Friday, January 8, 2010

Correcting Rights

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
In this year's session under the Gold Dome, legislators will consider two bills addressing in what way and to what extent our rights will continue to be infringed. In the Senate we have  Senate Bill 291 and in the House Georgia House Bill 615, both of which simplify the process of obtaining a valid GFL, and clarify some of the (some say intentional) confusion around where concealed (or open) carry applies.

Of the two, the House bill is superior as it:
  • requires licensing by the Secretary of State, not probate courts
  • permits open carry without a license
  • protects requisite private information
  • provides for permanent licensing
  • provides greater clarity on where carry applies
  • provides for temporary surrender at prohibited locations
Those opposed to second amendment rights decry the fact that this expands concealed carry. This "expansion" would include locations, like public sidewalks, where protests might be legally held--remember the Scientology protests on Shallowford just a few months ago? It would also cover access to businesses prohibited from arbitrarily denying service to customers based on almost any other "consideration". This "expansion" would almost put second amendment rights on par with these first amendment  and civil rights (indirectly based interpretations of the Constitution's Commerce Clause).


It still requires fees that would be considered a "poll tax" were this about voting rights. It also requires background searches, fingerprinting and data retention, by the government, of private information that would have civil libertarians screaming were it applied to something even as clearly a privilege as driving a car. But "almost" is better than what we have now.

While this bill will not put Georgia in the company of Constitution-respecting states like New Hampshire it is a step towards restoring our second amendment rights and deserves the support of all Georgians who believe in our country and support its constitution.

Let your legislators know where you stand.