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I was heartened by the lead story in The Times on Jan. 1 pertaining to proposals to change gun laws in Georgia. I believe it is a long time in coming.
Gov. Perdue and the legislature have made progress in that direction, as the article states, but there is still a long way to go before our Second Amendment rights are fully protected and guaranteed. To that end, a number of gun-related proposals could be on the docket during this year’s legislative session; I wholeheartedly concur with their passage.
There are still many who argue that tinkering with gun laws could lead to more violence. These folks would be well advised to read the FBI’s preliminary crime report showing that the number of murders in the first half of 2009 decreased 10 percent compared to the first half of 2008.
Or, to put it another way, the FBI reports a huge decrease in murders as firearms, ammunition, and "large" magazines sales soar. In other words, individuals are taking responsibility for their own safety, given the budget cuts that affect the number of law enforcement officers available at any one time. Several mass shootings could and should have been prevented if, for example, students and professors in the Virginia Tech case had been trained and armed, and that fact made known to all who entered the campus.
The same is true for our schools, which have been designated as "Gun Free Zones." If someone is determined to hurt or kill someone, what better place than a "Gun Free Zone," or "Killing Zone," as I call them, to wreak their mayhem, because they know they will not be challenged. Suppose it was known that there were staff and faculty members who were armed and available to respond immediately to any shooting incident?
I’m not advocating vigilantism, nor discounting our outstanding city police and county sheriff departments. I’m simply recognizing that immediate action is required to stop most shooting incidents, and that law enforcement personnel can’t be everywhere all the time. Replace those signs with ones reading that force will be met by force and you’ll see school shootings go away.
Restricting the sale of weaponry to law-abiding citizens is not the answer, either. As Gainesville Police Chief Jane Nichols says, "Legislation only dictates the actions of law-abiding citizens. Bad guys who have guns probably aren’t allowed to have them under any circumstances anyway."
I welcome any proposed changes that make it easier for the average citizen to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
A.R. "Mac" McCahan