[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]A man walks into an airport with an AR-15. No, this isn’t a joke; a man did just that and people are outraged about it. But why?[/vc_column_text][banner300 banner=”5517620b381df”][vc_column_text]One of the most-galling aspects of the “debate” surrounding the Second Amendment is that many on the left (and some on the right) seek to reduce the conversation of our rights to a debate over justification and necessity.
“Why do you need an ‘assault rifle?’”
“Who would need a ‘high-capacity’ magazine?”
“How is that gun useful for hunting?”
What all of these aforementioned questions miss is a very basic premise that renders this whole “debate” null and void: Our rights are not gifts from government nor are they revocable privileges that should only be retained if citizens can adequately justify them.
That’s what is at the heart of the outrage surrounding Jim Cooley’s recent sojourn to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Cooley recently dropped his daughter off at the airport with an AR-15 slung around him with a 100-round drum magazine. Though he did not attempt to go through security and was in full compliance of the law, he was, nevertheless, accosted by law enforcement who demanded that he explain himself.
When one officer stated, “You’ve got quite a few people afraid because calls are like just coming in left and right,” Cooley offered the best response imaginable:
“People’s fears are not my responsibility.” Cooley continued, “If you’re detaining me, then I’m going to have to file a lawsuit against the airport.”
When the police officer accused him of having an “automatic” rifle, he corrected her. When she asked if he had a permit (something not necessary for open-carrying of a rifle), Cooley didn’t even answer but reminded her that if he was not being detained, she could not be asking him about such things. When she stated that he was not being detained, he ended the conversation by walking away and telling her to have a nice day.
Cooley explained his actions to a local news station: “It shouldn’t matter what I carry, just that I choose to carry. You never know where something might happen.”
Cooley stated that he was just exercising his rights: “If you don’t exercise your rights, the government doesn’t have any hesitation taking them away.”
Naturally, people online have been wondering why the man would do this and, predictably, how this could possibly be legal. 2014’s HB 512 Safe Carry Protection Act protects the right of citizens to carry a rifle in an airport, so long as they do not attempt to go through security with it.
In truth, Colley probably didn’t need to carry the rifle, but that is what separates “privileges” from “rights.” Cooley is under no obligation to explain his desire to exercise his God-given right and, as he so-ably pointed out, other people’s apprehension and fear of what they don’t understand is not his problem.
There’s a lesson here: we should all strive to exercise our rights and remind the government that we need not offer an explanation or apology for doing so.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]