Guy Brings Rifle To Atlanta Airport Because He Can!

Filed Under: Media

A guy recently walked into Atlanta Airport with a fully loaded rifle, because “if you don’t exercise your rights, the government takes them away.” Oy!


Via WSB-TV Atlanta:

A man carrying a rifle inside the Atlanta airport wasn’t breaking any laws, but he did raise a few eyebrows, including those of some Atlanta police officers.

Jim Cooley says he carried his gun through the terminal when he and his wife went to drop his daughter off for her flight. He says he knew he wasn’t breaking any rules because he has a full understanding of Georgia’s gun laws.

“You can carry in unsecured areas of the airport. Past TSA, never,” Cooley said.

That’s exactly what he did. Cooley carried his AR-15 fully loaded with a 100-round drum through parts of the terminal.

Personally, that’s not something I could ever imagine doing, but it’s apparently technically his right, so…

The point where you know he’s just trying to stir the pot is when he took photos of himself at the airport and sent them to a local news station:

He took photos and videos of himself in the airport. Cooley then sent those videos to Channel 2 Action News via Facebook.

Why did he do it?

Winne asked Cooley, “Don’t you think people are saying, ‘Yeah, you can do it under the law, but should you do it?’”

“If you don’t exercise your rights, the government doesn’t have any hesitation taking them away,” Cooley said.

Now, while the guy with the rifle can technically walk around the airport armed, funny enough he takes issue with the fact that the police kept an eye on him. He was never deprived of his ability to leave property or freely move around, yet somehow he feels cops “shouldn’t” have done that:

Cooley says he was first approached by a fire marshal who asked him why he was carrying the gun in the airport. He was then approached by an APD officer, who asked him about the gun and whether he was permitted to carry the weapon.

“I told her I was carrying this for safety when she asked me why,” Cooley posted on Facebook.

Cooley says as he and his wife began to leave the airport the APD officer stopped him again and radioed to others that he was carrying an automatic weapon. Cooley says he was then followed to his car by a police lieutenant and two officers, who took pictures of their car.

Cooley says he doesn’t believe Atlanta police officers should have followed him out of the airport to his car.

An APD police report says, “At no time was Mr. Cooley deprived of his ability to leave property or freely move around the airport with the weapon. Officers followed to assure the safety of all patrons at the airport.”

It’s sort of funny that he’s carrying a gun around the airport not because he thinks he should, but because he legally can. But when the argument turns to the cops, suddenly it’s about what they should do and not what they legally can do.

Here’s a news clip where they interview the guy:

  1. Looking at the guy’s eyes, not sure the bullet ends up where he is actually looking. guess it depends if he looks with his left or right eye… he reminds me of Marty Feldman as Igor in Young Frankenstein….

  2. This guy, the NRA, and their gun fascination make me sick, as do all the Neanderthals that want every man, woman, child and baby to brandish guns publicly.

  3. I’m all for gun rights and the laws that allows this guy to carry the rifle around in the airport, but I still think it is utterly idiotic and hurts the pro second amendment folks when people do shit like this.

  4. He lives in Atlanta, but brings his AR-15 to the airport concourse for “safety”? With all the armed cops there? Never let it be said that this country doesn’t indulge enough nutbags.

  5. A guy in my state makes a point of walking down the street with one of these guns. I understand gun rights and don’t really have an issue with them. But, I think they’re dumbasses when they do it explicitly to get attention, or piss and moan when someone calls the police or if the police make sure to keep an eye on him. If you’re a police officer and you see a guy walk into an airport (Or anywhere else) you would immediately assess him as the biggest threat to public safety in the area. He may not be a threat, but they don’t know that and can’t know that and wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t monitor the biggest threat in the area.

  6. This guy has literally nothing better to do than to publicly flaunt a privilege afforded to him for extreme circumstances (threats to his life/property/etc.). The incredible arrogance is astounding because he has clearly no understanding of his actions on the rest of the public: the police time that was used (wasted) to monitor him, the unease he caused among people at the airport. How would this have turned out if this individual were African American or of Middle Eastern decent? I bet the uproar to that would have been deafening in the media, police, and people at the airport. This is just sick.

  7. This makes me embarrassed to be from Georgia. The gun laws there are unbelievably stupid. You can bring a gun into a bar. Sounds like a good idea to get drunk and have a loaded gun…NOT.

