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Gubernatorial candidate vows to protect gun rights

POSTED: March 1, 2010 11:55 p.m.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ray McBerry came to what he called “the heart of Nathan Deal territory” Monday calling for a rejection of mainstream conservatism and seeking support from Gainesville’s constitutional conservatives.

McBerry, 42, promised that if he were elected governor, he would immediately shut down the state’s abortion clinics and make sure any federal agents who tried to take firearms away from “law-abiding citizens” in a national disaster zone were arrested.

McBerry, who is from McDonough, also said that agents of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would not be welcome in Georgia if he were the state’s governor. He spoke for about an hour to a group of about 25 at the Masonic Lodge in Gainesville.

“When I become your next governor, I will put Washington on notice that the first time I find any federal agent trying to disarm one law-abiding citizen in my state, that federal agent is going to find himself in a Georgia jail waiting for someone to come bail him out,” McBerry said.

The gubernatorial candidate claims to have the support of members of Georgia’s local “tea party” movement and other constitutionalists.

While the gubernatorial candidate said he could not pretend to know when the federal government would take away U.S. residents’ firearms, McBerry said he believed the day will come.

 “I would much rather, much rather, have a governor who will put himself personally on the line — at the state line if need be — and exhaust every single resource at his disposal as the chief executive of this state to defend our people’s liberties than for me to have to meet the enemy at the front door with my family standing behind me,” he said.

McBerry said he supports local control of schools and changing the state’s voucher system for private schools to a tax credit for parents. The latter, McBerry said, would improve the school systems by creating more competition.

McBerry, the only Republican candidate without political experience, said Georgia did not need another career politician as its governor, and denounced the other Republicans running for governor as “mainstream conservatives.”

He specifically called out Deal, who announced Monday that he will resign from his post in the U.S. House of Representatives to focus on his gubernatorial campaign. Deal, too, is a Republican.

“I’m standing tonight right in the heart of Nathan Deal territory, but I’ll tell you this: we don’t need someone to be our governor who is coming home to run for governor because he’s tired of being in Washington; he’s tired, he’s ready to retire and he’s looking for a place a little bit closer to home to retire to,” McBerry said. “...We do not need a career politician that says that you ought to vote for him because he’s been a congressman in Washington for the last 14, 15 years, and the best quality he has is that he knows how the system works and he knows how to sit down and negotiate a settlement with the folks in Washington.

“Let me tell you, friends, the reason we’re in the situation that we’re in tonight, is because for far too long, we’ve been sitting down at the table with the enemy to negotiate an agreement.”



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