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Should church become the OK corral?

Curt Yeomans

Curt Yeomans

It’s been said that everyone has their own reason for doing whatever they do.

No two people are alike and although they may take the same action, their thinking and reasoning for taking that action may be as different as night and day.

That is what residents got to see this week during a debate on the safe carry gun bill in the state House of Representatives this week. It passed in the House and is now on its way to the Senate for consideration.

This is the bill that would make it possible for people to take guns into churches and bars. Areas of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport that are not behind security checkpoints — such as baggage claim, ticket counters and the atrium — would also be areas where anyone could carry a gun.

It would also make it possible for school districts to arm teachers in case of an attack.

Supporters of the legislation could be categorized into two camps based on the comments they made from the House Well to convince their colleagues to pass the bill.

One group of representatives argued that the Second Amendment guarantees their right to carry guns into any place they choose. The other group argued that by arming “Good Georgians” with guns, the “Bad Georgians” would be less likely to go into churches, bars and the like and shoot the places up.

OK legislators, which is the reason this bill should become law? Is it Second Amendment rights, or scaring off criminals? The whole thing becomes a bit muddled. Of course, there are so many holes in the supporters arguments it’s not really funny.

Let’s start with the Second Amendment argument. Listen, I double-minored in history and American Government in college. This is not the 18th century anymore. That amendment was born out of memories of a time when the British army would just walk in a colonist’s front door and take what they wanted — including the guns. And the then-new American government hadn’t exactly earned the trust of the people yet either.

This was at a time when people still largely lived off the land and needed to be able to hunt to put meat on their tables. For the most part, people don’t live like that anymore. To varying degrees, everyone lives off Publix, Kroger, Whole Foods and Trader Joes.

The founding fathers also lived in a world where men settled their disputes with each other via duels using pistols at dawn. Are legislators suggesting we bring that back? I suspect some of them would no longer be in the land of the living if we still had such duels.

You can’t pull the “What our founding fathers intended” card when the founding fathers intended for the Constitution to be vague enough that future generations could always adapt and interpret the document to fit the times in which they lived. It was never meant to always be interpreted from a 1787-91 mindset.

Even the opponents of the legislation said they believed people should maintain their Second Amendments right to bear arms. However, does that mean we should all take our guns into sacred places of worship and peace? Should we mix alcohol and guns?

The answer is no. Common sense dictates there should be limits to everything. Not being allowed to carry guns into a church does not prevent someone from going hunting later in the day.

If you open the doors for “Good Georgians” to openly carry guns into a church, the “Bad Georgians” are going to feel it’s OK to do so as well. Will these “Bad Georgians” care that someone who is “good” has a gun with them in that church? Let’s ask the criminals who shoot at armed police officers if they feel that way.

People who are inclined to do bad things are going to do them regardless of what obstacles are put in their way. Instead of a deterrent, this legislation would turn churches, bars, schools and airports into a bunch of OK Corrals.

Let’s take religion as an example. It’s an intensely personal issue. History is littered with people who have gone to war over religious beliefs. The ancient biblical battles. The Crusades. The expulsion of the Moors from the Iberian Peninsula. The attempted Spanish invasion of England during the reign of Elizabeth I.

Even today, we continue to see religious differences cause strife around the world.

Within individual churches, you see tempers flare over the way affairs are being run. This is what guns will be introduced into.

Hartsfield-Jackson is another example. It already has Atlanta police patrolling it. The airport doesn’t need Joe Schmoes bringing their own guns to make it safe.

One of the best points against this bill was made by influential Republican Rep. Chuck Sims (R-Ambrose). He said mixing alcohol and guns would be dangerous and he’s right. If someone is under the influence of alcohol, their judgment is impaired. We’ve all seen otherwise good people turn into absolute jerks when they are drunk.

Putting guns in their hands would be a disaster.

Curt Yeomans is the senior reporter for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at 770-478-5753, ext. 224, via Email at cyeomans@news-daily.com or on Twitter at @CYeomansCND.