Jim Cooley walked into the world’s busiest airport with an AR-15 fitted with a drum magazine slung across his chest last week, and has the temerity to feign offense when law enforcement reasonably took an interest in him:
A metro Atlanta man says he was harassed for exercising his second amendment rights while at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport last week.
Jim Cooley says that while he and his wife took his daughter to the airport after a vacation, he openly carried his AR-15 rifle – which is his right under Georgia state law.
And while city officials have in the past expressed dismay over the fact that citizens are permitted to carry weapons in the open and public areas of the airport, it is, indeed, perfectly legal for citizens to walk through the airport with their weapons displayed in view, provided they do not move into the TSA-controlled secure areas of the airport property.
Cooley says he was approached by several Atlanta Police officers asking about his firearm, which he said he was carrying for safety, while at the airport.
At no point does Cooley claim that the officers attempted to deny him entry to the airport, or attempt to detain or arrest him. All he alleges is that officers asked him about his decision to walk into an airport with a rifle with a drum magazine.
In the sane world, we call that a “reasonable response” to abnormal behavior, not harassment.
Considering the idiot who shot up LAX several years ago and fears of a “No Russian”-type attack, Mr. Cooley should be happy that officers followed the letter of the law and allowed him to exercise his rights, while still being close at hand to minimize the alarm he was undoubtedly causing with his attention-seeking behavior in the busiest airport in the world.
What people like Mr. Cooley don’t seem to grasp is that they as they exercise their rights in high-risk locations is that their antics must be responded to by law enforcement as a reasonable precaution. While Cooley didn’t come to the busiest airport in the world to shoot it up, there was no way law enforcement officers on the scene could know that, and so they took the very reasonable precaution of attempting to ascertain his motives while respecting his rights.
Unfortunately, when people like Mr. Cooley decide to make a spectacle of themselves, they draw a very finite number airport security assets away from their posts to focus on the potential threat that he clearly poses as a man open-carrying a semi-automatic rifle with a drum magazine. As Cooley draws these fixed assets away from other parts of the airport, he is weakening physical security in other parts of the airport while officers have to deal with him.
Jim Cooley claims that he was open carrying for his safety. It’s too bad that he doesn’t share the same concerns about the security of thousands of other passengers he jeopardized by drawing security assets to focus on his childish antics.