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Thread: GergiaCarry.org commentary calls Gergia a very restrictive carry state

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    http://www.ajc.com/opinion/content/o...oned_0824.html

    No place should be ‘off limits’ for the law-abiding
    By JOHN MONROE and ED STONE

    Sunday, August 24, 2008GeorgiaCarry.Org


    ’s mission is to foster the civil right of its members to bear arms. While the phrase “bear arms” is familiar to most people from text of the Second Amendment, GCO’s mission is focused on the notion that people have an inherent right to self-defense that is firmly rooted in our history.

    The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms, based on a human right of self-defense that existed before the Constitution was ratified. There has been a gradual erosion of this human right in Georgia stemming from racial politics during Reconstruction and the early 20th century. GCO seeks to undo this erosion.



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    John Monroe is a member of GeorgiaCarry.org.

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    Ed Stone is a member of GeorgiaCarry.org.
    EDITORIAL:
    Concealed-weapons argument safely obscures gun facts
    Aside from requiring white men to carry firearms to church, Georgia had virtually no gun control until after the Civil War, when civil rights were extended to the recently freed slaves.

    Today, 48 states issue licenses to carry firearms concealed, but only Georgia has them issued by a judge. The majority of states do not require any license at all to carry a firearm openly. Georgia is in the minority, prohibiting the carrying of pistols openly without a license.

    Georgia has the dubious distinction of prohibiting the licensed carry of firearms in more places than most other states, thanks largely to the 1870 “public gathering” law, which by its vagueness has been interpreted to include many places not specifically listed. Ironically, the “places off limits” most “sacred” to gun control advocates are the very places where the most sensationalized mass shootings have occurred: schools (Columbine, Virginia Tech); churches (Tennessee Valley Unitarian in Knoxville); courthouses (the Brian Nichols case in Atlanta); and restaurants (Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas).

    Each of these places was “off-limits” for law-abiding citizens to carry guns. Violent criminals do not pay attention to gun bans.

    In this year’s legislative session, GCO actively supported HB 89, which represented a major step in reversing the erosion of rights Georgians have experienced for 130 years. Those with firearms licenses now can carry their firearms in state parks, restaurants that serve alcohol, wildlife management areas and on public transportation.

    Unfortunately, it is still a crime for a person with a license to carry a firearm “to or while at” a public gathering, which “shall include, but shall not be limited to” churches, political rallies, sporting events and publicly owned and operated buildings. GCO supports relaxing this list because we believe it is morally reprehensible to put good people in jail simply for having a firearm in the “wrong” location.

    Those who oppose relaxing the list of “off-limits” places downplay the fact that license applicants must undergo three separate state and federal fingerprint-based criminal background checks, which weed out people who have even a misdemeanor drug conviction.

    Moreover, there is not a shred of evidence that a training requirement would serve any purpose other than burden both license applicants and the government employees processing the applications. The only study on the subject shows that states that do not require training are just as safe as states that do. Fulton County, the state’s most populous county, has not revoked a single firearms license this year or last year. If the untrained holders of licenses were engaged in the random acts of violence feared, their licenses would be revoked as provided by law.

    In truth, training requirements are a red herring, something brought up by those intent on making it harder, more expensive and more burdensome to obtain a license, but with no real desire to improve safety. GeorgiaCarry.Org seeks a different path. We believe that law-abiding Georgians have a human right to carry the firearm of their choice for any reason other than to harm innocent people while doing so, and we will work tirelessly toward legislation that will promote that goal.

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    Email from GCO:

    (6) AJC Heavily Edits GCO Letter to Editor
    This was to be the "equal time" letter to the one above, authored by GCO Vice President and President John Monroe and Ed Stone. We should have known better than to point out that the Atlanta Journal was at the heart of motivating Georgia's General Assembly to pass racist gun control laws. They edited out that section, and the paragraph surrounding it, and paragraphs around it. The end result is a disjointed article that hardly addresses the purpose for which it was written. As a result, we are providing a link to the letter to the editor, so that you can read for yourselves what was printed in the AJC, but we are going to provide the text below of what was solicited and submitted to the AJC, so that you can also see for yourselves what we wrote.
    HERE is the link to the heavily edited AJC version. (Aren't those two guys handsome?)
    And below is the letter as it was actually written:
    GeorgiaCarry.Org’s mission is to foster the civil right of its members to bear arms.While the phrase “bear arms” is familiar to most people from text of the Second Amendment, GCO’s mission is focused on the notion that people have an inherent right to self-defense that is firmly rooted in our history.
    The Supreme Court of the United States recently ruled that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms, based in a human right of self defense that existed before the Constitution was ratified.There has been a gradual erosion of this human right in Georgia stemming from racial politics during Reconstruction and the early 20th Century.GCO seeks to undo this erosion. Aside from requiring white men to carry firearms to church, Georgia had virtually no gun control until after the Civil War, when civil rights were extended to the recently freed slaves.After Reconstruction, the General Assembly ejected the black members of the legislature on the ground that they were not citizens and had no right to hold public office.The ensuing protests ended in what came to be called the Camilla Massacre, in which the local sheriff and his posse ambushed Republican protestors in a crossfire on the town square in Camilla.Nine protestors were killed and more than 30 were wounded, with survivors who fled into the woods being hunted with dogs and guns.Some protestors had been armed with shotguns, and a member of the Sheriff’s posse lamented that the Massacre would have been more successful if the protestors “had only come without guns.” In 1870, the Camilla Massacre gave birth to Georgia’s first gun control measure when the General Assembly made it a crime to carry a firearm to a “public gathering.”“Public gathering” was defined to include political rallies and churches (churches were included because Ku Klux Klan members preferred to attack black churches, common meeting locations for black political activists, without being fired upon).In other words, the General Assembly ensured that the victims of such violence would be disarmed.In spite of its evil history, the ban on carrying firearms to public gatherings persists in Georgia to this day, with churches and political rallies still included in the definition. Only 9 states ban the carry of firearms in churches, with most of those being in the South.Only 9 states ban the carry of firearms to political rallies, and all but two of those are in the South.No other state in America bans the carry of firearms in “public gatherings” generally. Carrying firearms in Georgia was largely otherwise unregulated until 1910, when the misnamed “Atlanta race riots” resulted in the next major change to Georgia’s firearms laws.The “riots” in actuality were armed self defense by black residents of Atlanta’s Brownsville neighborhood against white mob violence.The “race riots” featured prominently in frequent editorials with such headlines in the Atlanta Journal as “Disarm the African Americanes.”The General Assembly obliged this media request by passing a law prohibiting carrying a pistol without a license.Licenses were to be issued by county “ordinaries” (now called probate judges).At the time, generally only white men were ordinaries, so there was some assurance that only the “right” people would get licenses. Today, 48 states issue licenses to carry firearms concealed, but only Georgia has them issued by a judge.The majority of states do not require any license at all to carry a firearm openly (i.e., not concealed).Georgia is in the minority, prohibiting the carrying of pistols openly without a license. On top of the licensing requirement, Georgia has the dubious distinction of prohibiting the licensed carry of firearms in more places than most other states, thanks largely to the 1870 “public gathering” law, which by its vagueness has been interpreted to include many places not specifically listed.Ironically, the “places off limits” most “sacred” to gun control advocates are the very places where the most sensationalized mass shooting tragedies have occurred:schools (Columbine, Virginia Tech), churches (Knoxville-Tennessee Valley Unitarian), courthouses (Atlanta – Brian Nichols) and restaurants (Killeen, Texas -- Luby’s Cafeteria). Each of these places was “off-limits” for law-abiding citizens to carry guns, and yet each was the scene of a tragic shooting.While it may seem counterintuitive to some that “gun free zones” are the locations where mass shootings tend to occur, the reason is very simple:Violent criminals do not pay attention to gun bans.In the words of crime researcher and FBI Agent Ed Davis, the violent, armed felons he studied “just laughed at gun laws.”The sad fact is that gun bans do not stop criminals from committing crimes.Gun bans affect only those predisposed to obey the law, and gun bans inform violent criminals where they are most likely to accomplish their goals without meeting armed resistance from their victims. Each of the places listed above has another factor in common.The police did not engage the murderer until he was finished with his crimes.This is not to criticize the police, who often arrive within minutes, but when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.No number of police officers will result in the omnipresence of police and no one seriously suggests we should live in a police state.Carrying a gun cannot guarantee anyone’s safety, but if someone chooses to take the responsibility for his or her own safety and carry a gun, the government should recognize the right to do so. In this year’s legislative session, GCO actively supported HB 89, which represented a major step in reversing the erosion of rights Georgians have experienced for 130 years.Those with firearms licenses now can carry their firearms in state parks, restaurants that serve alcohol, wildlife management areas, and public transportation.Unfortunately, it is still a crime for a person with a license to carry a firearm “to or while at” a public gathering, which “shall include, but shall not be limited to” churches, political rallies, sporting events, and publicly owned and operated buildings.GeorgiaCarry.Org supports relaxing this list, because we believe it is morally reprehensible to put good people in jail simply for having a firearm in the “wrong” location. Those who oppose relaxing the list of “off limits” places frequently cite that Georgia has no requirement for training to obtain a firearms license.They down play the fact that license applicants must undergo three separate state and federal fingerprint based criminal background checks, which checks weed out people who have even a misdemeanor drug conviction at any time in their lives (these same people are eligible to become law enforcement officers or enlist in the military, but they cannot get a firearms license in Georgia). Moreover, there is not a shred of evidence that a training requirement would serve any purpose other than burden both license applicants and the government employees processing the applications.The only study on the subject shows that states that do not require training are just as safe as states that do require training.Statistics show that firearms license holders commit fewer crimes than law enforcement officers.Fulton County, the state’s most populous county, has not revoked a single firearms license this year or last year.If the untrained holders of licenses were engaged in the random acts of violence feared, their licenses would be revoked as provided by law. In addition, those supporting a training requirement do not express the least bit of concern that many people are exempt from the off-limits places regardless of whether they have had training or even have firearms licenses.Such people as municipal court judges, state and federal judges, court clerks, wardens, district attorneys, assistant district attorneys, state court solicitors, assistant state court solicitors, the attorney general, United States attorneys, assistant United States attorneys, and coroners are free to carry firearms, with no license and with no training, in schools, courthouses, public buildings, and bars, with no restrictions on their consumption of alcohol while carrying.The General Assembly even added untrained constables to the list of people that may carry in schools and other off-limits locations this year, and not one public word of protest was uttered by gun control advocates.If those that advocate for mandatory training were sincere in their beliefs, they would rally for training for people who are allowed to carry firearms in the “sacred” places already. In truth, training requirements are a red herring, something brought up by those intent on making it harder, more expensive, and more burdensome to obtain a license, but with no real desire to improve safety.GeorgiaCarry.Org seeks a different path.We believe that law abiding Georgians have a human right to carry the firearm of their choice for any reason other than to harm innocent people while doing so, and we will work tirelessly toward legislation that will promote that goal.
    We think welike the unedited version better . . . and before you ask, no, we did notexceed the allotted word limit.



