The politics of packing heat in public places

This summer, Georgiacarry.org gathered up several Republican candidates for governor, to quiz them on their attitudes toward firearms.

The gun group is a recent entry into the annual confrontations in the Legislature over where and when licensed Georgians can carry firearms.

But its members are among the state’s most ardent believers in the Second Amendment. Many of them think that, when it comes to defending the right to keep and bear arms, the National Rifle Association has been a tad wimpish.

Georgiacarry’s top priority is the abolition of the state’s ban on weaponry at church assemblies, athletic events, political rallies, on college and school campuses, and in public buildings.

One of August’s great ironies was U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey’s defense of those who carried firearms to fiery town hall meetings where health care reform was debated. In the Marietta congressman’s home state, the practice is illegal.

The politics of packing heat in public places is difficult for Georgia Republicans. While the base is often gung-ho, many strategists worry that the idea of hidden pistols at PTA meetings and prayer services is a middle-class turn-off.

Last week, Georgiacarry kindly provided the audio from that summer panel discussion.

One of the participants was state Rep. Sean Jerguson (R-Holly Springs), a Georgiacarry member, who said he believes so strongly in gun ownership that, when his daughter turned 4 years old, he gave her a “pink .22.” His son was about to turn the same age, and would get a blue one, the lawmaker said.

But the focus was on three candidates for governor: State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, state Rep. Austin Scott of Tifton, and Ray McBerry of McDonough. A stand-in appeared for Secretary of State Karen Handel. Libertarian candidate John Mond also attended.

Oxendine told the gun crowd that he thought licensed carriers should be allowed to pack heat “virtually” anywhere – except for courtrooms, prisons and jails.

“I wouldn’t feel bad at all if someone wanted to carry a gun in the Governor’s Mansion. We may go out on the back porch and shoot a few wine bottles or something,” he said.

But drinking while carrying a concealed firearm is a no-no. “Commissioner Oxendine, you’d have to change the no-alcohol policy first,” Scott interjected.

“That will be done the day I’m sworn in, don’t worry,” Oxendine said.

The spokesman for Handel declared that the secretary of state was likewise a strong believer in H.B. 615, sponsored by state Rep. Tim Bearden (R-Villa Rica), which would do away with Georgia’s public assembly restrictions.

The only Republican to disappoint Georgiacarry was Scott, who declared himself a gun enthusiast, but said he couldn’t support a wholesale dismantling of the state’s public assembly law. “I wouldn’t be honest with you if I told you that as governor I was going to let you carry firearms into a high school football game,” Scott said.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal said he could support an end to restrictions on firearms at public gatherings. But Eric Johnson, the former senator from Savannah, was more careful. “It is not something the campaign senses is a principle concern of Georgia voters,” said campaign manager Ben Fry. Jobs and the economy are greater worries.

That kind of division indicates that the issue of gun rights could play a significant role in the Republican primary.

(Among Democratic candidates for governor, DuBose Porter and David Poythress oppose any changes to the state’s rules on public packing. “A family should be able to go to the circus on a Friday night at Phillips Arena and feel confident that their children aren’t sitting next to someone with a loaded .357,” Poythress said. Thurbert Baker and Roy Barnes are more fuzzy.)

Georgiacarry would prefer that the public assembly debate also become a focus of the Legislature when it convenes in January. But this is less likely.

At about the same time that lawmakers gather in Atlanta, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on a Chicago case that could very well determine what restrictions cities and states can place on an individual’s right to carry weaponry.

That will cause many to argue for a postponement of any changes to Georgia’s public assembly laws.

Then there’s the matter of the man who’s no longer running for governor. With his ambition postponed, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, the Republican leader of the Senate, is under no immediate obligation to cater to gun interests.

Last week, at its fall retreat, the Senate GOP caucus agreed to back S.B. 291, a bill sponsored by state Sen. David Shafer of Duluth. The measure would assert the gun-toting rights of motorists driving up to drop-off/pick-up areas of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport .

But otherwise, the bill would not tinker with restrictions on firearms in public spaces.

A 2008 bill, passed into law and backed by Georgiacarry, allowed concealed weaponry on MARTA and other forms of public transportation. But a federal judge ruled this spring that Hartsfield would remain off-limits to armed commuters.

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183 comments Add your comment

Naomi

October 17th, 2009
4:38 pm

Why aren’t there any quotes from Ray McBerry? If he was one of the candidates that was being focused on, why no quotes from him?

