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Guns are not the answer - Chester Cook

Why does anyone need a gun on a plane? Why does anyone need a gun in school? Why does anyone need a gun in church? Does anyone need a gun at Disney World? Why does anyone need a gun in an airport?

When the U.S. Constitution was ratified, America was just coming out of the Revolutionary War. The country was still reeling from battle fatigue. Most of the citizens had a gun for protection. And most Americans had a rifle for hunting animals for food and meat.

Today, we have police departments, an army, the national guard, and grocery stores. The need for guns has diminished to recreational hunting and home defense, and even these are not mandatory. You can hunt with a camera, and security monitor your home. Still, some obsessed gun enthusiasts claim they need a gun to feel safe.

Most people who know me, know that I am very conservative and almost Libertarian when it comes to government intrusion into the personal lives of individuals.

I believe that our individual rights are constitutionally protected. And I believe that people should have the right to own a gun if they so desire, and keep a gun in their home if they are responsible and have it registered.

I do believe the guns should be registered and renewed annually to keep guns from being sold, stolen and lost. I also believe that citizens should go through random metal detectors (like traffic checks) to get unregistered guns out of the hands of criminals.

Gun legislation is in the news this week. House Bill 89 was passed allowing concealed carry permit holders to carry guns into restaurants, State Parks, recreational areas, wildlife management areas, public transportation and in any private motor vehicle, while on any publicly accessible parking lot. But NOT in the Atlanta Airport.

At issue is the safety and security of people at the airport. Since 9/11, Hartsfield-Jackson airport has added hundreds of Homeland Security Agents, Atlanta Police Officers, FBI and DOA personnel. The Atlanta Airport is under a Code Orange security threat level.

The Atlanta Airport is one of the safest places in the country. It has been a gun-free zone for years, and it remains a gun-free public facility. Allowing individuals to bring guns into this airport is insane. Any person arguing or citing fear of personal harm is not dealing with reality.

As our society becomes more civilized, the need for guns, as a means of protection, is becoming obsolete. Over the last decade, workplace homicide rates have been cut in half. Violent crime, especially homicide, has generally declined for more than 30 years, and workplace violent crime has decreased even faster.

Most gun-related, violent crimes in workplaces are committed by non-employees.

I look forward to the day when the "swords (guns) are all turned into plows." This is a time when people feel safe and the society is not bent on violence. It is a day when we have expanded the gun-free zone into the city, suburbs, and nation. This is the day of peace on earth.

This day will come sooner if we will leave antediluvian beliefs, and pursue positive progress.

If you have any comments on this column, or any other subject, please contact me at chaplain@airportchapel.org.

Dr. Chester R.Cook