  3. #3
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    I fully support GCO's effort to repeal the "public gathering" law. I'm in full agreement that people should be able to defend themselves wherever they may be. That's why Ibecame a member ofGCO earlier this month.

    I can grudgingly tolerate guns not being allowed in places where metal detectors manned by armed personnel are in use to screen people who enter, as is done atcourthousesand the secure part of an airport, but I don't think the stateor localgovernments should be allowed to make theirbuildings off limits unless such security measures are in place.Licenseholders should be able to hold private businessesresponsiblefor any injuries resulting from a violentcriminal attack unless the business either allows weapons orchecks people for weaponsas they enter. Businesses should have to either allow people to protect themselves or be responsible for protecting them, with civil liability the result if they fail toutilize one or the other of those two options.

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    officerjdc wrote:
    I can grudgingly tolerate guns not being allowed in places where metal detectors manned by armed personnel are in use to screen people who enter, as is done atcourthousesand the secure part of an airport, but I don't think the stateor localgovernments should be allowed to make theirbuildings off limits unless such security measures are in place.Licenseholders should be able to hold private businessesresponsiblefor any injuries resulting from a violentcriminal attack unless the business either allows weapons orchecks people for weaponsas they enter. Businesses should have to either allow people to protect themselves or be responsible for protecting them, with civil liability the result if they fail toutilize one or the other of those two options.
    Very grudgingly! I am jealous of states like Virginia, where people can show their license and stroll inside.