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

October 17th, 2009
5:17 pm

Those having to mince words concerning the Second Amendment, other than on Judicial, Penal, or Law Enforcement campuses where civil common sense suggests only officials of the People’s servant, the State, sworn and with badges, should be “carrying,” reveal a want of awareness as to just what “America” means: Alien culture has imposed itself in our midst.

The G-dless “fox with no tail,” ignorant of, or opposed to, the concept of vigilant, righteous, prepared Citizen Sovereign fully apprised of The Founders’ bequest and G-d’s holy Covenant, tries to convince good and decent Georgians and Americans to “cut off” the Divine “Brush” we each can and should “sport” from American Birth.

They are worms and a cancer upon us.

If law school draft-dodger Barnes now wishes to dither on being as stupid as NG “proptop lawyer” Poythress, Georgians need merely recall who made firecrackers illegal in the state which has provided, disproportionate to the other states, more young men and women to Our Armed Forces’ schools to further develop munitions and ballistics “craft.”

However, giving a four-year-old a .22 falls into the same category as illegally turning on the sirens and lights of a state-issued car to pass the citizenry in traffic, running late for a date, and lying about it: “Moron/False American/False Man, First Class.”

Keith

October 17th, 2009
5:19 pm

Ray McBerry? Get over it… he ain’t happening

Not Kasim

October 17th, 2009
5:44 pm

Ray

October 17th, 2009
6:53 pm

At my church we often pray for God to left the fear the engulfs those who feel the need to carry a gun. After all, God’s love is happiness and freedom. Without a doubt, those who sport a firearm are too scared to ever experience real freedom. How sad.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

October 17th, 2009
7:09 pm

Read History, foreigner.

Carl from Chicago

October 17th, 2009
7:09 pm

Will Jones:

What on earth are you talking about, and what does it have to do with our right to carry defensive arms in public?

MLeake

October 17th, 2009
7:31 pm

No alcohol policy change? It’s already unlawful to consume alcohol while exercising concealed carry rights; I believe a misdemeanor charge attaches, with good odds of loss of permit.

Kathy

October 17th, 2009
7:36 pm

It is disappointing, but not suprising that the author failed to mention the overwhelming applause that Ray McBerry received when he spoke at the GeorgiaCarry event when he declared that any federal agent who tried to disarm a law-abiding Georgia citizen (as was done during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina), would find himself in a Georgia jail. To date McBerry is the only republican candidate to take this bold of a position in defense of Georgia’s citizens. I have recently met several GeorgiaCarry members in the Augusta area and they all support McBerry.

mrzip

October 17th, 2009
8:01 pm

its is always better to have a weapon with you and NOT need it,its even WORSE to not have one and NEED IT,always remember this//////////////

Peter

October 17th, 2009
8:28 pm

When the legislature allows firearms in their building, I’ll accept the consequences in other public places. Don’t let the cowards maintain a double standard.

john

October 17th, 2009
8:38 pm

I wish all the pansy azzes that whine about other people exercising their 2nd amendment rights would put signs in their front yard saying loud and clear “Because of our pansy azzed beliefs, there are no guns in this household”. This way the criminals would know where they can ply their craft with impunity.

Shananeeeee Fananeeeeeee

October 17th, 2009
8:52 pm

“From my cold, dead hands.” – Charlton Heston. By the way Anita Dunn who works for Obama and is smearing Fox News said one of her favorite two philosophers EVER is Mao Tse Tung. That’s right, a man who is responsible for millions and millions of deaths of his own people. So Mao is good and Fox is bad? Fox bad, Mao good? Something doesn’t add up here. Well these are the type of people the administration admire, Mao Tse Tung and Fidel Castro. Men who were evil dictators and opressed their people. These men were a disgrace and this administration is a disgrace.

godless heathen

October 17th, 2009
9:37 pm

“A family should be able to go to the circus on a Friday night at Phillips Arena and feel confident that their children aren’t sitting next to someone with a loaded .357,” Poythress said.

Like a cop?

Brian

October 17th, 2009
10:02 pm

“At my church we often pray for God to left the fear the engulfs those who feel the need to carry a gun. After all, God’s love is happiness and freedom. Without a doubt, those who sport a firearm are too scared to ever experience real freedom. How sad.”

First of all not all, people who carry weapons do it for protection from crime. Some of us simply enjoy the sport of shooting. Secondly, it’s not necessarily fear that leads one to arm himself. However it is almost ALWAYS fear that prevents the victim from fighting back against his assailant. One of God’s greatest gifts to man is the freedom to choose. I my friend, choose to fight back. To believe that we live in a society that is all love and happiness is to be very, very naïve. It would be nice if that were the case, but everyone here knows that it is just not to be.