  8. It’s not rights that you don’t exercise they take away, it’s rights morons like him exercise in way that threaten public safety that they take away. So glad I don’t live anywhere near these backwoods people. Just another example of someone trying to feel more powerful because their life’s path has beaten them down into feeling weak. Unfortunately, he reproduced.

  9. I’m a brazilian 24 year-old guy who support this guy action and the 2nd amendment. while in america you can safely walk on the streets (i use to live in texas and it was safe) here in brazil, minors (9, 10, 15, 17 yo) and bandits are doing what they want and we can’t. JUST CAN”T bear guns. There is a bill (that i believe that might pass by the end of this year) that a citizien 21+ will carry handguns (only) after a shooting test, etc. brazilians can’t stand this violence anymore. since 2003 lula (the disgraced “socialist” president) took the firearms from the people and in 2005 there was a referendum asking “should people have the right to beans guns?” and 64% of the people said YES but they still neglected our right to have guns. anyway, violence keep climbing here, we can’t buy anything nice these rats want to robb us. I just thought the guy could be nicer to the police officers and say “i’m no terrorist i’m just rightfully openly carrying my riffle”

  10. He also exercises his white privilege. Let’s see what happens if a middle eastern guy tries to do this.

  11. Not sure what the issue is here. Georgia law allows open carry (and the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms). People may think that it was stupid for this guy to bring his gun into the airport, but the law allows us to do many dumb things.

  12. I’d like to see a group of six Arabs wearing keffiyehs hop out of a van at the airport with AR-15s strapped to their chests and run (because they’re running late, of course) into the airport to say goodbye to a friend. That would be a test of second amendment rights worth taking. 🙂

  13. @Tom: Right on!

    This lunatic’s actions highlight the need to repeal the 2nd Amendment.

  14. I find it ridiculous that it’s legal to carry guns in any part of the airport, or in any number of other public places where in much of America it’s allowed. But I find your concluding commentary a little bizarre – “It’s sort of funny that he’s carrying a gun around the airport not because he thinks he should, but because he legally can. But when the argument turns to the cops, suddenly it’s about what they should do and not what they legally can do.” Well of course police officers are held to a different standard than Average Joe. They are there to protect the public so there absolutely should be a vigorous debate about what they should and should not do.

  15. btw, I believe in the second amendment as a deterrent to criminals and tyranny, but I do believe in TRUE freedom without regard to skin color, race, or religion.

    I also think we won’t see more hijackings or an automatic weapons slaying at an airport by terrorists. Airports have limited ability to terrorize the general populace as many don’t fly. Furthermore, they’re a much more hardened target. Our local little airport in Wichita has several cops in body armor and assault rifles patrolling, for instance. A mall would be a much more effective terror target both because it’s so poorly defended and because it strikes terror in the hearts of more people because everyone goes to a mall. If AQ/ISIS is smart, they’ll attack in a state with strict gun control laws. There’s a much higher risk of failure in a state with strong support for 2nd amendment. It’s the same basic reason 9/11 will never happen again: citizens are both empowered and motivated to stop a terror attack by dogpiling a hijacker (9/11) or shooting them in a mall.

  16. I think this sort of thing boils down to two viewpoints:

    1. This guy illustrates what’s great about America.
    2. This guy illustrates what’s wrong with America.

    He seems to think his rights are like muscles; they atrophy if you don’t exercise them.

  17. @HansGolden – I’m with your sentiment but am afraid such a test would turn out fatally (or at least very badly) for those six Arabs.

  18. @Tom: Bingo. If a non-white person did this, the news stories would be all about how the TSA & police shot a guy who was carrying gun before he could kill anyone.

  19. 02nz, I agree and it was meant as a rhetorical point about an exercise of 2nd amendment rights that is ACTUALLY endangered. I would not ask my worst enemy to actually carry out that test of rights.

  20. Everybody Hates A Tourist, I would like to applaud your name. It’s poignant in the most mundane of times, but for this post, it’s priceless. Especially since I first read it as “terrorist”.

  21. Hey, isn’t Creflo Dollar also from Atlanta? Does Atlanta actually have anyone who is not a whack job, a nut case, or a loony tune?

  22. Ben –

    Many dudes, way less competent than this guy, carry guns in the Atlanta Airport all the time. They just happen to have their “magic costume” on when they do it.

    Citizens should flex their liberty muscles. Without exercising them they atrophy like human muscles.

