Dem's bill would ban guns from airports

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A House Democrat is introducing legislation to ban guns in airport areas that are located before security checkpoints.  

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) said the measure, which has been dubbed the Airport Security Act of 2015, would prevent anyone other than police officers from carrying guns in areas of airports that are located before security checkpoints, even if they have a license to carry concealed weapons.  

“Airports are the gateway to commerce throughout the world and the front door to the communities they connect for millions of passengers who visit the United States each year,” Johnson said in a statement. “It defies logic that we would allow anyone other than law enforcement officials to carry a loaded gun within an airport. This bill is simple common sense.”

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The introduction of the measure follows a recent incident involving a man who carried an AR-15 rifle into the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport — legally because he did not go past a security checkpoint.

Transportation Security Administration rules currently prohibit passengers from carrying guns beyond security checkpoints in carry-on luggage, but some weapons can be packed into checked baggage if they are unloaded and locked in cases. 

Johnson's office said the measure "would expand Homeland Security’s jurisdiction to include non-secure areas of airports and would take precedence over any city or state laws that allow weapons in any airports nationwide. 

"The gun ban would include public transportation stops within airports if the gun owner departs the transit station at an airport," Johnson's office said. 

"Law-abiding gun owners would still be able to carry guns if they are unloaded and contained in clearly marked, locked cases," the Georgia Democrat's office continued. "Airports would also be required to post signs that clearly indicate they are gun-free zones." 

Johnson's office said the measure is being backed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, The Violence Policy Center, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence and the GunSense Georgia Coalition.