In a picturesque open-air picnic area with a creek running through it, hundreds gathered in one of the most memorably political events in Georgia’s history. Following prayer, the singing of the national anthem, and the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, Governor Nathan Deal signed into law, effective July 1, the most liberal gun carry legislation in the country. The popular Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014, known by anti-Second Amendment adversaries as the “Guns Everywhere Law,” passed with by-partisan support in the State House 112-58 and in the State Senate 37-18.
The legislation still requires a background check and good standing with the law for the license, and is extended to the permit holders of 28 states that issue CCW permits. The law exempts government buildings and airport terminals having security personnel, but other government buildings and airport facilities are not exempted. Churches, bars, and schools have the right to exclude guns in their facilities should they wish to. Police are no longer permitted to hold a person “for the sole purpose of investigating whether such a person has a weapons carry license,” which was a concern to some law enforcement personnel, but firefighters and emergency responders could be armed. This last measure was in response to a man recently having held firefighters hostage in his home. This would never have happened had they been armed.
Governor Deal in his address prior to signing the law cited passages of the Declaration of Independence as the authority behind the new law and quoted from its principle author, Thomas Jefferson. “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms, as a last resort, is to protect themselves against the tyranny in government.” The governor then added, “While we still guard against tyranny, America today cherishes this right so that people who follow the rules can protect themselves and their families from those who don’t follow the rules.” The new law “will protect law abiding citizens by expanding the number of places that they can carry their guns without penalty,” he said.
Yes, most Georgians are ecstatic about the new law but other places with more lawlessness are gradually seeing similarly the benefits of an armed citizenry. A few months ago police Chief James Graig of Detroit astounded the anti-Second Amendment people with his advocacy that the citizens be armed to protect themselves in his city. Basically with burglary, rape, and murder as high as in New York City, with three times the population, and with his force of only 3,000 officers to protect 700,000, and to reign in the lawless, he freely admits that it cannot be done without citizen help. Prior to his becoming the city police chief, response time for Level One priority calls was 58 minutes. Under his leadership it is still unacceptably between 8 and 11 minutes. Basically the victim (perhaps you) has already been, robbed, rapped or murdered. “When seconds count, police are just minutes away.” The Chief says that, “It’s certainly not saying we can’t do our job; it’s saying we can’t be on every block, every corner, every minute of the day to be able to respond in seconds when someone is confronted with a dangerous situation.” To the anti-gun few he argues, “We’re not advocating violence. We’re advocates of not being victims” (1st Freedom, June 2014, pp. 32-35, 61-62).
Does law enforcement agree with further arming the citizenry? In a recent survey of 15,000 cops the question was asked. “What would help most in preventing large-scale shootings in public?” Out of eight choices provided, 29 percent chose “more permissive concealed carry policies for civilians.” The next highest category, nearly 20 percent, cited “more aggressive institutionalization for mentally ill persons,” all other categories were decidedly less. With respect to “What effect do you think a federal ban on the manufacture and sale of some semi-automatic firearms, termed by some as ‘assault weapons,’ would have on reducing violent crime? Seventy-one percent said none” (Ibid. p. 30).
Think about it. Perhaps “Guns Everywhere” laws are the answer to reduced crime. Those with CCW permits must have a virtually spotless record, must have some training and are among our most respected citizens. Why shouldn’t we trust them to protect themselves responsibly? We will have a chance to observe crime rates in Georgia and Detroit in time; my prediction is that in both places crime will go down.
Dr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.