The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking to close a loophole in Georgia state law which they say could be exploited by terrorists in order to get weapons past security checkpoints at the airport.
According to special agent Britt Johnson with the FBI, the 2014 change in state law now allows concealed carry permit holders packing heat to simply be turned away at security checkpoints at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Formerly, such individuals could face a misdemeanor for bringing firearms to the checkpoint.
Officials fear that if those individuals are repeatedly turned away, day after day, without repercussions, the security gap could put airport staff and travelers at risk.
“The one day that they’re able to get it through is the one day that they could carry out the attack,” Johnson noted.
Clayton County Solicitor General Tasha Mosely pointed out other concerns. She said several months ago a concealed carry permit holder was found to be carrying a Glock handgun when he got to the checkpoint. Although he was allowed to go back and secure the weapon, they later found it in a trash can.
Johnson said bringing a gun to the checkpoint, despite state law, is still a federal violation and should be treated as such. He said officers in Atlanta have been deputized by the U.S. Marshal’s Service and will soon be issuing federal citations for those who bring guns to the checkpoint, regardless of whether they possess a carry permit.
Mosley said it’s a welcome change.
“I can breathe a little bit easier,” she said.
But Representative Alan Powell doesn’t agree.
“They’re just making things a little bit tougher on folks,” he said. “It looks to me like this is another reach by the federal government and the current administration.”
[ WSBTV ]