To travel with a dog to Puerto Rico, an airline passenger must show proof of the pet’s updated rabies vaccination, a health certificate signed by a veterinarian, and pay $100 to cover the airline fee. To travel with five Glock handguns, three AK-47 assault rifles, and 11 pounds of ammunition, reports the Orlando Sentinel, an American Airlines passenger simply needs to inform an employee and make sure the weapons are packed securely and safely before they’re placed onto the luggage conveyor belt.
Those rules are far too lenient, say law enforcement officials in Puerto Rico and Florida. The ease with which weapons are shipped on commercial airliners, they say, is helping to fuel record murder rates on an island with strict gun regulations. It’s estimated that at least 60 percent of the guns seized in Puerto Rico in the past 10 years came from Florida, says the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Many of the guns linked to more than 7,000 murders during those years arrived aboard commercial airlines. News of a March 5 security breach at Orlando International Airport in which two Comair workers smuggled 14 guns aboard a San Juan-bound Delta flight didn’t surprised anyone in the Puerto Rico Police Department. Police Superintendent Pedro Toledo has been warning for years about the illegal flow of weapons from the mainland — especially from Orlando.