An Atlanta man says he was “harassed” by airport personnel for practicing what he says is his Second Amendment right by carrying a loaded AR-15 rifle into one of America’s busiest airports.
Jim Cooley and his wife were dropping off his daughter at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport with the gun in tow, which is legal under Georgia state law as long as the weapon holder does not attempt to pass TSA- controlled secure areas. It’s no surprise that several people at the airport were concerned about the man carrying a semi-automatic rifle in the airport and altered security. "“It shouldn’t matter what I carry, just that I choose to carry. You never know where something might happen," explained Cooley.
Tensions across the country have been high this week concerning firearms following Gun Violence Awareness Day this week, so his demonstration of personal freedoms comes at an awkward time.
Cooley says that he was approached by several Atlanta police offers and when asked about the rifle, he responded that he was carrying it for safety. It’s true that airports can be frightening places; who knows how desperate people are to cut in line at those check-in counters.
Cooley also took video of himself walking in the airport parking lot with police and security casting a watchful eye on him. “Can I ask why you’re following me?” he asks of a female police officer as she walks towards him. “I just want to make sure there aren’t any problems, sir,” she calmly responds before walking by. Comments and voting have been disabled on the video.
“You know you’re performing an illegal act?” he asks a police officer as he takes a photo of Cooley and his semi-automatic rifle. “I can understand people’s fears but when things are legal they need to know what’s legal.”
It’s unfortunate for Cooley that the general public at the airport were more concerned for their wellbeing than they were interested in a civics lesson.