U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., unveiled legislation that would make it illegal to carry a gun into non-federally regulated areas of an airport, such as the airport lobby, baggage claim area and ticket counter. It would exempt law enforcement, military personnel and security officers.
“In the post-9/11 world, it simply defies common sense that it would be legal to carry a gun into an airport,” he said in a statement. “Our airports face threats every day and allowing someone to walk into a major airport with a loaded gun is a recipe for disaster. My legislation will ban guns in airports and make air travel more safe and secure.”
Lautenberg’s proposal comes weeks after Georgia lawmakers overwhelmingly adopted a measure that would allow registered gun owners to carry their firearms into parts of airports throughout the state that are not federally regulated. That includes parts of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest.
Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue has yet to signal whether he will sign the legislation, but it has the support of gun rights advocates and several prominent GOP leaders.
State Rep. Tim Bearden, a former police officer who sponsored the legislation, said the proposal was aimed at protecting and restoring the Second Amendment rights of Georgia residents. He said Lautenberg’s proposal was an example of “the federal government trying to trump state rights.”
“Posting a metal sign that says ‘Gun-Free Zone’ is not going to stop a terrorist or any criminal intent on doing harm to law-abiding citizens,” said Bearden, a Villa Rica Republican. “And our laws that are awaiting signature by the governor pertains only to law-abiding citizens it’s their Second Amendment rights we’re trying to protect.”
Georgia gun advocates have long sought to allow firearms in parts of the state’s airports, first passing a measure in 2008 that allowed those with permits to carry firearms on mass transit. Atlanta quickly declared Hartsfield-Jackson “a gun-free zone” and warned that anyone carrying a gun there would be arrested.
Gun rights group GeorgiaCarry.org sued the city and the airport, saying it qualifies as public transportation under the new law. But a federal judge disagreed and dismissed the lawsuit, and a federal appeals panel upheld that decision a few months later.
Source: Greg Bluestein USA Today.