Decatur Church Hosts Panel on Gun Reform
(APN) DECATUR — On Saturday, August 29, 3015, Gunsense Georgia hosted a panel discussion at Columbia Presbyterian Church in Decatur, attended by dozens of organizations concerned about gun violence and the ultra-permissive gun laws in Georgia.
The panelists included students, Georgia legislators, victims of gun violence, University professors, a constitutional law expert, and others.
A Georgia poll on guns conducted in 2014 found that 91 percent of Georgians support background checks before obtaining a gun. Eighty percent of Georgians said they support training requirements for gun permits.
Gun violence in the U.S. claims approximately 88 lives every day, according to data compiled by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“If ISIS killed 88 people a day, we would have a state of emergency in this country,” State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) said.
Forty percent of all legal gun sales involves private sellers and don’t require background checks. Sixty two percent of online gun sellers were willing to sell to buyers who said they couldn’t pass a background check.
“In one community [in Atlanta] a guy sells guns out of the trunk of his car on a regular basis,” activist Marshall Rancifer said.
The U.S. South provides most of the illegal weapons that flow into other states because of weak gun laws. The Iron Pipeline–as the illegal gun trade is called–runs up I-95 from southern states to northern states.
Georgia is consistently, year after year, the number one state for the illegal gun trafficking.
In 2011, Georgia had the third highest rate of robberies with a firearm in the nation.
The Georgia gun murder rate is 27 percent above the national average. In 2010, there was a gun murder every 20 hours in Georgia. Between 2001 and 2010, there were 11,591 people killed by guns in Georgia.
These statistics were from before HB 60 became law in Georgia, and come from a 2013 report from the Center for Progress.
The U.S. guns per 100 citizens is 88.8 and gun deaths per 100 citizens is 10.2.
People who carry guns in public, including AK 47’s, say they are exercising their Second Amendment rights.
“What exactly the Second Amendment rights entrails is still being developed in the courts. What the Supreme Court [of the U.S.] has said is that you have a Second Amendment right to have a gun in your home for the purpose of self defense,” Peter Canfield, a constitutional lawyer, told APN.
“It still an open question if you have a Second Amendment right to carry a gun outside the home for self defense. It is a gray area,” Canfield said.
Georgia Legislators recently passed HB 60, which allows people to walk around with guns almost everywhere in Georgia, often intimidating and scaring other people.
“When I see someone in a public place and they are carrying a visible weapon, I get very nervous because I don’t know why they are carrying it. They could just as easily be a terrorist as a person professing their Second Amendment rights. I have a right to not feel intimidated or threatened,” Jeff Kazanow, who attended the summit, told APN.
Gunsense Georgia and other groups do not want to take away all guns from all people, but say they want common sense gun policies that assure public safety and reduce gun violence in Georgia.
“We know the gun laws passed in Georgia are crazy. We are not anti-gun, we are pro-gun safety,” Jay Bookman, a columnist with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper, said.
Two new gun bill will be introduced this fall by State Rep. Heath Clark (R-Warner Robins): HB 544, Campus Carry; and HB 543, Permitless Carry.
HB 544 would allow anyone with a concealed gun permit to bring loaded, concealed guns on to all public college and private university campuses.
HB 543 would eliminate the legal requirement of obtaining a permit to carry a concealed, loaded gun.
“These radical gun bills are orchestrated across the county by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC),” State Sen. Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta) said.