Atlanta showdown: Should concealed carry be extended to airport terminals?

Ironically, the impetus for this is an extension of the Georgia concealed carry law to allow weapons in parks and on public transportation. The dispute is over whether that extension now includes airport terminals — just the terminals, not the area past the metal detectors — or whether those are off-limits as “public gatherings” within the meaning of Section 4 of the new bill. My hunch is to say, what’s the big deal with restricting them there? How likely is it that a terrorist’s going to waste a small-arms attack on a heavily guarded area like an airport instead of a city plaza or a shopping mall parking lot?

But terrorists don’t always behave the way we expect them to, do they?

Coming soon to a post-Heller Supreme Court near you:

“This is a matter of national significance,” Mayor Shirley Franklin told reporters at a news conference. Permitting guns inside an airport, even weapons carried by permit holders, would create an unsafe environment that “would endanger millions of people,” the mayor said.

Franklin vowed Tuesday to lobby Congress and federal officials to mandate that any public facility receiving federal money be declared a “gun-free zone.” That would affect airports nationwide…

Gun advocates say the new law means people with the proper permits could carry concealed weapons in the non-secure areas in front of the security gates. Federal law prohibits guns beyond the security gates, and both sides agree that guns should be banned there…

Airport General Manager Ben DeCosta said the city’s legal team has studied the new law and determined the airport still falls under a “public gathering” exception in the Georgia Code.

Remember, Scalia went out of his way in the Heller opinion to say that the decision did nothing to cast doubt on “laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings.” Exit question: Is an airport terminal a “sensitive place”?