Charles Gregory testifies on HB 28 (& 29)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Spoken before the Committee on Public Safety & Homeland Security

Charles Gregory speaks at 14:11.
HB 28 amends Code Section 16-11-127 of the Official Code of Georgia, relating to carrying weapons in unauthorized locations.

Property rights are the most basic and fundamental of God-given Natural rights.  All rights are ultimately derived from property rights, as our right to life and liberty are grounded in the principle of self-ownership.

HB 28 removes five words, ‘in a place of worship,' from the list of unauthorized locations to carry a weapon in Georgia.

In effect, this bill restores the Natural right of church owners to exercise the highest authority in determining what is, and is not, allowed on their own property and in establishing policies they regard to be most appropriate, most effective, and most comfortable to its private community.

Restrictions on the possession of weapons are set by, and operate in accordance to, the wishes of property owners in nearly every other location in the state.

To be clear, HB 28 would not force any individual to own or carry a weapon, or any church to allow weapons on premises against their wishes; it would not change or eliminate the background check or licensing requirement currently mandated to carry a concealed weapon in Georgia.

Another fundamental right in the balance today is the individual’s right to self-defense.

It is an unfortunate fact of life that bad people exist and terrible things do happen.  There is no perfect solution that guarantees no one will ever be harmed by someone with a gun, or any other inanimate object.  However, it is naïve, impractical, and utopian to think that government can be everywhere, all the time, to protect everyone.

The average police response time is approximately 10 minutes.  How many unarmed victims do you think a deranged gunman, in an enclosed, crowded room, could kill during that time?... Now what if just one person in that room was carrying a concealed weapon?...  In the words of Suzanna Hupp, well known for having survived this exact scenario, “it would certainly change the odds.”

The Supreme Court has ruled there is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered.  In other words, the police have no legal duty or obligation to protect individuals.

It is irrefutable; the practical effect of “gun-free zones” is to empower criminals while depriving peaceful, law-abiding citizens of their Natural right to self-defense; since by definition, criminals will obtain guns by any means, and will carry them anywhere they wish - regardless of how many tomes of laws we pass.

Our most precious, personal, and sacred venues should not be marked with government imposed signs which invite catastrophic events.  The informed people of this nation and of your district are tired of the state providing plush “killing-fields” for criminals.  It is cruel and immoral to deprive any individual’s right to defend his or her person, much less to create these “Free Target Venues” for the disturbed.

I want to emphasize, there IS no appropriate place for the initiation of violence of any kind; and as a society, we should always reject the initiation of force by individuals as well as by government.  In the case of government imposed criminal-safe zones, it is important to make the distinction that it is government that is the aggressor, as it is forcibly infringing on the rights of the people.

It is also important to highlight that Georgia’s current prohibitions restricting weapons based on location are unconstitutional.

Article I. Section I. Paragraph VIII. Of the Georgia Constitution states: The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but the General Assembly shall have power to prescribe the manner in which arms may be borne.  Clearly, prescribing the manner, how one carries, is NOT the same as restricting the place, where one may carry.

The right to keep and bear arms is also protected by the United States Constitution in the form of the 9th, 10th, and 2nd Amendments.

It is time we stop expanding government, creating more costly and administratively burdensome programs in an attempt to solve problems created by government infringement in the first place.

It’s time we stop being so arrogant as to think we can somehow, with enough rules, centralized managers, and enforcers, put an end to all risk and forms immorality.

It is time that we respect the principle of equal application of the law and stop separating people into groups, some worthy of having rights while others not, simply due to a lack of political representation.

It is time that individuals stop asking government to solve every problem under the sun, and for politicians to stop indulging them.

It is time we stop petitioning our government to deny the rights, property, and freedom of others, simply because it’s what WE want.

It is time we wake up and acknowledge the perils of our ever expanding police state.

It’s time that we place our trust in the people, in the individual rights that our forefathers risked their lives to secure.

For the only legitimate role of government is to protect and defend the life, liberty, and property of individuals.  Whenever false philanthropy and ambition lure government to reach beyond this charter, invariably, it does the exact opposite, violating that which it was entrusted to protect.

If, and how, you vote on this bill will demonstrate whether you believe that our people have the unalienable right to own property and to protect themselves; and it will let your voters know where you stand with regard to their freedom.

Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of the committee.

by Charles Gregory