Georgia Democrat unveils anti-Constitutional Carry bill

Or, to put it another way, State Senator Sally Harrell wants to make it a criminal offense to exercise your right to own a gun unless you’ve taken a state-mandated firearms course.

Harrell, a Democrat who represents a good chunk of the city of Atlanta, has laid out her awful idea in a new bill that promises up to twelve months in jail and a $1,000 fine for anyone caught in possession of a firearm without proof that they’ve completed the gun safety class.

Under Harrell’s proposal, all Georgia gun owners (and those hoping to purchase a firearm) would have to take a state-approved class that goes over state and federal gun laws, nonviolent conflict resolution, and “one to two hours of instruction in shooting proficiency at a firearm range.”

Harrell says she’s offered her bill as a contrast to Constitutional Carry, which has a very good chance of becoming law in Georgia this year.

“Some members of the General Assembly want to put more guns on our streets by removing permit requirements. I’m more interested in keeping citizens safe from gun violence and accidents,” Sen. Sally Harrell said in a press release. “We would never allow anyone with a car to drive it in public without proper instruction. If we’re going to have more guns everywhere, gun owners should be trained on how to use and store them safely.”

Harrell’s legislation goes further than merely educating gun owners on storage options. Her bill requires that gun owners keep their firearms locked up at all times unless it is carried “on his or her person or within such close proximity thereto that the person can readily retrieve and use the firearm.” A violation of that section of the law could also result in misdemeanor charges and the potential for jail time and fines.

The good news is that with Republicans firmly in control of the state legislature, Harrell’s bill has virtually no chance of being enacted into law. Still, the idea of requiring a gun training course before being able to lawfully exercise your Second Amendment rights appears to be growing in popularity among the anti-gun left. In Delaware, Democrats are close to giving final approval to a nearly identical bill, first introduced last year, that also requires prospective gun owners to provide proof of training in order to receive a “permit to purchase” a handgun.

With 21 states now recognizing the right to bear arms without the need for a government-issued permission slip, and the Supreme Court hopefully poised to strike down New York’s arbitrary and capriciously subjective “may issue” carry licensing laws later this year, the response from a growing number of anti-gun Democrats appears to be adopting a strategy of imposing draconian requirements in order to keep a gun in your home.

In doing so, politicians like Harrell are simply reminding us of the contempt that they have for our individual rights; not just the right to keep and bear arms but all those that they find inconvenient or intrusive to their attempts to exert power and control over the we the people. Contrary to Harrell’s claims, her bill isn’t about ensuring safe and responsible gun ownership. Those most likely to misuse firearms are the least likely to have legally purchased them, and the individuals responsible for the vast majority of violent crime in the state aren’t going to be dissuaded by or give a damn about a potential misdemeanor charge if they’re caught possessing a gun without proof of training.

I would add, however, that a lot of legal gun owners aren’t going to comply with a law that treats their right to own a gun like a privilege to be granted only to those who pass a test and meet with the state’s approval. That’s not how rights work, and if Harrell’s idea ever comes to fruition in Georgia or any other state not only will it be subjected to an immediate legal challenge, but I’ll predict it will be met with widespread civil disobedience.

I’m all in favor of firearms training (and not just for new gun owners) but mandating training and imposing criminal penalties on gun owners who don’t take a basic firearms course flies in the face of the Constitution and common sense. But as the right to carry revolution continues to gain ground across the country, don’t be surprised if more anti-gun politicians, particularly in blue states, try to fight back by criminalizing the right to keep arms without pre-approval by the government.