YES On Military Carry Licenses; Prayers For Colorado

Today’s Courier Herald Column. I’m posting early today as the news of Colorado will dominate the day, and I’d prefer to contain any comments relating to that in one place. I strongly suggest you take heed of the message below when doing so.  Failure to exercise respect and or decorum required by such tragic events will affect your ability to continue as part of this community.

“Should active duty military personnel who are under the age of 21 be allowed to obtain a Georgia weapons carry license?”

Today is the day set aside to review that last of the 5 ballot questions for the Georgia GOP primary ballot.  As I am preparing to submit in advance of a Friday morning deadline, there is horrible news out of Aurora Colorado regarding a shooting during a midnight premier of the latest Batman movie.  It doesn’t change my opinion on the above question, but it does require a different context.  Thus, for this column, I’m starting over.

As to the question at hand, the direct answer is “yes”.  Active duty military personnel have received the best training on how to handle weapons.  I am much more comfortable having a 19 year old soldier carrying a personal weapon in my presence than many older owners of weapons who understand and utilize their second amendment rights to carry, but only infrequently if ever practice their skills in shooting ranges.

In addition, the underage military service men and women have been given the authority to use these weapons to defend us overseas against our enemies.  It seems less than charitable that we do not currently extend the right to them to carry a weapon in order to defend themselves here at home.

As I write, there is still much confusion as to what actually happened in Colorado, with many of the news accounts conflicting each other. Journalists working the night shift to fill a 24 hour news cycle are having difficulty explaining many of the facts.  One report, relayed via twitter, has stated the murderer used an “AK-47 style shotgun rifle”.  Statements like that should remind us all that often, those attempting to relay facts to us do not understand them, and sometimes it’s just best to turn off the TV for a bit until details can be sorted out.

There will be politics played with these tragic events.  It is inevitable, and it is already being done on both sides.  I will attempt to avoid those topics here.

Politics, and more importantly, the creation of laws, should not be practiced during heights of emotion.  The backdrop of tragedy distorts the lasting effects of either good intentions or visceral backlash.  We are a nation of laws.  For our laws to matter, they must be based on sound reasoning.  Raw emotion, anger, uncertainty, and fear are not the basis for sound reasoning.  They are instead the incubator of knee-jerk reactionary measures.

A nation of laws deserves more than reactionary measures.

As such, today is a day of prayers for the people of Aurora Colorado.  The scene of the tragedy is roughly 20 miles from Columbine High School, it equally entrenched in the nation’s conscience as the location of a senseless tragedy.  The people of Colorado have paid this price before.

There are no easy explanations.  Guns will clearly be a focal point, but there has to be so much more to the problem, as well as any potential solution.  Yet we all know that while there will be a lot of talk, no real solution will be forthcoming at any point in the foreseeable future. 

There will be those who attempt to use this incident to further drive us apart as a people and as a nation.  Resist that urge. 

We should not allow the actions of a madman to determine our own actions.  We can and should mourn the victims.  We can and should work to understand what happened, and to the extent possible, why.

But these are processes that take time.  Time that we do not enjoy as a luxury as opinion makers scramble to report and analyze the facts first.

My instant reaction is that we will need healing.  Our nation needs prayers more than it needs new policies this morning. 

This is a sad day.  Don’t waste it on politics.


  1. Max Power says:

    Why should it be limited to active duty military personnel? What about reservists? Quite frankly all 18 year olds should be allowed to obtain a license, and buy a beer. We need to stop treating adults like kids.

          • Noway says:

            This is NOT about the guns used! It’s about a sick man who committed a horrible crime. Prosecute him, convict him and execute him. They tried the gun grab after Columbine, too! Two sick guys there, also. Don’t take away a constitutionally guaranteed right because some one commits a horrible crime.

            And lower the drinking age and the handgun age to 18. If you’re old enough to be treated as a adult, be treated as an adult in ALL matters.

            • Noway says:

              And do away with the ridiculous “Insanity” defense. Those 12 people will be just as dead. The killer should not get a break from his heinous act!