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    Malum Prohibitum wrote:
    officerjdc wrote:
    I can grudgingly tolerate guns not being allowed in places where metal detectors manned by armed personnel are in use to screen people who enter, as is done atcourthousesand the secure part of an airport, but I don't think the stateor localgovernments should be allowed to make theirbuildings off limits unless such security measures are in place.Licenseholders should be able to hold private businessesresponsiblefor any injuries resulting from a violentcriminal attack unless the business either allows weapons orchecks people for weaponsas they enter. Businesses should have to either allow people to protect themselves or be responsible for protecting them, with civil liability the result if they fail toutilize one or the other of those two options.
    Very grudgingly! I am jealous of states like Virginia, where people can show their license and stroll inside.
    I agree with you. I would prefer to show my GFL and be able to enter a public place that has metal detectors manned by armed personnel.

    I would tolerate such places being off limits ifit meantgetting rid of the "public gathering" language in the state law though. That would be an enormous improvement over what we have now.

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    I agree as well. The public gathering ticket is ... well a pretty poor one.

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    New one.

    http://www.ajc.com/opinion/content/o...nsed_1002.html

    editorial boards story by Maureen Downey, We don't need guns in churches and schools.


    We don’t need guns in churches, schools
    State lawmakers’ arguments to wipe out no-gun zones lack facts

    Thursday, October 02, 2008

    The most telling — and troubling — moment of a recent daylong state Senate hearing on Georgia gun laws came when state Sen. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) insisted that the right to possess firearms is absolute and any restriction on gun ownership is unconstitutional.

    In other words, it would be unconstitutional to ban possession of rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns and M-1 tanks.

    That extreme position startled many people at the hearing, including Valerie Hartman Levy, president and co-founder of the Metro Atlanta Million Mom March.

    Does that mean that if the evolution of firearms eventually led to nuclear-tipped guns, the government would still have no right to act, Levy asked. Would Rogers continue to insist that government has no role if guns grew deadly enough to target-shoot the entire town of Woodstock off the face of the earth?

    A flummoxed Rogers offered no response, instead retreating to the jingoism that typifies the gun debate. He repeated a statement that’s both unproved and unprovable in Georgia, that gun owners are the most law-abiding of citizens. It’s unprovable because Georgia lawmakers have ensured that data on gun owners is buried in vaults so deep that even police can’t unearth it.

    Rogers argued that the government can’t restrict a right embedded in the Bill of Rights, challenging Levy to cite an example otherwise. Easy, she said, citing the right to privacy. In the post-9/11 world, she noted, the federal government can now obtain information on individuals, such as library and medical records, without seeking a subpoena.

    Levy wasn’t the only effective voice at the hearing by the four-member Senate Firearms Law Study Committee. Many others testified against a Senate plan to strike almost all restrictions on where guns can be carried by those with concealed-carry permits. Under the draft Senate bill, guns would be allowed in mental hospitals, schools, college campuses, sporting events, churches and bars. The only no-gun zones listed in the bill are courthouses, jails and police stations.

    Among those raising concerns were the Georgia Municipal Association, Central State Hospital, the Georgia Trial Lawyers, Georgia Association of Police Chiefs, clergy members, the Georgia World Congress Center and the University System of Georgia.

    Despite that opposition, questions and comments of Senate committee members indicated support for rolling back the prohibitions. For example, state Sen. Preston Smith (R-Rome) argued that Georgia parents should worry less about guns and more about other household objects including bathtubs, “because if you are concerned about safety, more children die in the bathtubs than from guns.”

    In this case, hard data exist to contradict Smith. In 2005, 1,187 children and teenagers died from drowning, while 3,027 died from gunshots. There were 4,079 drowning injuries, compared to 17,450 gunshot injuries. A child or teen dies every nine hours in a gun accident or suicide.

    On those rare occasions when the gun lobby is forced to acknowledge those numbers, it tries to diminish their impact by pointing out that many of the dead are teenagers. Somehow, that fact is supposed to make their deaths less distressing to the community and the families of the dead kids.

    Furthermore, if used correctly, bathtubs, swimming pools and Drano will not kill children. Guns will. Smith’s position on guns undermines his legislative record; he has attached his name to several bills to protect children, including one requiring schools to develop Internet safety policies to protect minors from pornography on school computers. Why wouldn’t Smith endorse safety policies to also protect kids from guns?

