Just last week, Georgia governor Nathan Deal signed off on legislation that vastly expands the scope of places where state residents can carry guns. “When we limit a Georgian’s ability to carry a weapon — to defend themselves — we’re empowering the bad guys,” offered Representative Rick Jasperse, who introduced the bill to the legislature. One wonders why Jasperse feels it necessary to “empower bad guys” by stipulating an exemption for the Capitol building and the offices in which he himself works – presumably he trusts his constituents to carry guns in bars, churches, schools, and airports, but just not around him.
In any event, there are two new pieces of gun-related news out of Georgia. First, and tragically, there’s been yet another mass shooting – this time at a FedEx facility in Kennesaw. Details on that are still unfolding, but at least six people have been shot, two critically, and the shooter, who reportedly entered the site dressed “like Rambo” is dead by his own hand. I don’t live in Atlanta any more, but my thoughts are with the victims, and I send my friends in the area my hopes for their safety and peace.
Secondly, and this is the type of thing that doesn’t make national headlines, a man with a pistol strapped to his hip spent some time milling around a parking lot in a Forsyth County public park while a children’s baseball game was going on. Twenty-two people called the cops, who arrived and determined that the armed citizen in question was breaking no laws. “He’s just walking around [saying] ‘See my gun? Look, I got a gun and there’s nothing you can do about it.’ He knew he was frightening people. He knew exactly what he was doing,” said one parent, Karen Rabb. Another parent spoke of trying to put her distraught son to bed that night – the child kept asking, “Mommy did that man want to kill me?”
I’m not sure if this kind of guntrolling is the type of activity Representative Jasperse would like to encourage (although he’s certainly helped make it possible). But reading the response of that concerned mother — “I own a gun. I have no problems with the Second Amendment. But they do not belong in a parking lot where we have children everywhere. If you want to make a statement, go to the Capitol” — and actually agreeing with her (at least in part), I also feel compelled to note that, while you might be able to get away with taking a gun to the steps outside the Capitol, you certainly can’t bring it inside. Because, unlike where your kids are trying to have their little league game, bad guys are still empowered there.