  23. @Chisness

    Good find.

    I love how comments on his video are disabled. Could he be any more hypocritical than to exercise HIS right to free speech and HIS right to bear arms, yet deny others of their right to free speech by disabling comments?

  24. Well, I guess law is a bit different up here in Washington then. Here in Washington State “a person may legally open-carry in Washington state in any place it is legal to possess a loaded handgun, as long as it does not manifest “an intent to intimidate another or [warrant] alarm for the safety of other persons.” I remembered my law professor mentioned therefore carrying a AK47 down the road without any reason will not be ok…

  25. @ Tocqueville — I’m curious what you think would happen in a scenario like the one HansGolden describes above?

  26. Here a question for “Wyatt Earp”: would he sleep well at home knowing that his daughter is in an aeroport or bus station and there is a weird looking guy with a machine gun, fully loaded, walking around and nobody can do nothing about it? what if he starts spraying bullets because he just got a ticket for double parking?
    can he protect his daughter, who is hundred of miles away in a different city, from criminals, rapists and what not?

  27. The “right to bear arms” part doesn’t bother me. But with today’s terror threats, no state law should allow open carry anywhere IN AN AIRPORT!!! That needs to be fixed asap.

  28. JD, there are a lot of southerners that would be delighted (both historically and contemporarily) if the US did just that. The Republic of Texas, anyone?

  29. Iam really amazed he took his daughter to an airport for a flight.
    Seems more appropriate for this level of intelligence to hitch up some horses to the family covered wagon and send her out through the front pasture.

  30. Amazing that all you smug, condescending, enlightened, anti -2nd amendment, zealots managed to ignore the post from Ruben from Brazil. I guess you wouldn’t want a dose of reality to get in the way of your self-righteous blather. My favorite was the commenter that wrote, “let’s give up the south.” Yeah, because we all know that the enlightened northern cities of Detroit, Chicago & New York, for example, have never experienced any gun violence.

    Of course the guy at the airport is an idiot. It doesn’t mean that the literally millions of responsible gun owners in the US should be put in the same category.

  31. Hello everyone, let me preface by saying that anyone is of course free to respond to me- and either agree or disagree with me. I am not however interested in getting into an argument or swapping insults. (and I say this because I know it’s a such a polarizing issue).

    This is my comment from another website.

    “I have many friends in the ATL who exercise their 2’d amendment rights and either OC or CC- and not a single one carries a long gun as they go about their business because it’s not exactly practical.

    It’s not illegal or unconstitutional for LEO to approach folks and ask them questions. The citizen can elect to engage and answer them; they can remain silent, they can also leave. It falls under consensual interaction. What they can’t do is compel a citizen to answer them or detain them unless they suspect them of a crime- and clearly that’s not what happened.

    The citizen went about his ‘business’ but was unsatisfied with police presence and actually went out of his way to further engage them.

    I am all for open carry rights- and I have to say this was one of the more ineffectual videos I have seen whose intent was to educate the general public or ‘catch’ the police in violation of constitutional rights.

    What I can however reasonably predict is like pretty much every other airport in the US- that Hatfield airport authority will now pressure the state to make open carry restricted on site.”.

    I will also add that pretty much every pro OC (open carry) or 2’d amendment site or group I belong to and read are displeased with this individuals antics.

  32. “It’s sort of funny that he’s carrying a gun around the airport not because he thinks he should, but because he legally can. But when the argument turns to the cops, suddenly it’s about what they should do and not what they legally can do.”

    Brian, you can call me a neanderthal if you think it makes you seem intelligent (hint: it doesn’t, and I’ll put my IQ and degrees up against yours any time), but I guarantee you’ll be standing behind me if somebody tries an attack at a movie we’re both attending. The bottom line is the police (even if they were capable of doing so, which is another argument entirely) cannot protect you in the time it takes somebody to harm you. You either do it yourself or become a victim. Or you can live in a magic land where nobody intends to harm you… I hear those drugs aren’t that expensive.

  33. I really enjoy visiting America, but the attitude to guns is just bonkers. I also fear that had this man not been middle-aged and white, his treatment may have sadly been very different given recent events.

  34. Just read in our hometown paper this guy lives in the same small town I do. Maybe I should look him up.
    Might want to ride shotgun with him on his next trip to Atlanta. They’re your rights. Stand up for them and use them. We’ve lost our 4th and 10th amendment rights. Frigging shame.

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