P.S. I don’t identify as a conservative or a republican.

AWJ

October 17th, 2009
11:16 pm

I want to know why a family could not enjoy going to the circus if someone next to them was legally carrying a concealed weapon? What is the big deal?

Ray

October 17th, 2009
11:59 pm

For every criminal stopped by a law abiding gun carrier, there are twenty accidental/suicide deaths in households with firearms.

May God forgive those who choose firearms over His Grace.

Eric P.

October 18th, 2009
12:35 am

Brian: What do you “identify” as?

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

October 18th, 2009
12:40 am

Its grace gave America the Second Amendment, by G-d.

Eric P.

October 18th, 2009
12:44 am

Yeah, that’s what I thought. Asleep at the wheel. Just when your idealogy needs you most! If you want to shoot it out in public with everyone, at least respect the fact that some of us dont trust you to decide that for yourself. How do we know you’re not just some nut-job who used to work for the post office? Get real man, if you really believe you’re John Wayne, why dont you go act in movies?

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

October 18th, 2009
12:52 am

For a novel approach: try being an American man yourself.

Eric P.

October 18th, 2009
12:56 am

Will Jones 4 mayor/governor!!!

Eric P.

October 18th, 2009
12:57 am

Max Cleland is the bomb! Except for the recent book.

clyde

October 18th, 2009
5:27 am

There is a disconnect between the term law abiding and concealed carry permit by the public.For some reason many cannot comprehend that we’re talking about law abiding citizens when we advocate concealed carry.Permit holders are people that are highly unlikely to commit a crime of any kind,let alone a gun crime.This is a group of people that the public does not need to be concerned about.

There is a group of people out there that carries concealed weapons without bothering to get a permit.This is where the public needs to concentrate it’s efforts.On this group.They are not law abiding.They intend to commit crimes with their concealed weapons.They are the ones who may be sitting next to you at the circus with the loaded .357 magnum and you are right to be concerned about that.

There are many murders commited in Atlanta with guns.The people who commit these murders are not law abiding permit holders,but rather they are lawless thugs.The public needs to concentrate it’s efforts squarely on this group of hoods and make any crime committed with a gun very unpleasant to them.Like a 20 year sentence for committing gun crimes for starters.That will deter some and remove the rest from the street for at least 20 years.

I know,.I’ve heard all the arguments why a mandatory long sentence is a bad idea,and to that I say,”bullcuckey”.It is long past the time to do this.I want John Q. Public to get away from the idea that I and my carry permit are a problem and start going after the real problem.You know,the one who are shooting old ladies and leaving them on the steps.

dmac

October 18th, 2009
7:37 am

Is this really an issue?

Unemployment and foreclosure rates are doing great damage to our country. Politicians should be focused on jobs, jobs, jobs!

Is it really patriotic for Georgia Carry to cry about not being able to carry guns in to a High School football game when our neighbor’s are losing their jobs and houses?

larora

October 18th, 2009
7:50 am

It only takes a second for a person to go from a so-called law abiding citizen to a murderer. How do you know if that person sitting next to you didnt just have his wife leave him with his children and he has no hope to live. So he takes out his concealed weapon and takes it out on you and your family. And then he kills himself. We need a well-REGULATED millitia.

Road Scholar

October 18th, 2009
8:18 am

Peter, I agree completely.

Brian: “First of all not all, people who carry weapons do it for protection from crime.” So, the thugs and murders are ok to pack heat? Maybe you just shouldn’t go to high crime areas.

To be able to carry a gun anywhere, can’t we also increase the penalties for improper use or accidental discharge?

clyde

October 18th, 2009
8:26 am

larora,

Using your reasoning,it would only take you a short time to walk across the street and beat your neighbor to death with a baseball bat.Should he worry about this?Is it worth passing a law banning baseball bats?

Cindy

October 18th, 2009
8:34 am

Will Jones you need to be institutionalized. You need help guy.

clyde

October 18th, 2009
8:39 am

Road Scholar,

You could talk to Plaxo Burress about the penalty for accidental discharge of a non permitted weapon.In about twenty months.When he gets out.

GWB

October 18th, 2009
8:40 am

No Will Jones you dumbazz. By the grace of God we have the 4th amendment which obviously a great many of you 2nd amendment lunatics seem to want to turn right over to the authorities. But once the 4th gets trashed we will all needs a gun. You guys can’t see the forest for the trees 99% of the time.

