Strapped in Georgia

Yeah, this looks like a good idea (GOP USA)

Yeah, this looks like a good idea (GOP USA)

I just heard that Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia signed House Bill 60—or the Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014—into law earlier today. Known as the “guns everywhere bill” by its opponents, HB60 specifies where residents can carry firearms and includes provisions that could allow people with concealed weapons permits to bring guns into churches, bars, government buildings, schools and even airports!

The parking lots, shops and other areas in front of security checkpoints, I mean. As far as I know, carrying guns into the airline terminals is still a no-no.

Heavily promoted by the pro-gun group GeorgiaCarry—and opposed by organizations like Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), which called the bill “extremism in action”—HB60 will go into effect on July 1st whether people like it or not. And while it doesn’t allow guns everywhere—business owners can choose whether or not to allow them in their establishments—the bill does have some people worried.

“Among its many extreme provisions, it allows guns in TSA lines at the country’s busiest airport, forces community school boards into bitter, divisive debates about whether they should allow guns in their children’s classrooms, and broadens the conceal carry eligibility to people who have previously committed crimes with guns,” Pia Carusone of ARS said recently. She also mentioned that this legislation was “opposed by Georgia law enforcement, county commissioners, municipal leaders, and the Transportation Security Administration for its potentially harmful impact on Georgians’ safety.”

Of course, the folks at the National Rifle Association could not be happier—especially since they endorsed Deal for governor and gave him an “A rating” during his 17 years in Congress. He returned the favor, so to speak, when he addressed attendees at the picnic where he first announced the bill’s passing: “The Second Amendment should never be an afterthought. It should be at the forefront of our minds.”

Celebrate more guns, come on! Rep. Rick Jasperse throws high fives to congratulate his pals on passing HB60 (Atlanta-Journal Constitution)

Celebrate more guns, come on! Rep. Rick Jasperse throws high fives to congratulate his pals on passing HB60 (Atlanta-Journal Constitution)

While I agree that Americans’ constitutional rights are important, I still have trouble understanding how more guns in public places will make things better. One argument I always hear in support of guns is that if criminals have them, then so should their potential victims—to even the playing field, you know? I also hear people mention how concealed weapons permits are only issued to citizens who first pass background checks and psychological exams, implying that they are stable and well-adjusted enough to handle this potentially deadly responsibility.

This may be true for some, but how many times have we heard post-tragedy interviews where people say things like “he was always so quiet and friendly” or “I never suspected she was capable of hurting others”? ALL THE TIME!

Don’t get me wrong. I grew up with guns, enjoy shooting them and keep several in my home for protection. Does this mean I’m incapable of losing it, arming myself to the teeth and popping caps in everyone I see? I consider myself to be a fairly sane person—aside from a handful of psychoses, which we all possess to some degree—but even I can’t say with absolute certainty that I would never snap and do something horrible… with or without a gun. We all have a dark side. And no matter how hard we try, it will make the occasional appearance during the course of our lives. Of that you can be sure.

So kudos, Georgia, for ensuring more of your residents will be strapped in public places—especially in bars and other so-called watering holes. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 43 years, it’s that few things mix better than alcohol and firearms!

Posted on April 23, 2014, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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