FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Packing Heat in Georgia

by

There was a little man and he had a little gun . . . .

– Opening line of a nursery rhyme

The question a number of you have asked is whether the events in Cumming, Georgia that took place on June 6 would have been any different after July 1, 2014.  That is the date that the “Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014” goes into effect.  Not all my readers have read of that act and a brief word of explanation is in order.

Georgia legislators believe that the reason we have so many gun inspired deaths in this country is because our citizens are not adequately armed. Legislators can point to random shootings occurring on a daily basis in which innocent people have been killed in recent months,  many of them in schools.  The shootings range from those in which many are shot before the shooter kills himself or is caught and those in which only one or two people are killed.  What is obvious to the legislators is that many of these deaths could have been avoided if more citizens were permitted to carry arms and could respond to the violence by shooting the shooter before the shooter shoots himself.  That explains  why during 2014, the Georgia legislature passed, and the governor signed, the “Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014”.  The purpose of that act is to make Georgia a safer place.  The way that is accomplished is by increasing the places into which people with concealed carry permits can carry guns.

The act permits concealed carry in all sorts of buildings and institutions.  For example, a person who “has been authorized in writing by a duly authorized official” may carry a concealed weapon in the school safety zone of all educational institutions in Georgia.    (The “school safety zone” refers to a building owned or leased by the educational organizations described in the act.)  Patrons of bars may find themselves seated next to a drunk with a gun at the ready should violence erupt, unless the bar owner specifically bans individuals with concealed weapons.  Those in charge of churches may now permit weapons to accompany parishioners to all church functions. People entering government buildings do not have to worry about whether or not they’ve forgotten to leave their concealed weapon at home.  The act provides that license holders “shall be authorized to carry a weapon in a government building. . . when [it is] open for business. . .and where ingress is not restricted or screened by security personnel.”  If the building “is restricted or screened by security personnel” one of whom is certified as a peace officer, concealed carry is not permitted and a person entering the building with a weapon is guilty of a misdemeanor. All of that brings us to the question posed at the outset. That was whether what happened on June 6 would have happened after July 1.

The event that happened on June 6 was the attempt by Dennis Marx to enter the Courthouse in Cumming, Georgia.  Wearing body armor and a gas mask, brandishing an assault rifle, and using his car as a battering ram, he drove up to the courthouse, attempted to run over a deputy who tried to block him and threw out “homemade spike strips” to block other vehicles from following him. In his car he had gas grenades, smoke grenades and pepper spray grenades and assorted other paraphernalia.  Mr. Marx was engaged in a lawful pursuit in attempting to enter the courthouse.  He was facing 11 felony charges, 10 of which pertained to the manufacture and sale of illegal drugs and was going to court to enter a plea to the charges he was facing.  His preferred  method of entering was, of course, unlawful.  The question of whether his behavior might have had different consequences after July 1 is answered in the negative. The Safe Carry Protection Act does not permit people with assorted hand grenades to enter courthouses using vehicles as battering rams.  And even if Mr. Marx had not had in his possession all the weaponry  that he hoped would go into the courthouse with him (except for a concealed gun),  he would have been unable to enter the courthouse.  That is because even under the  liberal provisions of the “Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014”, concealed carry is not permitted in courthouses.

When Governor Eaton signed the “Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014” at a picnic ground in Ellijay, Georgia, he said:  “This law gives added protections to those who have played by the rules-and who can protect themselves and others from those who don’t play by the rules.”  Perhaps the governor or the legislators can explain why the legislature decided that the Act and what the governor described as its “added protections” would not apply to buildings with security screening.  Buildings excluded from the Act include the buildings in which legislators meet. Could it be that all their posturing notwithstanding, the governor and the legislators think they are safer if they are in an environment where no one has guns and, therefore, they have no need for the “added protection” afforded by the Act?  We’ll never know.

Christopher Brauchli can be emailed at brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 23, 2017
Dave Brotherton
Trump, Moral Panics and Resistance
Jonathan Cook
One State: Trump Has Reminded Palestinians What It Was Always About
Bill Quigley
Ten Examples of Direct Resistance to Stop Government Raids
Linn Washington Jr.
Bigot Boy Business: Trump Exposes His Ignorance and Intolerance, Again
John W. Whitehead
The Illusion of Freedom: the Police State Is Alive and Well
Ralph Nader
Restricting People’s Use of Their Courts
David Macaray
Women As Labor Union Organizers
Kathy Kelly
Friendship in Defiance of War
Doug Weir
Why Did the US Use Depleted Uranium Weapons in Syria?
Steve Horn
Former GOP Congressional Staffer Follows Revolving Door, Now Latest Keystone XL Lobbyist
Binoy Kampmark
From Rights to Repentance: Norma McCorvey and Roe v Wade
Thomas Knapp
The Target of the “Border Adjustment Tax” is You
Chris Zinda
Open Letter to Neoliberal Environmentalists
February 22, 2017
Mike Whitney
Liberals Beware: Lie Down With Dogs, Get Up With Fleas
John Grant
On Killers and Bullshitters*
Peter Linebaugh
Catherine Despard, Abolitionist
Patrick Cockburn
The Bitter Battle for Mosul
Ted Rall
Sue the Bastards? It’s Harder Than You Think
Yoav Litvin
The Emergence of the Just Jew
Kim Scipes
Strategic Thinking and Organizing Resistance
Norman Pollack
Mar-a-Lago, Ideological Refuge: Berchtesgaden, II
Fred Donner
Nixon and the Chennault Affair: From Vietnam to Watergate
Carl Kandutsch
Podesta vs. Trump
Ike Nahem
To the Memory of Malcolm X: Fifty Years After His Assassination
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s Tough Talk Won’t Fix Chicago
Paul Donnelly
Betsy DeVos and the War on Public Education
Ebony Slaughter-Johnson
The End of an Alliance for Police Reform
Richard Lawless
Wall Street Demanded the Nuclear Option and the Congress Delivered
Liaquat Ali Khan
Yes, Real Donald Trump is a Muslim!
Ryan LaMothe
“Fire” and Free Speech
CounterPunch News Service
Bloody Buffalo Billboards
February 21, 2017
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Finance as Warfare: the IMF Lent to Greece Knowing It Could Never Pay Back Debt
CJ Hopkins
Goose-stepping Our Way Toward Pink Revolution
John Wight
Firestarter: the Unwelcome Return of Tony Blair
Roger Harris
Lenin Wins: Pink Tide Surges in Ecuador…For Now
Shepherd Bliss
Japanese American Internment Remembered, as Trump Rounds Up Immigrants
Boris Kagarlitsky
Trump and the Contradictions of Capitalism
Robert Fisk
The Perils of Trump Addiction
Deepak Tripathi
Theresa May: Walking the Kingdom Down a Dark Alley
Sarah Anderson
To Save Main Street, Tax Wall Street
Howard Lisnoff
Those Who Plan and Enjoy Murder
Franklin Lamb
The Life and Death Struggle of the Children of Syria
Binoy Kampmark
A Tale of Two Realities: Trump and Israel
Kim C. Domenico
Body and Soul: Becoming Men & Women in a Post-Gender Age
Mel Gurtov
Trump, Europe, and Chaos
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail