Sponsored by Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, this bill, which would allow guns to be carried in churches, bars, and even some government buildings, passed 119-56 the House and now goes to the Senate for approval. Not all Republicans voted yes, though the vote was generally along party lines. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence cites the case of Republican Representative Chuck Sims, who “said that, as a funeral director, he deals with the tragic aftermath of gun violence. ‘Guns don’t belong in church, and a gun doesn’t belong in a bar. It just doesn’t.’ ”
Worse than expanding the list of places guns can “safely” go, perhaps, is that the bill strengthens the state’s Stand Your Ground law. From now on, should the bill pass, you will be able to stand your ground on public transportation too! And get this: if you “accidentally” bring your gun to the airport or to a secured government building, you won’t even get in trouble for it.
According to the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), House Bill 875 makes these “beneficial” changes to state gun laws:
The problem is that Georgian’s don’t want this law, at least according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution pollin January found that Georgians don’t want this gun law:
Among poll respondents, 78 percent opposed allowing guns on the state’s college campuses; 72 percent opposed allowing guns in churches; and 82 percent would mandate any gun owner who wanted to carry a weapon in public to first take a required safety course.
As the AJC said, “Those numbers stayed relatively consistent among rural and urban residents, and conservative, independent and liberal voters.”
Of course, when the numbers are clearly against them on an issue Republicans feel strongly about, the will of the people becomes suddenly irrelevant:
Ramsey, the Republican House leader, said lawmakers can’t set policy based on polling data. “I’m not totally surprised by the polling numbers,” Ramsey said. “I think we’re going to continue to work through with various stakeholders. I know the majority party strongly believes in protecting Georgians’ Second Amendment rights.”
Disregarding the poll entirely, we are told polls don’t matter and that people want the opposite of what the polls say they do. Republicans, however, are more than willing to cite poll numbers when they say what they want them to say.
And it’s not like gun laws like these that increase the number of people carrying concealed weapons actually make people safer. Drinking and packing heat? Carrying a gun into a highly emotionally-charged atmosphere like a church? It’s not like people ever get shot in churches, right?
Oh, wait…What about former church deacon Woodrow Karey, who thought his wife was having an affair with Tabernacle of Praise Worship Center pastor Ronald Harris Sr. and burst into church during a service and gunned him down? We’re supposed to believe a room-full of armed parishioners would have prevented the crime? No danger from cross-fire across the pews? Certainly no children in the line of fire.
And c’mon, it’s not like anything bad is going to happen on a bus full of armed individuals should somebody start shooting.
Let’s face it: you’re not safer: The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence points to “a study from the Violence Policy Center on Texas’ permissive concealed carry law found that license holders were arrested for weapons-related crimes at a rate 81% higher than that of the state’s general population age 21 and older.”
The best thing truly law-abiding citizens can do is to tread warily into places where laws are based on NRA fantasies. Being surrounded by heavily armed strangers is not a particular fantasy of mine. There is a reason that as “civilization” moved further west, communities enacted gun control laws to take violence off the streets. Now it seems we are going in the opposite direction, all our hard-earned lessons unlearned.
A note to Republicans opposed to House Bill 875: This is what happens when a populace throws its support behind a Republican administration in 21st century America. You’ve gotta be willing to take the bad with the bad.
Image from WRCBTV
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.
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