Georgia is on a lot of people’s minds today after its governor on Wednesday signed the Safe Carry Protection Act, or, as its opponents call it, the Guns Everywhere Bill.
In fact, this may be the most attention Yankees have paid to the state since Sherman sacked Atlanta.
Why the fuss? Here’s what the new law allows, courtesy of my colleague Richard Simon:
The law permits "licensed gun owners to take weapons into houses of worship if the church allows it, into bars unless the owner objects, into airports up to screening areas, and into government buildings, except past security checkpoints.
"[It permits] schools to arm staff members and lowers the age from 21 to 18 for active members of the military to obtain gun licenses. [It forbids] the confiscation of firearms during an emergency, a response to authorities taking guns in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The measure also [offers] defendants an ‘absolute defense’ in court if a gun is used in the face of a violent attack.”
Yep. That explains why the National Rifle Assn. hailed the bill’s passage in March as “a historic victory for the 2nd Amendment.”
Now, there are basically two kinds of people in this country when it comes to guns. One side would agree with supporters of the new law such as Jerry Henry, executive director of GeorgiaCarry.org, who said: “You’re not going to stop crime by disarming good people.”
The other side would line up with groups such as Americans for Responsible Solutions, founded by former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. The group called the Georgia legislation the most extreme gun law in the nation.
Me? I’m in the latter camp. The law seems — not to put too fine a point on it — nuts. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see its potential pitfalls. As Police Chief David Lyons of Garden City, Ga., put it after the bill’s passage: “We’re going to go to Hooters now expecting that everybody in there has a gun.” (I suspect that won’t apply to the famously scantily-clad waitresses.)
But here’s the kicker: Though I disagree with Georgia’s law, I support the state’s right to enact it.
Look, this is the way Georgians want it. The bill had bipartisan support in the Legislature. The governor backed it. Heck, even the governor’s Democratic opponent in the upcoming election voted for it. (You may have heard of him: kid by the name of Jason Carter, a Democratic state senator and, oh yes, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter.)
Which means that, in this good ole USA, land of the free and all, the good folks of Georgia ought to be free to live as they want, mostly. Including living with a risky, potentially disastrous, gun-crazy law.
Such a law wouldn’t fly in California. Or New York. Or plenty of other states.
You say you’re an Angeleno and you hate this law? Well, you don’t live in Georgia.
Georgians like it. So they can have it.
And if you’re a Georgian who doesn’t like it? This is America. You have choices: You can work to overturn it. You can start packing too. Or you can pack up and move.
After all, as Georgia just proved, it’s a free country.