2018-05-16 / Editorial

NO GUNS ALLOWED

Michael N. Searles

In a country where some believe guns should be everywhere, it is interesting to cite the places where guns are not allowed. The following public facilities fall into the “No Gun” category: Federal courtrooms, judges’ chambers, witness rooms, jury deliberation rooms, attorney conference rooms, prisoner holding cells, offices of the court clerks, the United States attorney and United States marshal offices, probation and parole offices, and adjoining corridors of any court of the United States; United

States post offices with the exception of post office parking lots; Federal prisons for all persons not specifically authorized to carry weapons, including adjacent parking lots; ranger stations and visitor centers in any national forest or wilderness area; National cemeteries on the grounds or adjacent parking areas; Commercial aircraft, including carry-on luggage and only unloaded firearms in a locked, hard-sided container as checked baggage.

While a number of states have less restrictive gun laws, those states tend to be rural, western, or have smaller populations. The ten less restrictive states include: Louisiana, Arizona, Mississippi, Kentucky, Wyoming, Missouri, Alaska, South Dakota, Vermont, and Kansas. In Georgia, the judge of the probate court of each county shall, on application under oath, on payment of a fee of $30.00, and on investigation of applicant pursuant to subsections (b) and (d) of this Code section, issue a weapons carry license or renewal license valid for a period of five years to any person whose domicile is in that county. The process is a simple one where most applicants walk through the process as easy as purchasing a movie ticket. Georgia is not in the top ten states, but the passage of the Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014 has prompted opponents to nickname the Act the “guns everywhere bill.” The description is not quite accurate since there are groups in Georgia attempting to decriminalize primary and secondary school carry for licensed carriers, decriminalize private colleges carry to allow them to make their own decisions on carry and decriminalize church carry. A number of states give businesses an opt-out statute which allows them to post and enforce their own policy of no guns on their premises. Opt-out statutes permit the business owner to take actions such as posting signs or issuing oral warnings to patrons who may be carrying concealed guns into their business. Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin all allow private businesses to post a specific sign (language and format vary by state) prohibiting concealed carry, a violation of which, in some of these states, is grounds for revocation of the offender's concealed carry permit and criminal prosecution. Georgia is not one of these states. While some establishments do not strictly prohibit concealed weapons, the following stores discourage customers from carrying guns into their premises: Whataburger, Chipotle, Panera Bread, Sonic, Chili’s, Starbucks and Target.

While there are places where a no-gun policy would be either expected or not surprising, the National Rifle Association annual convention is not one of them. President Trump and Vice President Pence both spoke at the Dallas 2018 meeting, but during their appearance, no guns were allowed. The Secret Service bars firearms in places visited by those they protect. It seems very interesting that at a place with as many as 70,000 “Good Guys with Guns” you would even need Secret Service protection at all. While government officials can keep weapons out of their work space, the rest of us are on our own. It is evident that certain lives are deemed safer when there are No Guns Allowed.

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