Earlier this year, the state of Georgia became a constitutional carry state. It means I, a lifelong Georgian, no longer have to have a permit to carry my firearm outside of my house.
It was a huge step forward as a state, to be sure.
Now, Georgia Public Broadcasting is airing a show that will pit both sides of the gun debate against one another. In the process, they’re giving the Second Amendment side an opportunity to defend the state’s gun laws.
The new show on GPB-TV, Lawmakers: Beyond the Dome, takes viewers to a gun rights group’s meeting as part of the program’s exploration of Georgia’s new law which allows carrying concealed handguns in public without a license.
Douglas Jefferson equates Georgia’s previous gun laws, on the books for centuries, to restrictions on Black people regarding voting under Jim Crow laws.
“Itlooks very much like a poll tax,” Jefferson said. “You have to pay money to the government to get the permission to do something that is already written into the Constitution that says you as a citizen should be able to do.”
Jefferson’s not alone. He belongs to the fast-growing National African American Gun Association (NAAGA), founded in Georgia in 2015, that now has more than 45,000 members in 40 states.
Advocates of the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right to bear arms, including NAAGA members, praise the law they call “constitutional carry” because it removes the $75 fee Georgians paid to get a gun permit.
“This wasn’t really a sea change,” said John Monroe, Vice President and General Counsel for GA2A, formerly GeorgiaCarry.org. “Now that the law has passed, law-abiding citizens can carry without a license, and criminals still can’t carry without a license because they’re prohibited under the new law as well.”
Of course, there’s another side to the debate, including people who claim to be gun owners but just can’t imagine the need for a gun outside of the home.
I suspect some of the survivors of the Greenwood Park Mall shooting are going to find that claim less than believable.
Still, the defense of the state’s constitutional carry law is vital. After all, polling suggests that it’s not particularly popular, which I found surprising. If that’s true, Second Amendment advocates need to step up and defend the law, making a variety of valid arguments as to why this is a good thing for people here in the state.
In other words, we have to play defense in order to play offense.
However, it should be noted that GPB’s write-up here is clearly anti-gun. After all, when a Second Amendment supporter argues that mass shootings tend to happen in gun-free zones, the final paragraph is one of the opponents pointing out that the shooting in Atlanta last year wasn’t in such a gun-free zone.
Missing is any counter to that “argument,” nor the fact that this same person seems to think there’s no good reason to carry a gun outside of the home–yet that very same shooting would have been different had a law-abiding citizen been there with their own firearm and could have saved lives.
Yet that’s about what we should expect from so-called public television.
Regardless, it’s good to see the pro-gun side get an opportunity to defend a much-needed law like constitutional carry.