Perdue: Guns should be OK at airport


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Gov. Sonny Perdue said Monday that he believes guns should be allowed in the non-secure areas of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

A new state law that went into effect July allows individuals who pass background checks to carry concealed weapons on public transportation, in state parks and restaurants that serve alcohol.

But the question of whether that extends to parts of the airport is the subject of a federal lawsuit. Perdue on Monday said he has not asked for a legal opinion on the issue, but that his “lay opinion” would be that guns would be allowed in the airport’s parking lots, atrium and all areas before the security gates. Guns would still not be allowed in the boarding gates or terminals, which require security screening, he said.

Asked whether it was his opinion that it was a good idea to allow guns at the airport, Perude said yes.

“If my wife wanted to carry a gun, if she was going from the parking lot, walking from one of those far parking lots to pick up a grandchild or something like that, I think that’s a good idea, yes,” he said.

The gun rights group GeorgiaCarry.org is suing the city of Atlanta and its airport over restrictions on firearms in the terminal. They’ve asked a federal judge for a temporary order stopping officials from arresting anyone caught with a weapon. A hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. Aug. 11.

The day the new gun law took effect, airport officials threatened to arrest a state legislator who had announced he planned to bring a handgun to the airport when he went there to pick up visitors. Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport General Manager Ben DeCosta said guns in the airport would violate another state law that bans firearms at “public gatherings, ” and said they would have police arrest anyone bringing a firearm to the airport.

In the request for a temporary restraining order, attorney John Monroe said state Rep. Tim Bearden’s Fourth Amendment protection from illegal searches and seizures would be violated if he were arrested for exercising his Second Amendment right to carry a gun inside nonsecured areas of the airport.

The motion for a temporary restraining order said Bearden, a Villa Rica Republican, would be harmed if the airport carried out its threat to arrest him while the airport would not suffer harm waiting until there is a decision on the suit.


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