If lawmakers like guns so much, why can’t we take them to the Capitol?


Creative Loafing reports state Sen. Vincent Fort will propose a ban on assault* weapons when lawmakers return to the Gold Dome in January. Fort says his proposal is a response to last Friday’s mass murder at a Connecticut elementary school.

I’m neither Nostradamus nor Mayan calendar salesman, but I feel comfortable predicting Fort’s gun proposal will go nowhere in Georgia’s legislature. State lawmakers have been enthusiastic participants in the “more legal guns in more places” legislative trend that has swept the nation over the past decade. Our current batch of lawmakers seems more likely to increase the number of places it’s okay for Georgians to carry guns this year than to restrict them.

Georgia lawmakers have loosened state gun laws in part, they say, because of their belief that guns make people safer. But do they really believe that? The evidence says no. What evidence? While state lawmakers have recently removed restrictions banning guns on public transportation, in places serving alcohol and at public gatherings, they’ve declined to remove the long-standing ban on guns in government buildings like the state Capitol.

Instead of proposing legislation that isn’t going to pass and probably won’t get any more attention than it already has, Sen. Fort and like-minded lawmakers might want to consider another approach. I suggest Fort (or someone) propose the removing the ban on guns in government buildings. Call it the Georgia Goose Gander Alignment Act of 2013.

If you’re a legislator who sincerely believes the presence of guns makes everything better, you’ll vote yes. And when the bill fails (and it will because state lawmakers really don’t want people bringing guns to the Capitol) it could reset the terms of the gun law debate here. “Senator, you say private citizens with guns will make my workplace safer, yet you refuse to allow them in your workplace. Please explain.”

For what’s it’s worth (not much, I’m guessing), I’m a longtime gun-owner with a permit to carry in Georgia. I don’t oppose gun ownership. I oppose hypocritical lawmakers who keep selling out the public’s best interests to powerful corporations.

(*I’m using an asterisk here because “assault weapon” is a term of political art with  no solid definition.)