Gun license is not license to commit a crime
Georgia’s Common Sense Lawful Carry Act protects lawfully carrying citizens from unknowingly becoming criminals by clarifying where they can and cannot carry their weapons. They know all too well that a license to carry is not a license to commit a crime. Restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens does not protect the public from random acts of violence. The Lawful Carry Act works to preserve these rights not restrict them.
Recent federal gun restriction proposals by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) would only trap law-abiding citizens into becoming criminals. Neither gentleman has thought through the implications of their proposals nor do they have the power to encroach on Georgia’s right to work for its citizens. We have a representative government in the United States; a government that is elected by the people to work for the people. Many federal officials in Washington have forgotten this and the recent federal proposals against the Lawful Carry Act are the perfect example.
In this post 9-11 era, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is in charge of security of travel on airplanes. TSA set up the security checkpoints, taking responsibility for security from that point on and leaving the other areas of the airport (non-sterile) up to each state to decide their own restrictions.
TSA Administrator Kip Hawley was noted as saying that the TSA does not regulate weapons in the non-sterile areas, that weapons regulation in those areas is up to the states, that many states allow weapons in those areas, and that that is not a concern of TSA. Six states other than GA ban carry in large public airports. Three more states ban concealed carry but not open carry. The remaining 40 states do not make it a crime for lawful carry in the non-sterile areas of the airport. There have been no reported incidents of lawfully carrying citizens committing crimes in airports.
The attacks on the U.S. were traitorous, but let’s remember that Georgia’s proposed legislation is talking about lawfully carrying gun owners. I can’t remember the last time a criminal, terrorist or somebody willing to commit a crime checked the law books before they did it. Their focus is on causing fear, mass destruction and violence regardless of the law. They don’t look for other people’s weapons. They have their own. Our goal in the Georgia legislature is to remove the “gotcha” situation in our carrying laws so that our lawfully carrying citizens don’t unknowingly commit a crime.
For example, it is currently legal to check in any type of firearm as luggage. Avid hunters who travel to other states do this every day. In addition, other states recognize Georgia’s carry permits so that lawfully carrying citizens can continue to exercise their constitutional right to carry a firearm. So, how do you get from your car to the check-in counter at the airport without breaking the law?
Many lawfully carrying citizens have their weapon in their vehicles every day. If they get a last minute call to pick somebody up from the airport, they may not have time to run home and leave their firearm there. They will then unknowingly break the law by simply picking up a loved one from the airport.
What about travelers who return late at night and walk across the dark parking lots? They have the right to protect themselves and don’t need to unknowingly break the law.
How much more federal encroachment do we need? First they want to dictate healthcare and now citizens’ rights to lawfully carry a firearm. The next thing we’ll hear is that the federal government doesn’t want lawfully carrying citizens to have guns in their cars on federal highways.
Johnson and Lautenburg have clearly not thought through their proposals. If the federal government expands the federally secured area to the entire airports, security check points will have to move to the outer doors costing states, businesses and the federal government tons of money. Check-in counters will have to move to the outside of airports. Numerous traffic problems and pedestrians unsafely standing in lines outside the airport will result from movement of security check points. Washington cannot continue to push federal regulations on the states and taxpayers that cost more money.
Also consider for a moment Johnson’s home county of DeKalb with pretty high crime rates. Is it common sense to restrict the rights lawfully carrying citizens to protect themselves and leave them vulnerable to criminal attacks? Johnson may want to focus on working with his local officials to reduce crime rather than make criminals out of lawfully carrying citizens in airports.
Johnson and Lautenburg’s proposals take aim at the wrong people. Their suggestions will only make law-abiding citizens criminals. They will not fight crime and terrorism. Government should work for the people to protect their freedoms and constitutionally given rights.
This is just another example of the federal government attempting to flex its muscles that will cost law-abiding citizens their freedoms and taxpayers more money.
Washington should abide by its own rules and leave the regulation of non-sterile areas of the airports to the states. Georgia’s Common Sense Lawful Carry Act is exactly the common sense legislation needed to protect individual freedoms without compromising public safety.
[Sen. Mitch Seabaugh represents the 28th Senate District which includes Coweta and Heard counties and portions of Carroll and Troup counties. His phone is 404-656-6446; his email is email@example.com.]