Jones bill would clarify restrictions of weapons in airports

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Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones has introduced legislation to update Michigan law prohibiting carrying a weapon into an airport.

“The Prosecuting Attorneys Association advised me that current Michigan law concerning someone carrying a gun into an airport needs to be updated,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Our state law needs to meet the current federal definition about weapons in airports so that prosecutors will be able to press charges against those who violate the law.”

Currently, Michigan has an outdated reference to federal law in state statute, creating the uncertainty of the exact locations that weapons cannot be possessed or carried in commercial airports.

Senate Bill 1099 would update the definition of “sterile area” to coincide with the current federal definition, to clearly state where a firearm, explosive, knife, razor, or a dangerous weapon is prohibited in an airport.

According to the Transportation Security Administration’s Year in Review report, a record-high number of firearms were discovered last year in carry-on bags across the country. The nearly 4,000 guns found at airport security checkpoints in 2017 is roughly a 17 percent increase from 2016.

“As a former sheriff, safety and security is of the utmost importance to me — especially in airports,” Jones said. “I also want to make sure the main focus of our security efforts in airports remains on those who have bad intentions and are trying to hurt people — not on those who are allowed to carry weapons and simply forgot they were in their luggage.”