July 1, 2008

Lawmaker Calls Off Airport Showdown

A state lawmaker in Georgia said Tuesday he decided after all not to carry a gun into the Atlanta airport in defiance of the firearms ban there.

State Rep. Tim Bearden, R-Villa Rica, sponsored a new state law that took effect Tuesday allowing licensed gun owners to carry their weapons in public places, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Bearden had said earlier he would defy the ban by taking a gun to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport when picking up his father. Airport officials replied they would have Bearden arrested if caught with a gun at the airport.

But Tuesday morning, Bearden said he reconsidered his strategy and would instead let a group challenge the state firearms ban in court, the newspaper reported.

That showdown will still happen, but it will take place in the courts, not in an airport parking lot, Bearden said. We will beat them in the proper venue.

The Bearden-authored law permits licensed gun owners to carry concealed firearms in parks, on public transportation and in restaurants that serve liquor.