“Last week the Georgia House of Representatives passed House Bill 512, the Safe Carry Protection Act. Though named such, this bill is everything but safe for the citizens of this state. It allows for the carrying of weapons in previously unauthorized locations such as government buildings, places of worship, bars and even certain school safety zones and school functions. The bill also allows individuals who have had their weapons permit revoked to be eligible again as gun permit holders under certain circumstances. It also removes fingerprinting requirements for renewal licenses.
This law passed by 117 affirmative votes to 56 opposing. It was passed under an emotional move more than likely resulting from the urging of licensed gun holders with the desire to protect themselves without thinking of all the possible consequences and circumstances. If this bill passes the Senate, licensed gun owners will be allowed to bring their weapons to Commission and City Council meetings where emotions sometimes run high. They will be allowed in school functions where it is not unusual for parents to be in conflict with a referee or each other. Finally, it will allow guns in courthouses. In DeKalb we have had several occasions in which victims, criminal suspects and even those in opposing civil legal positions have argued and even fought. The only guns needed for the protection of these individuals were the ones carried by my deputies. If those involved in courthouse conflicts possessed weapons, the outcomes would definitely have been different.
It seems that in today’s gun debates, legislators believe that if a gun owner is licensed, he is unlikely to commit a crime and is exempt from becoming emotional and using his or her weapon. I vehemently disagree. Just because an individual goes to his county or municipality, pays a fee and offers his/her fingerprints does not exempt them from breaking a law or categorize them as more law abiding. Yes, licensed gun owners pass a background check but think of how many suspects commit serious crimes as their first offense. Many of our mass shootings have been committed by individuals who have never before been charged with a crime.
The only reason to bring a gun into court or a government meeting where law enforcement are present for your protection is either to test the law or intimidate those within the facility. It is our job to protect our courts and those individuals working or handling business within the court complex. If guns are allowed, I foresee a demand for increase security measures to ensure that the intentions of these licensed gun owners remain honorable. This will cost the tax payer at a time when budget concerns are crucial.”
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