Gun control on the radar?

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Georgia has some of the least restrictive gun laws in the nation, particularly when it comes to keeping firearms away from children. Today, we hear from gun owners with different views: An Atlanta attorney writes that state legislators are more interested in expanding gun rights than protecting people, while a local real estate agent says the U.S. Senate’s background-checks bill was too vague for him.

Commenting is open below.

Still time to pass sensible gun law

By Halsey G. Knapp Jr.

It is not over. Just weeks ago, Americans were encouraged to see a national consensus emerging that enforceable, uniform background checks on all gun purchases, whether from retail stores or gun shows, would become a reality. Had the old mantra, “Guns don’t kill people, people do,” lost its sway? Were we finally facing the reality that too often, irresponsible people with guns kill other, innocent people?

One U.S. Senate filibuster later, our voices were drowned out, and the prospect of a national uniform approach to background checks seemingly evaporated.

State laws remain inadequate substitutes for national legislation. Based on the actions of the last legislative session, Georgia’s lawmakers are more interested in expanding gun rights than in protecting those at the other end of the barrel. For example, when Georgia state Sen. Emanuel Jones sponsored SB 161 which, among other things, would have banned the licensing of firearms to all people with mental disabilities regardless of their form of treatment, it went nowhere. Under existing law, only in-patient, hospitalized people with mental illnesses are barred from gun ownership. Given that outpatient alternatives and drugs are the predominant form of treatment for mental illness today, Georgians are unknowingly at risk due to this huge gap in protection.

Now let’s compare the Gold Dome’s treatment of SB 161 to its treatment of HB 981. Despite the absence of any significant outcry for the need to carry concealed weapons into public places, HB 981, among other things, authorized the carrying of concealed weapons in churches, on campuses and in courts, if those institutions so elected. Encouraging people to carry weapons into group settings is risky with no meaningful benefit that I could see. Yet, here comes HB 981, in part, to allow each side of the gun rights issue to identify who were supporters and opposition of expanding gun rights and thus targets for funding and future election opposition.

Such expansions should be used more sparingly, yet HB 981 only died on the last day of the session.

As a gun owner, I find current laws allow me to use my guns in a responsible way without undue restriction. Personal accountability for safe practices and sound processes have always been for me a non-negotiable requirement of gun ownership. More gun rights such as HB 981 pushes the pendulum too far towards risky, irresponsible gun behavior.

Fortunately, mandatory background check legislation is still alive in Congress, according to one of its sponsors, Sen. Joe Manchin. The filibusterers are nowhere listed, as they shamelessly derailed the bill without an open floor debate. It is time to hold the filibusterers accountable. We need to continue to push for universal and enforceable background checks, a simple, commonsense approach to reduce violence by persons who are irresponsible or incompetent to handle such weapons. For one thing is certain: Silence and complacency kills.

Halsey G. Knapp Jr. is an Atlanta attorney and gun owner.

What’s next after background checks?

By Paul Rice

There has been much debate regarding guns. Gun control advocates often cite the need for new laws to protect our children. What we need to do is to protect everyone — including children. Debate is a good thing, but it should be honest debate. The failed U.S. Senate Bill 649 did not have honest debate. Support was generated because it focused on publicizing SB 649 as “harmless, mild-measure” registration/background checks.

Some people charged that the National Rifle Association (NRA) was opposed to background checks, thus jeopardizing our children’s safety. Not so. NRA members like me for years have agreed to background checks when we applied for our concealed weapon permits.

SB 649’s provisions went beyond registration and background checks, which was a reason that I opposed the bill. It contained a provision allowing the U.S. attorney general to add further regulations. What these regulations could cover was vague, and that was a concern.

SB 649 also provided that if, for example, I gave my grandson a firearm, and years later could not prove that the gun transfer was a legal “free” gift, I could be convicted of a crime and sentenced to 15 years in prison — 25 years if the government elected to tack on a “RICO” provision to really scare me.

