Legislation now before Gov. Sonny Perdue that would allow people to carry loaded guns into parts of the state’s airports “is very worrisome,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a congressional hearing on Thursday.
Holder told a U.S. Senate panel that Georgia’s proposed law is problematic.
“The notion that people could bring guns to airports especially given the al-Qaida focus of the use of airplanes as terrorist tools, is one, to me, that is very worrisome,” Holder said. “I would hope we try to keep weapons, guns away from the very instruments that al-Qaida and other organizations successfully used on September 11th and have continued to try to use in the present and I suspect in the future as well.”
Holder was responding to a question from U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) during a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee. See the exchange here.
“It was reported that the Times Square bomber left a loaded handgun in his car at JFK as he tried to make his escape,” Lautenberg said. “The state of Georgia, the state Legislature, recently passed a bill that would allow people to carry a loaded gun into an airport. Do you support allowing people to carry loaded guns into an American airport?”
Holder said the Supreme Court has upheld the 2nd Amendment right to own guns. “That doesn’t mean, however, that that right is one that absolute,” Holder said. “We have to balance that individual right against our collective security.”
Georgia’s General Assembly last week gave final approval to a bill that would allow licensed gun owners to carry loaded weapons into non-secure areas of airports, including Hartsfield-Jackson International. The bill does not allow the guns past airport security checkpoints.
Perdue has not indicated whether he will sign the bill.