Gun Rights Legislation

Monday, December 24, 2012

Charles' Commentary

Given the virulent media coverage surrounding the four 4 “pro-liberty” gun bills I recently introduced (HB26-29), I am compelled to share some of my thoughts.

First off, I have received such an overwhelming response of support for these bills from individuals across the state and even nationally that I have had a difficult time keeping up.  I want to thank each and every one of you for your encouragement and for your understanding of the importance of the 2nd Amendment and its role in protecting the people of this Nation.

The issue of gun rights vs. gun control is a highly emotionally charged issue.  This is very understandable, and given this week’s high profile shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, even more so.

Let me start out by saying that my wife and I have three young children, two of whom currently attend public elementary school.  Like so many of you, news of the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary has affected both of us deeply.  It was a terrible, senseless tragedy which has my wife and I, like parents all across America, holding our children very close this holiday season.  Our hearts go out to the families of the victims and all who have been touched by this tragedy in so many ways.

Let me also clarify that, contrary to the media hype, the introduction of these bills is not in response to what happened in Connecticut.  I campaigned on a pro-liberty, pro-2nd Amendment platform and have been working on this legislation on-and-off for months.  These bills were submitted to the House legal counsel for review several weeks prior to the shooting in Connecticut.

These bills have nothing to do with K-12 schools.

It has been suggested by some that my timing in filing these bills was in “bad taste”.  Meanwhile, immediately following the tragic events in CT, our President and many of our country's high-profile talking heads set the national dialog on course for usurping yet more of our liberties by promoting a gun-control agenda.

History shows us that we lose more of our freedoms during times of crisis and tragedy than at any other time.  This is how we have allowed government to pass such un-constitutional human rights abuses as The Patriot Act and The National Defense Authorization Act.

I cannot voice this next sentence emphatically enough:

There is no more appropriate, and no more necessary, time to defend our liberties than when they are under attack!

To those who are strong believers in gun control, I am thankful for your passion on this issue; while I disagree with your analysis of the truths, we are all very fortunate in this country to have so many individuals that care deeply about the safety of our children and our communities.

Let's be clear that it is a sensationalist media and gun-control-lobby driven myth that those of us who are passionate gun-rights advocates want shoot-outs on our streets or more violence in any way.  Exactly the opposite is true.

As a liberty-first Republican, I believe strongly in the non-aggression principle  -- the rejection of the initiation of violence.  In some circles this is also known as “The Golden Rule.”  Furthermore, I believe this principle applies to the actions of individuals and governments alike.

I am passionate about the 2nd Amendment because substantial research on this issue as well as US and world history, civilizations, law, and other related subjects have all led me to the conclusion that the safety, security, and liberty of every American is best served by not interfering with the individual’s right to self-defense.

In short, while bad things do and always will happen, in balance, I believe that guns in the hands of the people (those who choose to take on the responsibility to own and/or carry one) and the deterrent factor of not knowing who may have one saves many more lives than the alternative.  I also believe it is naïve, to think government can always be there to protect us.

There is no perfect solution that can guarantee no one will ever be killed by someone with a gun.  However, I find the overwhelming long-term evidence to be clear.  Where law abiding citizens are prohibited from carrying a guns, a path is cleared for criminal violence.

I love my children as much as any other parent and want them to be safe at school.  Citizen disarmament laws didn’t stop Adam Lanza and they won’t stop any other criminal intent on hurting others; they only guarantee that criminals know where they can get away with the most killings.

If the principal had access to a gun that day, many lives could have been saved; or who knows, if Sandy Hook wasn’t a “gun-free zone”, maybe Adam wouldn’t have even targeted the school.

I am going to attempt to dispel a few myths I have seen passed off by various sensationalist journalists and mis-informed posters; contrary to statements that suggest otherwise:
  • HB28 & HB29 do not force churches and/or colleges to allow guns on their property; they simply return private property rights to the owners of the property.  In other words, the church or the school gets to decide, just like virtually everywhere else in the state.
  • The proposed legislation does not legalize or promote gun violence.
  • The proposed legislation has nothing to do with alcohol.
  • The proposed legislation in no way forces anyone to own or carry a gun.
  • I was not raised in a religious cult.
  • I do not believe the world is going to end any time soon.
  • I do not believe we are in imminent danger of going to war with the federal government.

    I do however recognize that every nation eventually falls.  Do you think it could never happen here?  If history is any indication, the statistical odds of that being correct are about 0%.  It is an unavoidable fact of life that nothing lasts forever.  An armed populace helps ensure that the balance of power remains in the hands of the people, so this country remains free and endures long into the future.
    • Incidentally, several years back when HB-89 was passed, gun restrictions in Georgia were relaxed to allow concealed carry in restaurants that served alcohol, state parks, and on public transportation.  There was a huge uproar from the gun-control lobby.  They said it would be the Wild West; they predicted mass bloodshed; they said there would be frequent shootings at Stone Mountain Park and on MARTA busses across Atlanta.  What actually happened?…

      The crime rate dropped.

      The natural rights of the colonists are these: first, a right to life; second, to liberty; third to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can.

      Samuel Adams, 1772
      It is strangely absurd to suppose that a million human beings collected together are not under the same moral laws which bind each of them separately.

      Thomas Jefferson, 1816
      Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.

      Mohandas Gandhi, an Autobiography, page 446.
      Please consider making a generous contribution of $75, $50, $25 or whatever you can afford to support my efforts to advance liberty and protect our right to keep and bear arms in Georgia.

by Charles Gregory

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