Florida Airport Shooting Calls Local Airport Security into Question

The shooter killed at least 5 people and injured 8

The fact that the alleged Fort Lauderdale shooter, 26-year-old Esteban Santiago, grabbed a gun from his checked bag is raising a whole new set of concerns about airport security.

Among them: what are the restrictions on checking a weapon? What about security outside the checkpoint? Could it happen here?

The answer is yes, it could happen at Lindbergh Field and at any airport in the country.

Anyone permitted to own a gun is allowed to transport it through commercial airlines.

The Transportation Security Administration makes the rules, airline personnel secure the weapons in flight and Harbor Police are responsible for patrolling the airport.

Guns and ammunition, like other checked baggage, flow in and out of airports mostly unnoticed by the majority of the traveling public.

“Firearms are transported safely and securely everyday through just about every airport in the country,” Harbor Police Chief John Bolduc says.

Chief Bolduc says the tragedy in the baggage claim at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport is a new kind of security concern.

“Every airport in the country will collaborate on this and see if there are vulnerabilities that we can identify and improve or increase security posture as needed,” Chief Bolduc says.

The Transportation Security Administration allows passengers to check unloaded firearms and some ammunition in locked, hard-sided containers. TSA even offers a how-to video online.

The mass shooting in Fort Lauderdale suggests the baggage claim area might be unsafe. Chief Bolduc says security is prioritized where crowds gather at the airport.

"We certainly will focus on those areas where a lot of people are congregated. We'll try to provide the best security posture that we can, “Chief Bolduc says.

Whether there is a loophole in TSA's procedures or this was another mass shooting in an unexpected location is a debate that has already begun.

“Right now it is too premature to say whether those procedures are adequate and effective, in every single possible circumstance. It's very difficult to put in procedures that account for every possible scenario,” Chief Bolduc tells NBC 7.

Chief Bolduc says travelers this weekend might notice an increased police presence. NBC 7 noticed Harbor Police patrolling with assault style rifles across their chest, a posture they don't always take.

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