I am continually amazed at how many people have forgotten the history of how government has passed laws meting out extreme punishments for what had been lawful common activity by their ancestors.

Unfortunately, if I am confronted in a life-or-death situation — whether it involves a gun or otherwise — I will be my own “first responder.” I will probably be my only responder until the situation is resolved. It would be nice if I could use my cell phone and dial 911 in time, but that is unlikely.

Celebrities, politicians and other gun control proponents are quick to count numbers killed by a gun, but rarely do they report on lives saved because citizens have effective means to protect themselves. Actions, such as the manner in which SB 649 was presented, cause me to be suspicious of any governmental alteration of the Second Amendment.

If Congress has the authority to modify the Second Amendment simply by passing a law, how far can it go to also abridge freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and freedom to petition the government? It is important to fight for our constitutional rights. The Second Amendment may not be precious to you, but it is only a matter of time before someone tries to take away rights that are precious to you.

Paul Rice is a Covington real estate agent and gun owner.

34 comments Add your comment


May 19th, 2013
8:11 am

USC-69 (and Mary Elizabeth): Many young people don’t own firearms not because of some silly hippy-dippy attitudes about some emerging New Age consciousness; they don’t own firearms because they have been seduced by the ‘bread and circuses’ approach. The younger generations have been conditioned into passively accepting life as de facto slaves and sadly, many of them are doing so because the dumbed-down public education system has refused to teach them about their legacy of hard-won freedom. So yes, many of these young people will believe that the purpose of government is to ‘take care’ of them, never realizing what they are throwing away in return for imaginary ’security’ and a total lack of freedom to do anything other than remain stoned out of their minds.

Fortunately, many more young people raised by conservatives DO know what is going on. SO please, go back to your hippy-dippy hovels, smoke your bongs and chant to your crystals, and stay out of our way. We’re taking back our country from the liberal trash.


May 19th, 2013
6:57 am

Our population has tripled and our ability to communicate has exploded. The human race is now in the process of major evolution. Will we pick the steps that more rapidly bring safety, peace, harmony, and joy or will we continue to try to recreate some outdated concept (actually never realized) of total personal independence and enforced insistence on lack of rules and oversight? According to a recent Gallup report, Americans age 18 to 29 are the least likely to own guns, with just 20 percent claiming that they do. They understand the danger of continuing to arm all citizens with lethal force. They understand the imperfections of the human brain and emotional control. The aging, frightened males of the N.R.A. will soon be leaving the scene and whether new laws will hasten this evolution to a more ordered society or just patience – there will come a time in the U.S. when guns are seen as reactionary and silly.

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

May 19th, 2013
6:31 am

Mary Elizabeth: The people of our nation should be thinking in terms of how to eliminate hatred, prejudice, and fear in our nation and world, and of how to use their lives for the betterment of humankind

Saul Alinsky: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

In your estimation, how should one square your thought with Saul Alinsky’s, from “Rules for Radicals”, which is Obozo’s user manual for how to run a government?

Mary Elizabeth

May 19th, 2013
12:38 am

The people of our nation are on the wrong track and, sadly, cannot see it.

The people of our nation should be thinking in terms of how to eliminate hatred, prejudice, and fear in our nation and world, and of how to use their lives for the betterment of humankind, instead of how to arm themselves with guns.

The present obsession with gun ownership is fostering an emotional/mental unbalance in our nation. Americans can transcend this unhealthy state of consciousness, but first we must see that what fosters life lies deep within each of us. Love is the way, not fear, to build a more perfect union, a beloved union, that will find peace and security not through guns, but from deep within.

Don't Tread

May 18th, 2013
8:36 pm

“a simple, commonsense approach to reduce violence by persons who are irresponsible or incompetent to handle such weapons”

Here’s a simple, commonsense approach, Mr. Knapp: Death penalty. Dead people can’t escape or be released to commit more crime after they get out. That will reduce violence. (Of course, being a liberal, you most likely oppose the death penalty.)