GWB

October 18th, 2009
8:45 am

Clyde you can’t very easily hide a baseball bat.

Ace of Spades

October 18th, 2009
9:02 am

I would be interested to see how folks will react when they realize more Black folks on the whole are carrying concealed weapons – Like ME :O)

clyde

October 18th, 2009
9:06 am

GWB,

Carry it in a guitar case.

MH Brown

October 18th, 2009
9:09 am

Let’s get a couple of things straight. First, to all you gun-toting, vigilantes who want to carry a gun for defense: get real. It takes nerves of steel to point a gun at another person and pull the trigger. You think you’ve got what it takes? You talk big, but the most likely scenario is this: even if you have the presence of mind to get your gun out in time you will pause. You will think, “is this person really trying to harm me?” In that instant you will be cut down like a cornstalk in October. Be certain that the thug does not have any uncertainty as to what he’s doing. To summarize: few people have the guts to pull trigger nor the ability to evaluate the situation quick enough. Your own gun will be your downfall. Next, to the folk who insist that the USA was founded on the word of God: the exact opposite was true. The founders of the US explicitly rejected the divine right of kings and put forth the radical idea that men could rule themselves without God’s involvement. They were Age of Enlightenment disciples, free-masons and other truly inspired thinkers and philosophers. We are very lucky that those men held those beliefs at that time so that our country’s “noble experiment” could emerge. Lastly, regardless of what you think about guns, the Second Amendment is clearly about defending the country against foreign aggression. The way kings and governments raised armies in that day was to put the call out to citizens. Additionally, they had just defeated the British by having a population with rifles and other small arms. There was no Federal army outside of the Marines and a tiny navy until after the Civil War. The Second Amendment, therefore, by its very careful wording as to limit arms to militia, makes it clear that the founders wanted firearms to be controlled and owned only for the purpose of hunting and national defense. Neither of these concern keeping a pistol in one’s pocket at all times.

jconservative

October 18th, 2009
9:12 am

Will Jones
“Its grace gave America the Second Amendment, by G-d.”

In fact, James Madison wrote the 2nd Amendment. This is the same James Madison who put all the restrictions on religious testing in the Constitution. G-d had nothing to do with it.

But you can believe what you want to believe, and if there are no reasons to believe what you want, you can make up reasons as you have done.

clyde

October 18th, 2009
9:14 am

Doesn’t it note somewhere in the 2nd Amendment,even in conjunction with militias, that the people’s right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed?

Johnd

October 18th, 2009
9:16 am

Enter your comments here

jconservative

October 18th, 2009
9:20 am

Jim, the McDonald v. Chicago case is not yet scheduled for oral arguments.

But the legislature should really postpone any action on gun legislation until the Court rules. Scalia apparently wants to extend the 2nd Am to the states (based on his Heller decision). But to do so he has to use one of two judicial tests that he does not approve, or come up with something entirely new. In short, legislate from the bench.

Here is a clue on his thinking from the Heller decision:
“Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose:”

GWB

October 18th, 2009
9:21 am

So why not just hit them with the guitar case Clyde. By the time you get the bat out it’s way to late. Some of the logic you wannabe gunslingers use is a true reflection of your room temperature IQs.

clyde

October 18th, 2009
9:37 am

Dear GWB,

Here’s a short history lesson for dummies.A group of men wrested this country away from England because they didn’t like England’s oppressive laws.Another group that was here at the time,calling themselves Loyalists,either went home to England or went to what was to become Canada.Since then,the ancestors of group one,the Wresters,Have managed to keep oppressive laws in this country at bay,even though the ancestors of group two,the Loyalists,which includes people like you,have managed to infiltrate back into the country and are trying to take it back.

Now it’s probably true that I can’t match your amazing IQ,but at least I use mine.

LADILOVELY

October 18th, 2009
9:42 am

Georgia is going to turn into the movies Clint Eastood played in. Where every body carried a gun and their was always guns fights. Who is going to draw first? You will not be satified until one of your children or family member is killed in the crossfired. I PRAY THAT THAT DAY NEVER COME.

GWB

October 18th, 2009
9:42 am

No you don’t Clyde. You sound like a total moron. You are just a chicken sh%t coward that is scared of anything that walks. Grow a set and that gun won’t be so important anymore.

Ace of Spades

October 18th, 2009
9:49 am

@GWB

Gimme your wallet and get on the ground!!

