Guns ‘n Airports: What is Georgia Thinking?
Last month Georgia lawmakers decided they would allow guns to be carried in those parts of the the state’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport not expressly controlled by the Federal government. The airport is one of the worlds busiest.
While Georgia Governor Sonny Perdu has not yet signed the bill into law, the legislation allows the carrying of firearms in the airport lobby, ticket counter and baggage claim areas, places not specifically under federal jurisdiction.
Under a 2008 Georgia law, it’s already legal for anyone with a firearms permit to bring a concealed weapon into any public transportation venue. The new bill is an extension of the law.
But as USA Today in the Sky reports, one U.S. Senator thinks the idea is outrageous, and has filed federal legislation to make it illegal to carry a gun into non-federally regulated areas, exactly like the lobby and baggage areas.
Law enforcement would be exempt, but Senator Frank Lautenberg ( D-NJ) said that in the post 9/11 world, it “simply defies common sense that it would be legal to carry a gun into an airport.”
The senator called it a recipe for disaster and said his legislation banning guns in airports would make the airports safer.
Not surprisingly, the Georgia state representative who sponsored the bill, Tim Bearden, argued that the free gun zone would protect and restore second amendment rights, and stop the federal government from “trumping” state rights.
Georgiacarry.org has been very vocal in its support of the measure. Its web site identifies the organization as “Georgia’s No-compromise voice for gun owners,” and strongly urges resident to stop by the Georgia Capitol Building and personally ask the governor to sign the bill. If he’s not there, the web site offers suggestions as to the kinds of messages advocates can leave.
Lautenberg’s legislation has the tacit support of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder who pronounced the Georgia bill “very worrisome” in a recent senate subcommittee meeting.
It’s expected that Lautenberg’s bill, the Firearms-free Airport Act will be met with strong opposition by guns rights activists.
Where are you on this issue?