Here’s another: Reward. Reward citizens for taking out criminals, instead of treating them as criminals. The amount of said reward should be determined by the perp’s rap sheet.


May 18th, 2013
6:51 pm

The gun facts that the politically correct media refuses to talk about.

In Chicago 2012, there were over 500 murders. 70% of the perpetrators of these crimes were black and 25% were hispanic. Only 3.5% were white.

Perhaps we should ban blacks and hispanics from owning guns. It seems they cannot control their irrational behavior and homicidal tendencies.

And it is not just chicago. Go to any city, small, medium or large, and start placing push pins on the map where crimes are committed. The pattern that will emerge EVERY SINGLE TIME is that the majority of crime occurs in predominately black and hispanic neighborhoods.

Yeah Congress, open the borders and bring more of them into our country. Great idea.


May 18th, 2013
5:48 pm

“Common Sense legislation.” Liberalspeak for take your gun away.

What do the liberals say immediately after ANY gun control law is passed? That’s a “good start.”

And for all the liberals parroting the Obamaspeak lie that the NRA is only representing the gun manufacturers: ONE percent of NRA revenues come from gun manufacturers.

Meanwhile, those who don’t own a gun, never owned a gun, don’t want to ever own a gun, think that they are the be all, end all experts on “sensible” gun control.

Gun control is being able to hit the target.

John Watson

May 18th, 2013
2:45 pm

Three points after reading the comments.
One, Michael is correct about education. Few people know, and liberals would never acknowledge, that the NRA is primarily involved in firearms training and shooting competitions. it was formed shortly after the Civil War for the express purpose of improving civilian marksmanship. here’s the point. the NRA has an excellent training program for children called Eddie Eagle. log in and read about it. it teaches children gun safety. this could save untold lives, if only it would be allowed to be taught in our schools.
Two, the old argument that if only one life is saved, it’s worth it, is just babblative jabber. Taking it to its logical extension, the total banning of alcohol would save many lives, not just one. Far more people are killed each year in alcohol related deaths than by guns, but no one is proposing prohibition. Raising the driving age to 18 would save many lives, but no one is calling for this. The aforementioned Eddie Eagle Program could save many lives. If the anti-gunners are sincere regarding protecting children, this could be implemented almost immediately, but I am not holding my breath.
Three, let’s talk about Chicago, the nation’s biggest bloodbath despite its draconian gun laws. the Sheriff of Cook County, Illinois was on the news about 6 weeks ago with the solution: federal prosecution of the felons who possess a gun and commit crimes with guns, the vast percentage of the gun crimes in Chicago. in the 1990’s, the US Attorney’s Office in Virginia implemented Project Exile in coordination with the Richmond Police Department. Rapid federal prosecution with 5 year/no parole sentences became the norm, and signs around town advertised it. the gun crimes dropped precipitously. to save that proverbial one life only takes one phone call from the president to his attorney general.
Common sense solutions are there, but are ignored to push an anti-gun agenda.


May 18th, 2013
7:25 am

Just some final observations: Do gun supporters think that there should be no limits on a right if it can be found to be constitutional (like freedom of religion, speech, etc.) It is interesting also how gun supporters are so good at changing the subject. I thought the issue was guns not drunk driving and abortion. We can argue about the differences between a woman ending a pregnancy and mass shootings and genocide and I think most reasonable people would agree that there are very significant differences. Also, we have laws against drunk driving and require the registration of cars with the government.

Also, if Clyde’s points are so good, we did he admit that there are less guns in places with more strict gun laws (and thus less accidental gun deaths)? I thought that gun laws made no difference when it comes to people who are bad who want guns. Additionally, he seems to admit that with the presence of more guns there is a greater likelihood for gun deaths (at least the accidental kind). Shouldn’t that be a concern for those who advocate arming everyone to the teeth?

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

May 18th, 2013
6:09 am

Does anyone have evidence showing the last “assault” weapons ban or “big clip” ban reduced crime or shootings?