Opinion: Georgia’s “guns everywhere” bill is insane, reflects the influence of gun lobby

Few would question that an overwhelming number of people in the American South love their guns.

Conservative districts in the South can often turn into shouting matches for politicians to see which one can proclaim a greater love for the second amendment.

A law recently passed in Georgia, however, steps way over the line. In fact, I would say it obliterates the line with a healthy dose of buckshot.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed a law on April 23 that extends Georgia’s concealed carry provisions to locations that are inappropriate for individuals to bring firearms.

Georgia’s House Bill 60, entitled the Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014, allows residents of Georgia with concealed carry permits to bring guns into churches, bars, schools, government buildings and airports.

The bill earned overwhelming support from a number of representatives in Georgia’s Republican-dominated legislature, passing 112-58 in the House and 37-18 in the Senate.

Gun control group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, opposed the measure, noting that until the bill was revised, it did not even contain provisions for churches to decide whether or not they would allow guns on their premises.

“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, the group’s senior adviser, told CNN.

Of course, even if you do carry a gun into a church that prohibits firearms, you don’t have to worry too much: Instead of imposing a heavy penalty on those that ignore the firearm stipulations of private locations, the guns everywhere bill will simply impose a meager $100 (or less) fine.

The new law is far from popular with Georgians. According to a poll from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 59 percent of respondents disapproved of Georgia House Bill 60.

The widespread disapproval of the guns everywhere bill has left many Georgian voters scratching their heads at what in the world their state legislature was thinking.

Because the law attempts to bring concealed carry into places of worship, some of the angriest Georgian voters have been members of communities of faith.

Rev. Raphael Warnock from Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church expressed his frustration at Georgia’s tone-deaf politicians passage of the guns everywhere bill.

“Our politicians, tragically, are owned by the gun lobby,” Warnock told The Independent. “We will remind them in November that they work for the people.”

Warnock said he believes the guns everywhere bill is inconsistent with the preferences of Georgians of faith from both parties.

“I don’t know of a single pastor in the state of Georgia who has been lobbying to have guns brought into their churches,” Warnock said. “When we say pass the peace, we mean P-E-A-C-E, not the P-I-E-C-E.”

These legislative nightmares continue to plague American politics because of a fallacy that is being sold as fact to the American people.

If you choose to listen to gun-advocates, they will insist that you are safer in crowded public places standing next to individuals that may have little or no experience handling firearms in high-pressure situations.

Ask yourself: do you really want an inexperienced gun-toting firebrand taking a potential crime into their own hands by opening fire on a criminal in a crowded place?

Gun-advocates make couch their arguments in terms of protecting their families, or maintaining the peace, but there is really a more insidious argument existing behind the scenes.

Gun owners express their extreme distrust for society through trying at every turn to force guns into places where they do not belong.

In return, we see wannabe vigilantes seeking revenge on those young men in hoodies in our society that intimidate them.

“Guns everywhere” may be a card-carrying NRA member’s fantasy, but for everyday Americans, this gun-happy vision for America borders on insanity.

-Henry Ashton ’15, Senior Politics/Opinions Editor

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