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Michigan revamps law restricting weapons in airports

House Bill 6123 would amend an outdated and inaccurate definition for sterile area that could make the law unenforceable
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The House Transportation Committee today approved state Rep. John Damoose’s plan to protect Michigan airports, clarifying a statute that restricts weapon possession in airports.
Michigan law prohibits possessing or carrying a firearm, explosive, knife, or other dangerous weapons within a commercial airport’s sterile area, which is the part of an airport after the security checkpoint. Damoose’s House Bill 6123 would amend a loophole — an outdated, inaccurate definition for sterile area — that could render the law unenforceable, a concern raised by county prosecutors.
“Michigan travellers need safe, reliable transportation,” said Damoose, R-Harbor Springs. “To protect passengers, we must secure our infrastructure. My legislation will make air travel safer by ensuring prosecutors can bring criminals who jeopardize airport security to justice.”
The state law restricting weapon possession currently defines sterile area according to a federal rule but cites a part of the Code of Federal Regulations that no longer deals with airport sterile areas. HB 6123, which is backed by prosecutors and airport officials alike, would update the law to define sterile area based on current federal regulations.
The plan is part of Damoose’s overarching effort to safeguard Michigan's infrastructure. Damoose’s HB 5315 would heighten penalties for illegal access to the Mackinac Bridge and other major bridges in the state. The bill passed the House of Representatives earlier this year with overwhelming bipartisan support, and it is currently under consideration by the Senate.