  2. saltycracker says:

    This is the only one do far we see differently. An 18 yr old in the military has accepted that they will follow commands. I personally do not believe the thought processes outside that environment are ready for this responsibility. My empirical experience tells me the frontal lobe isn’t fully developed in a teenager. 21 yes, 18 no.

    One reference from the web

      • Daddy Got A Gun says:

        do you oppose raising the voting age to 21? How about the marriage age?

        Simple fact, 18 years are treated as adults for their actions. They should have the same self-defense rights that adults have.

        • saltycracker says:

          Doggone modify hostage situation

          I’m ok with a lot of rights at 18 just don’t think they need a hand gun to get ‘er done.

          • Daddy Got A Gun says:

            Do you have evidence demonstrating that a background checked 18 year old is irresponsible and danger to society?

            I see alot of folks treating normal law abiding 18 year olds as if they are gang-bangers waiting to strike, for example the administration of Ga Tech.

            The facts are that most violent criminals above 18 have an extensive arrest and conviction record as juveniles (below 18). Its pretty rare that someone starts to become a violent criminal after 18. That tendency starts much earlier in life.

          • SallyForth says:

            Salty, I agree with you about the danged modify hostage situation! Plus I also agree with your position re 18-yr old military situation being totally different from that same person in a civilian situation. I have a 19-yr old family member in the military and back from Iraq, shell shocked – the kid definitely does not need a gun now.

  3. Daddy Got A Gun says:

    Not sure why active duty .mil need carry licenses, they are already exempt and can carry in every location that a police officer can including schools, bars, and government buildings. They are on the government employee exemption list . They can carry in more places than background checked citizens can.

    The anti-self defense folks will be out dancing in the blood of these victims pushing their failed program of disarming good people including 18 year olds.

    Here is a simple truth. Every minute of that Active Killer Event that continues, 5 people will be killed or wounded. Law Enforcement’s ability to get on location and engage the killer typically is 13 minutes from the initiation of the attack. These killers only initiate their attacks at the time and place most advantageous for them which almost always is in a gun free zone. I haven’t checked but I’ll bet that theater is a gun free zone.

    The problem with these Active Killer Events, isn’t that there are too many guns, its that there too few. Folks that seek to limit the number of people carrying guns either through training requirements, licensing fees, off-limits locations, or age requirements, are empowering the killers. Virginia Tech would have been very different if Professor Liviu Librescu had a gun to defend his students instead of the door he used.

    PS – I study Active Killer Events and am giving a presentation about them at the GeorgiaCarry.Org Convention in August.

    PPS – the argument about licensing under 21yo .mil has an unattractive back-story.

    • mountainpass says:

      I thought there was a problem for them in “school zones” if they were carrying just on their military ID.

      • Daddy Got A Gun says:

        No. They can carry in schools and in government building just like the other uber-citizens on the 130 list.

        The origin of this ballot question was a bill the Sen. Loudermilk was pushing this past session. The rumor mill has it that his son or relative did 2 years in the service and got out. He’s under 21 and wants to work armed security. Sen. Loudermilk wanted to make a special provision in the law so that his son or relative could get a GFL.

        To prevent anyone else from taking advantage of the under 21 license, Loudermilk and Rep. Setzler added a training requirement that far exceeded what Georgia Law Enforcement is required to have and was greater most of the .mil gets. The training requirement was what an elite front line solider (like Rangers) would get.

        The bad part of the bill was that it added to Georgia’s law a training requirement to carry a firearm, something that has never existed before in Georgia 280 years of history. Setzler, Loudermilk and Judson Hill almost fudged up Georgia’s gun laws, empowered the antis, and ended Georgia’s reciprocity agreements with other states.

        Luckily, cool heads less motivated to do special favors for family of Legislators, let the bill die in Rules. Hopefully, it never comes out because its poorly thought out and ironically not necessary for his son to work as an armed guard.

        • joe says:

          It is also interesting that the very same 18 year old soldier that people seem worried about CANNOT legally carry on a military installation. Of course, neither can a 50 year old General.

