A Georgia man took a loaded rifle in the airport in and was questioned by a police officer about why he chose to open carry his AR-15. Jim Cooley was not breaking any laws, and after he was questioned by the officer and then told to have a good day, he went on his way. The incident occurred at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport.
The loaded rifle at the airport video has now gone viral. Jim Cooley was legally allowed to open carry the AR-15 rifle at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport because of a year-old law in the state. Cooley told the media that he knew he was lawfully exercising his Second Amendment rights by carrying the AR with a loaded 100-round drum at the airport while dropping his daughter off for her flight.
Jim Cooley, of Winder, Georgia, was reportedly first questioned about the open carry of a loaded rifle at the airport by a fire marshal and then by an Atlanta police officer. Both stop and chat sessions reportedly occurred in the “unsecured areas” of the Atlanta airport. When asked why he was carrying the AR-15 rifle, Cooley responded that he was exercising his Second Amendment rights and was, as always, concerned about personal safety.
The Georgia state law addressing the open carry of guns in airports took effect July 1, 2014. The statute allows a permitted citizen with either a “handgun or a rifle to carry the licensed weapon in commercial airports, bars, schools, and churches.” Federal law still prohibits the carry of a firearm or weapon into or beyond the TSA screening area. Jim Cooley did not reportedly venture into the gun-free zone at the airport.
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) June 3, 2015
“I told her [the officer] I was carrying this for safely when she asked me why. It shouldn’t matter what I carry, just that I choose to carry. You never know where something might happen. If you don’t exercise your rights, the government doesn’t have any hesitation taking them away,” Cooley also told the media.
Each time that Cooley was stopped for carrying the loaded rifle, he asked if he was being detained — each time, the airport staffers responded that he was not. As the viral video shows, the encounters appear to be polite and respectful.
“At no time was Mr. Cooley deprived of his ability to leave property or freely move around the airport with the weapon. Officers followed to assure the safety of all patrons at the airport,” an Atlanta police report about the open carry of a loaded rifle at the airport reportedly states.
What do you think about the loaded rifle airport viral video?
[Image via Shutterstock]