(You just $–t AND p-$$-d your pants. LOL)

Straight to the point

October 18th, 2009
9:50 am

Listen, as a gun owner, AND, as a gun bearer, I bring my pistol EVERYWHERE I legally can do so. Parks, Malls, Supermarkets, Banks, ….everywhere I am REGULATED by the permit in my wallet. So who ever mentioned REGULATED needs to know how to use that word, and realize all permit holders are already regulated….wow, the level of intelligence of some readers is amazing LOL.

All you zealous pansies crying fear of me sitting next to you child, let something tragic occur…guess who will be there to DEFEND you and your child: me. Don’t cry for a cop, when cop means Citizen On Patrol.

WE THE PEOPLE was a phrase used by the founding fathers right? You think it excluded (well it did for my fellow natives and Africans) “people” and meant only “government officials/people” ? LOL Stop, you are killiiiiiiing me morons. It meant ALL “people” in general belonging to that time. AND finally ALL people up to this time.

If all people were legally armed, and legally carried arms everywhere other than in a jail or courthouse, how much you wanna bet virtually NO CRIME would occur???? Criminals would think not once about doing a crime with knowledge that anyone in their circumference could legally make a Citizens arrest. I agree it is better to be armed and not use a gun than to not have a gun and be in a situation where you need one. Chivalry is not dead, otherwise the many brave women and men who elect to become cops/deputies/etc wouldn’t have picked up that occupation. If we solely depend on “law enforcement” to fend off criminal activities, guess what, crime will get worse!

Want some DISTURBING NEWS mr/miss anti-gunner? READ AND GASP:

Police aren’t required to protect you. In Warren v. District of Columbia (1981 ), the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled, “official police personnel and the government employing them are not generally liable to victims of criminal acts for failure to provide adequate police protection. . . a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services , such as police protection, to any particular citizen.” In Bowers v. DeVito (1982), the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, “[T] here is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen.”

Now, since I just created a mud hole in your whining, wise up and support the Constitution that encourages self sufficiency. If you don’t demand and exercise ANY of our rights, zealot haters will cause them to be encroached upon. “If you don’t use it, you loose it” applies to sex, and gun rights! LOL

Now I dare anyone to defy that court ruling; WE THE PEOPLE are responsible for WE the people. With a murders on the rise in ATL, students being robbed BECAUSE THEY KNOW GUNS ARENT ALLOWED BY STUDENTS, racists plotting, terrorists plotting, thugs plotting, gangs plotting…you need to plot you @$$es to the nearest gun store and be ready to defend your self, your childrem, your spouse, family, our city, our state, and our country with a well-regulated permit in your pocket.

Now run tell that.

OOOOOORRRRAAAAAAH!

GWB

October 18th, 2009
9:51 am

Ace of Spades most of these gun nuts are whites that are scared to death of anything that doesn’t look just like them. They are scared of blacks. They are scared of Latinos. They are scared of their own shadows. I am white. I hear what they say when only whites are present. But none of them have the guts to give their real reason. That’s why you have guys like Clyde sounding like the idiots they are talking about all these government conspiracies. The real issue with these rednecks is their fear of anything darker than they are.

GWB

October 18th, 2009
9:57 am

Straight to the Point it’s not so much “anti gun” as it is pro common sense. Most of you lack that.

GWB

October 18th, 2009
10:03 am

Ace of Spades it is more likely that Straight to the Point and Clyde would be your groveling victims after you took their guns from their shaking hands and shot them with it.

clyde

October 18th, 2009
10:05 am

gwb,

I didn’t put you in caps this time because you’ve been so mean.At last count you’ve called me a gunslinger with a room temperature IQ,a total moron,a chickens#&t coward,a government conspiracy idiot and an almost racist.[I stuck that last in to sort of compensate for the words you've attributed to me that I never said].

Taking into consideration all of your comments I can only conclude that you’re a liberal,and where I hail from thats akin to being called a skunk.You are a dog,sir,and a cur sir, and I don’t think I like you.

Straight to the point

October 18th, 2009
10:18 am

Thank you GWB for not addressing the court rulings and facts i presented….it only makes my facts shine! You are in denial. I am not a conservative, i am not a liberal. I am a common sense advocate of which you bear not. Those court rulings put egg on your face, because it wasnt decisions on peoples OPINIONS, but on the facts that the government and its deputies/cops/etc are NOT liable for public safety as you morons would like people to believe. You are perpetuating suicide of a people by denying that WE all are responsible for ourselves. With conservatives i agree on that: self sufficiency is not for lazy @ss people, because they want the government to do everything for them.

Thanks to all the haters, so that facts prevail and cowards expose themselves.