          After I retired from the Army, I worked on a military installation. In order to be able to fire at the range after work, I had to register my pistol on post, get permission from my supervisor in writing, and carry the weapon, the magazines, and the ammo in three separate locked containers. The military does not like to have people wandering around armed.

  4. Bob Loblaw says:

    Really sad to wake up and hear this news. Its just awful. I was in Aurora this Summer visiting family friends in the Boulder area. Such a beautiful place with such good folks everywhere. Active people, happy spirits. This is terrible. Just saw the President cancel a political event in the wake of this. Like Charlie was saying, laying politics down at this moment, a President that I wish wouldn’t have ever taken office just made very honorable remarks. God bless the victims and their families and friends.

    • Daddy Got A Gun says:

      I should point out that almost all of the initial reports will be wrong. Its best to wait 3 or 4 days for the real story to come out. Law Enforcement’s mission at this point is to figure out what happened, find all of perpetrators, and make sure this is not part of a bigger plot.

  5. AMB says:

    More guns. We all need more guns. The Aurora gunman only had 4 so we all need more guns.

    Just STFU, will you, until the bodies cool.

      • AMB says:

        I may be ignorant but I don’t feel the need to carry a portable johnson, the bigger the better. Your mileage may vary.

        • Resisting the urge to comment here, but I will make one correction. Most people who carry concealed do not agree with your “bigger is better” statement. It’s more comfortable to carry something a bit on the smaller side that can tuck inside a waistband. You might be surprised at the number of people who carry concealed around you and you’d never even know it.

    • you says:

      Do you think we need more gun laws? I bet the theater had a “No Guns” sign posted and all the law abiding citizens did not carry their guns in but a sign does not stop a criminal.

  6. ricstewart says:

    Queue the partisan politicization of another tragedy, in which talking heads and armchair pundits use the gunman’s voter history, party affiliation, book collection, college essays, and social media posts to blame the other side of the aisle for this massacre.

  7. seenbetrdayz says:

    One report, relayed via twitter, has stated the murderer used an “AK-47 style shotgun rifle”.

    I’m guessing a Saiga-12.

  8. ieee says:

    Another unbelievable tragedy. That said, I have to honest and say that I hope the gunman turns out to be someone listed on Colorado’s SEX OFFENDER Registry who snapped. Perhaps a person who has been forced to live without a home for years. Or someone who was recently arrested for a BS Registration law. In the past, those people have been retaliating by killing small numbers of defenseless people who are usually forgotten soon thereafter. If these types of events have to happen, then they might as well be part of the war against the immoral and un-American Registry Terrorists.

    • Calypso says:

      Man, you can work that sh!t into every topic, can’t you? Not saying you’re misguided with your anger toward it, but if a loaf of bread in your kitchen hangs around too long and gets some mold on it do you blame the Sex Offender Registry for that as well?

      • ieee says:

        Well, Registration permeates your life in a way that a person who is not listed on a Registry could never understand. You could have completed your legal punishment decades ago yet today encounter issue after issue because you are on the nanny government list. It’s like you shot a baby yesterday (except that we don’t bother Registering people who only do that). And there is literally not a single day that goes by that some criminal government is not discussing some new offensive law that they intend to apply to everyone on their lists. It is ridiculous, stupid, worse-than-worthless, and completely un-American.

        Further, this story is particularly relevant to me. Experts have always testified that the Registries are counterproductive and would promote crimes, including violent retaliation. And it’s been happening. But I’ve been wondering for years why the people who have snapped attacked innocent people instead of targeting specific people or doing what this guy did.

        I believe that Registration and especially the moronic, un-American laws that it has enabled and promoted, have far crossed the line to the point that the U.S. is in a civil war and directed violent retaliation is thoroughly justified. I don’t plan to be participating in any violence but I certainly will go out of my way to be around random children. Not because I particularly like them, but just because it’s the right thing to do. I will be spending this entire weekend with hundreds of them.

