Georgia man raises eyebrows carrying rifle through Atlanta airport

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Man legally carries gun around Atlanta airport
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Jim Cooley says he knew he wasn?t breaking any rules when he carried his AR-15 fully loaded with a 100-round drum through parts of the Atlanta airport.

ATLANTA, GA (KTRK) -- A man carried a loaded rifle inside the Atlanta airport, and it was totally legal, ABC affiliate WSB-TV reports.

Jim Cooley says he knew he wasn't breaking any rules when he went to drop his daughter. He walked into the airport with his AR-15 fully loaded with a 100-round drum.

Cooley says he was first approached by a fire marshal and then by an Atlanta police officer, who both asked him about the gun. Cooley says he was just exercising his rights.

"I told her I was carrying this for safely when she asked me why," Cooley told WSB-TV. "It shouldn't matter what I carry, just that I choose to carry. You never know where something might happen."

FBI Agents say Cooley did not violate federal law. A state law took effect on July 1, 2014 that allows a permitted citizen with a handgun or a legal long gun to carry the weapon in commercial airports, bars, schools and churches.

The FBI reminds passengers that you cannot carry any weapon into the TSA screening area or beyond. Guns are also not allowed in certain other restricted areas at commercial airports.