Federal court upholds gun ban in Atlanta airport

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ATLANTA - A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld a judge's decision to toss a lawsuit seeking to allow licensed gun owners to carry weapons in parts of the world's busiest airport.

The decision prompted gun rights advocates to renew their push for a legislative remedy to the court battle.

U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob had dismissed the lawsuit last year on grounds that GeorgiaCarry.org failed to prove that a new Georgia law would allow weapons into unsecured areas of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a two-page decision that found an appeal of that ruling was "meritless."

The legal feud erupted when a new state law took effect in July that allows people with gun permits to carry guns into restaurants and state parks and on public transportation.

Atlanta officials quickly declared the airport a "gun-free zone" and warned that anyone carrying a gun there would be arrested. GeorgiaCarry.org sued the city and the airport, claiming the airport qualifies as public transportation under the new state law.

The law's supporters said they would resume exploring other legal options, but signaled the fight will likely shift to the Georgia Legislature.

"If we have to incorporate this to make it specifically clear - if we need to spell it out - then we're going to do that," said state Rep. Tim Bearden, who co-sponsored the law.

Bearden has introduced a sweeping gun proposal, House Bill 615, that he expects could come to a vote for next year's legislative session. The measure, among other things, would ban the seizure of firearms during official states of emergency. But Bearden said it could eventually specifically allow firearms in parts of the airport.

"We're looking at all our options at this time," said Bearden, R-Villa Rica.

City attorneys argued in court that allowing some residents to carry guns at the airport could pose a threat to passengers. They warned that even an accidental firearm discharge could cause mayhem.

Gun rights advocates argued that the Legislature intended the law to allow residents with permits to take their guns into airport terminals, parking lots and other unsecured areas.

In a 14-page ruling, Shoob sharply rejected the gun group's claims. The ordinary definition of "public transportation" does not include airports, he wrote, and there's no clear evidence that Georgia legislators intended the law to apply to airports.

The appellate panel offered little elaboration on its decision, saying only in the brief ruling that it agrees with Shoob's order that the "argument is meritless."

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My_2nd 03/12/09 - 04:01 pm
well if airport security

well if airport security would do their job better, there would be no push for such allowances. americans are supposed to have the right to protect themselves, but todays society has been brain washed to think that public safety will be there at all times to protect them. simply unrealistic! in fact law enforcement is under no legal obligation to protect anyone. that being said, why would liberals want guns taken out of the hands of law abiding citizens? ask one and see what they say. it's pretty entertaining. the reason that concealed carry will not be permitted in airports is because airports and aircraft are controlled by the federal government. get the point now?

intheknow 03/12/09 - 04:04 pm
Why would you need a gun in a

Why would you need a gun in a airport?

JackBootedThug 03/12/09 - 04:28 pm
You don't neccesarily need a

You don't neccesarily need a gun inside the airport, but you better believe you need it for the walk through parking lot to and from the building. (Just like at Augusta Mall!!!) This wouldn't apply to passengers. Guns still wouldn't be allowed past metal detectors. It would be for people who don't enter the secure areas such as picking up or dropping off a passenger.

exmedic 03/12/09 - 04:30 pm
The court ruled against gun

The court ruled against gun rights this time but Georgiacarry.org keeps fighting for gun owners right. I glad someone is putting up a fight. check out the website to see other battles that they are fighting. They fought one right here in Richmond and won a judgment against RCSO.a few months ago.

YellowHammer 03/12/09 - 05:37 pm
I had a run-in with the

I had a run-in with the security there a couple of months ago about my carry weapon. They attempted to detain me while I explained to them that I don't fall under the provisions of 16-11-129 since I'm military. Fortunately an APD officer came up and explained to the idiots what the law says. That's the same thing that happened here in Augusta last year where a military member was actually arrested by the RCSO. Richmond County taxpayers got to pay for that mistake. Attention all law enforcement officers: Read and understand the the law as written in 16-11-130 of the GA Code.

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