A Georgia mans walks into an airport; no it is not the start of a joke, but what some are saying is the start of a precedent that could lead to more trouble than it is worth.
Jim Cooley, a 2nd Amendment supporter and Georgia resident walked into the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport with wife and daughter in tow, and his AR-15 conveniently slung in a “safe” carry position.
Legally able to carry his rifle in Georgia, that right extends into the terminals of one of the world’s busiest airports as well, putting the law on his side. He stated to the Daily News that he was not concerned with igniting fear in others who see him packing in public.
“People think that if you’re simply carrying your firearm, regardless of how you’re carrying it, you’re a bad person,” he told the News Wednesday morning. “But if you’re not carrying it in a menacing or threatening manner, it should be no cause for concern for anybody.”
Cooley, who is a Chicago native now lives in Winder, Ga., found national attention this week after taking photos of himself holding his rifle in Atlanta’s airport. He later sent them to Atlanta’s WSBTV whose reporting started some internet/social media outrage of his “reckless” actions.
A law passed last July in Georgia has made in perfectly legal for carriers to “carry” their weapons into a variety of public places, including bars, churches, school grounds and even some airports. Federal laws only prohibit carriers from taking those weapons into the security screening areas or beyond.
He claims that only those who are ignorant of the laws will fear the sight of him carrying in public places.
“If they’re concerned, people need to be educated more,” he said.
Although he had many a horrified “stare” from passersby and authorities alike, he continued through the terminal with his semi-automatic rifle with 100-round drum magazine, seeing his daughter off for her flight.
He also recorded his confrontations with airport authorities and posted them to YouTube last week. In one of the videos, you can hear a guard telling that he is scaring the passengers. His response; “Well, people’s fears are not my responsibility.”
The 50 year-old Cooley stated that this wasn’t the first time he has brought a rifle to the airport, the first was earlier in May when picking his daughter up. He said that “no one even batted an eye”.
He did say that he was a bit annoyed this time, after several people including authorities questioned his right to be there, and they even followed him to his car.
“Why should anyone come up to me and ask me why I’m doing something I have the right to do?” he said to the News. “It’s like asking you, ‘Why are you breathing?'”
The local and federal laws definitely agree with him on his decision to carry in public, the question is; Does he understand why some people would take offense or fear him?
“No,” he replied. “I expect people to understand Georgia law. If they don’t know it, if they can’t stand the sight of someone carrying a gun, they should stay inside.”
I’d love to hear y’alls thoughts on this? Does Cooley have the right and if so, should he take advantage of that right?
Does carrying your firearm in public, visible to God and everyone else, have a positive impact on society?
I look at it this way;
We have an inherent right bestowed upon us by our creator, to protect ourselves by any means available. Our Founders further protected that right via the Bill of Rights and our 2nd Amendment. The public in general have gone a very long time without seeing the public display of firearms, in the hands of law-abiding citizens. If for NO other reason than it’s time the public gets a chance to see what a legal, law-abiding, responsible citizen looks like when carrying a firearm in public.
Remember, for some people; “Out of sight, is out of mind.” We as gun owners love them and have been around them most of our lives, but there are a lot of people out there that are very unsure about them, and only have the “media” to learn from. Maybe if for NO other reason, legally carrying your firearm in public can be a very good thing in terms of getting non-firearm owners used to seeing them again.