Last updated: 10:19 AM ET, Fri June 05 2015

Man Accuses Authorities of Harassment after Bringing Gun to Airport

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | June 05, 2015

Man Accuses Authorities of Harassment after Bringing Gun to Airport

In one of the wildest stories you’ll read all day, an Atlanta man is accusing authorities at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport of harassing him due to the fact that he was walking around the building with a loaded AR-15 rifle.

According to Michael King of WXIA-TV, a 50-year-old man named Jim Cooley claims that he was dropping his daughter off at the Hartsfield-Jackson airport when police officers stopped him on several occasions for carrying his weapon in a public area.

In Georgia, the state law allows for the open carrying of weapons, including in the airport, as long as those carrying guns do not attempt to enter any TSA-controlled secure areas. While it may be allowed by law, seeing a man walking around with a semi-automatic rifle is a bit unnerving.

Cooley spoke to the New York Daily News about the incidents, saying, “People think that if you're simply carrying your firearm, regardless of how you're carrying it, you're a bad person. But if you're not carrying it in a menacing or threatening manner, it should be no cause for concern for anybody.”

The local Atlanta police officers in the airport were also concerned and stopped Cooley on several occasions to ask about carrying the weapon. After declaring he was carrying the weapon for safety and being told by authorities he wasn’t being detained, Cooley continued on his way.

Cooley even managed to capture some of the confrontations with police on video, via YouTube:

As Cooley was leaving the airport, he claims three officers also followed him to his car and snapped photos of him and his vehicle. While the man had every right to bring the weapon to the airport by law, the problems that could arise from this situation are clear.

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