    The Senate seems unaware that the prospect of gun-slinging fans at football games and armed students in college dorms disquiets many Georgians, even those who own and are comfortable with guns. The committee seems far more concerned with appeasing Georgians who hold concealed-carry permits.

    Those permits can be obtained with a $15 fee and a cursory background check, but no training or testing. Even though that background check cannot be trusted to reveal mental health issues, the Senate continues to insist that concealed-carry permit holders are thoroughly vetted and represent the pinnacle of civic responsibility.

    That is a statement of belief, not fact, because records of permit holders are closed to the public and maintained only at the county level. Even police departments cannot go to a central database for information. As a result, no one — not the GBI, not the Legislature, not the gun lobby — has any grasp of how often concealed-carry holders break the law.

    And clearly some do. A few weeks ago in the Tampa area on a Friday afternoon, the Florida State Patrol arrested a Georgia concealed-carry holder in his 2007 silver Jaguar for racing a motorcycle at 90 miles per hour. The man, Gerald K. Deaguiar, had a fully loaded semiautomatic pistol on each hip and an alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit, according to the highway patrol report.

    Yet Georgia legislators believe it would improve public safety to let Deaguiar and others carry weapons into churches and onto college campuses.


    — Maureen Downey, for the editorial board (mdowney@ajc.com)


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    Equal Time column, Repeal Confusing Public Gathering Law.

    Repeal confusing public gathering law
    By ED STONE

    Thursday, October 02, 2008

    President Ronald Reagan explained in 1964 that “governments don’t control things … without controlling people … [by using] force and coercion.” The debate about whether to repeal Georgia’s public gathering law is not about whether to allow something. It is about whether to control Georgians who want to take personal responsibility for their safety.

    Georgia discourages personal responsibility and self-reliance by outlawing possession of a weapon at a public gathering, even with a firearms license. It is impossible to know what constitutes a public gathering under Georgia’s uniquely ambiguous law.

    A public gathering is any place at which “the public is gathered or may gather for a particular function,” which is confusing to the public and law enforcement alike.

    Most people do not realize that leaving a firearm in the glove box of a car at a public gathering violates Georgia’s public gathering law. The parking lot of an auto auction, a Fourth of July barbecue, a gathering of bored teenagers in a parking lot, and interstate rest stops are all public gatherings. So is a gun show. The restrooms and other buildings in state parks are not public gatherings, but the restrooms in a city park are, even though the city park itself is not. There are many places that nobody can determine, such as movie theaters, fairs (where a criminal was arrested with a handgun a few days before the Senate hearing), hospitals, prayer meetings in private homes, concerts, flea markets and political party meetings.

    Churches, including the parking lots, are public gatherings, even though only eight other states ban concealed carry at church. At a Senate study committee hearing on this issue last week, several clergymen advocated the arrest of their congregants who chose to equip themselves for self-defense. Clearly, they have forgotten Jesus’ words at the end of the Last Supper, when he told his disciples in Luke that “whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.”

    Government should not tell churches how to conduct their affairs, nor should government decide where and when one can defend God’s most precious gift, human life. Repealing Georgia’s public gathering law would permit churches to choose their own policies on whether to ban firearms, just like any other private property owner.

    A witness before the Senate committee claimed there is no evidence that concealed carry reduces crime. This claim is refuted by the evidence. Researcher John Lott found that with respect to multiple victim public shootings from 1977 to 1999 “states that adopted right-to-carry laws experience a 60 percent drop in the rates at which such attacks occur, and a 78 percent drop in the rates at which people are killed or injured from such attacks.” He also concluded that there is “no evidence” that this benefit is accompanied by an increase in accidental shootings.

    Yet Georgia loses this potential benefit by criminalizing the act of carrying a self-defense firearm at public gatherings, which is where such multiple victim attacks are most likely to occur. Common sense and experience dictate that fear of violating the public gathering law does not cause violent criminals to hesitate to commit violent crimes.

    The public, law enforcement, prosecutors and judges deserve a clear law defining what is and is not legal conduct, and those licensed to carry firearms should be able to carry them without fear of violating some ambiguous “gun free zone” that does not stop violent crime. It is time to repeal the confusing public gathering law and permit law-abiding Georgians to defend themselves from violent criminals in ineffective “gun free zones.”


    • Ed Stone is president of Georgia Carry.org, which advocates fewer limits on gun ownership

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