Video: Man Brings AR-15 Into World’s Busiest Airport – Legally


Many bystanders were shocked when Jim Cooley walked into the Atlanta airport to drop his daughter off.  No, he wasn’t being loud.  He wasn’t crying or making a scene while sending his daughter off on her trip.  He just casually had a fully loaded (read: bullets – lots of them) AR-15 Semi-automatic rifle slung around his shoulder.  

Yahoo! News reports:

The story of a man who walked into Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Friday carrying a loaded AR-15 semiautomatic rifle has gone viral. And here’s the most amazing part of it: his actions were completely legal, thanks to Georgia’s gun laws. Passed in 2014, the HB 512 Safe Carry Protection Act allows people to openly carry a rifle in an airport, so long as they don’t try to go through security.

The armed Cooley was dropping his daughter off for a flight, when police officers approached Cooley, asking why he was carrying a semiautomatic weapon with an extended capacity 100-round drum.

His response? “Safety.”

Cooley posted videos on YouTube, recording his conversations with the officers.

“You’ve got quite a few people afraid because calls are like just coming in left and right,” one officer says to Cooley.

“People’s fears are not my responsibility,” Cooley responds, then goes on to explain his rights. “If you’re detaining me, then I’m going to have to file a lawsuit against the airport,“ he says.

Cooley explained his actions to Atlanta’s WBS-TV Channel 2: “It shouldn’t matter what I carry, just that I choose to carry,” Cooley said. “You never know where something might happen.”

According to Cooley, he was exercising his rights: “If you don’t exercise your rights, the government doesn’t have any hesitation taking them away,” Cooley told WBS-TV Channel 2.

This isn’t the first example of someone carrying a gun into an airport to make a statement. In July, Dr. Peter Steinmetz, a director at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, made headlines when he walked around Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport with an AR-15 over his shoulder. It is also legal to carry a gun in an airport in Arizona before security.

Hartsfield-Jackson International is the busiest airport in the world.

  • fatwillie

    This type of action does not help the cause, it if anything, it has a negative affect. While I really believe he, you and I have the right to bear arms without any infringement, in this society today that we are trying to win over or change, this will only make them angry. We need to exercise our rights differently today then yesterday and use caution until such time as this will be easily excepted by most, and nobody will think twice about it. Reeducating the people to make them understand exactly what their rights are, and everyone else rights is paramount to being able to exercise them without losing ground. It is best to use sound judgement, intelligence, and patience when not only exercising rights today, but when trying to make a point. I wonder if somehow the point in this case was more of an attention grabber then an effort to teach.