep them out of reach in checked luggage during flight.
The two countries’ rules are similar, but Canada’s are somewhat stricter:
- The U.S. Transportation Security Administration requires people flying with guns to put them in checked bags, unloaded, in a locked container. Passengers should tell the airline about the gun. Ammunition should also be in a locked, checked container. Under the American rules, it can be in the same locked case as the firearm.
- The Canadian rules are similar: guns in locked containers in checked bags only. The Canadian rules also require trigger locks, and say that guns and ammunition should be in separate locked containers. Air Canada requires passengers with guns to show up 30 minutes early to take care of all the paperwork.
The story told by Broward Police Commissioner Chip LaMarca is consistent with the rules:
“He checked his bag and took the gun from baggage and went into the bathroom to load it,” LaMarca told the Associated Press. “He came out shooting people in baggage claim.”
Florida Senator Bill Nelson told MSNBC that Santiago had a military ID and handgun with him when he allegedly opened fire inside Terminal 2, which serves Delta Air Lines and Air Canada. It’s still unclear if the ID belonged to Santiago or to someone else.
Air Canada tweeted Friday afternoon that Santiago wasn’t on either of their flights that arrived in Fort Lauderdale, and that no passenger on those flights had checked a gun. The only two flights from Canada that landed at Fort Lauderdale today were Air Canada’s — a Fort Lauderdale-bound WestJet flight from Calgary was diverted to Montreal.
WATCH: Sheriff Scott Israel with the Broward Sheriff’s Office told reporters Friday afternoon that police are still unsure of the shooter at the Ft. Lauderdale airport was targeting a person or persons in his attack.