        If we 1) only had Registration and not all of the rampant stupidity around it, and 2) had a hundred more Registries that listed all other people who have been convicted of harming other people, that would nearly be acceptable. But the U.S. collectively is stupid and getting more so every day. So we have the witch hunt.

        • Charlie says:

          Here’s what you need to understand:

          Your constant attempts to threadjack other issues to your issue are unwelcome and unwarrented. We’ve put up with it for far too long, but have tried to balance that with the fact that the sex offender registry is a public policy issue that have very few willing to speak on the “other side” of the issue.

          That said, this is your one and only warning. If you threadjack again, you will be permanently removed from here.

          Consider your next post carefully.

          • Calypso says:

            Charlie, I didn’t mean to complain to the extent as to get ieee put in time-out. I can always skip over his posts.

          • ieee says:

            I don’t understand how I was threadjacking. I guess I misunderstood the second sentence of the post that started this thread. I thought this thread was to discuss the Colorado shooting. Or was it to discuss active duty military personnel carrying guns? If that is what it was for, plenty of posts missed that. So, it was okay to talk about praying, the president not campaigning, partisan politics, media analysis, and what kind of gun was used?

            I hope my post was not “off topic” simply because it makes people angry and it is about a subject that no one really gives a rip about. Most people just don’t want to hear about it. They are happy just setting aside all American ideals, laws, and morals, just as long as they feel they are sticking it to “child molestors”. They don’t care if the laws work or not, don’t care what they do, and don’t want to hear about it.

            That’s what people want. So you can ban me if you don’t want to hear any unpleasantries. If you only want to see the witch hunt from the side of the nanny governments, their employees, and their uninformed supporters. If you want to stick your heads in the sand, believe their “protecting children” lies, and think you have a clue about reality, what the hey? What’s more American than that?

            • ieee says:

              I thought the problem was that I was threadjacking because that is what Charlie said but apparently that was not it. I suppose I will have to assume that it was because of some “Failure to exercise respect and or decorum”. I will move forward with the understanding that most people do not want to be offended by opinions about the witch hunt and that regardless of any relationship to an article/post, the witch hunt should not be mentioned unless the article/post is specifically about it.

              • Charlie says:

                When you start a post that essentially says “I’m sorry about the guns but what I really want to talk about is how it sucks to be on a sex offender registry…”, then you are threadjacking. While in your world every problem can be related to the sex offender registry, that’s not how politics or this blog works.

                Much like Last Democrat in Georgia can link every problem to T-SPLOST, or others in the past can link every problem to (Insert personal pet peeve/issue here). We are a political blog. If you are only about one issue, then you don’t talk on all the threads and turn them into your issue. If you do, that’s a threadjack. And when you do, you are gone.

                It’s that simple, and you will not be warned again.

                • ieee says:

                  Geez, now I’m not even sure that you read my initial post. Whatever. I understand that I should not post about the witch hunt unless the article/post is about the witch hunt. I got your point.

                  Having said that, I threadjacked no more than many other posts did. There were plenty of posts that had nothing to do with guns. My post was not about “it sucks to be on the sex offender registry.” It was directly about what I felt about the Colorado shooting. It was offensive. But that’s what the witch hunt is all about.

                  • saltycracker says:

                    Give it up, let it go, get over it, move on, before Charlie gives you your fourth final warning…..

                    • ieee says:

                      I’m just trying to understand the rules. I think they are arbitrary. But I can work within that and I have little choice unless I want to change my moniker every week.

  9. SallyForth says:

    No matter what our personal feelings regarding proliferation of guns in our nation, as Charlie said, today is a day for us to all pray for the families and community in Colorado, pray for our nation.

  10. saltycracker says:

    Now we will endure a very public diagnosis by the media salting this wound by a crazy. Everything will be over analyzed – theater security, university security, gun control, parental responsibility, friends, teachers, the Internet, law enforcement, 911, the emergency care, the Batman persona, movies, TV……Until they find something they can get their teeth into and cut this monster some slack….

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