State Senator Marty Harbin and guns

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“It makes no sense to me, to throw out appropriate and lawful concealed-carry laws … We will never end the scourge of gun violence by allowing more people to carry more firearms in more places.” —  Gerald E. Harmon, MD, President of the AMA

The “Georgia Constitutional Carry Act of 2021” (SB 319) is being sponsored by Senator Marty Harbin of Tyrone. Designed to eliminate the license now required to carry a gun in public, it was recently passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee and now goes to the Senate Rules Committee. The real question is — “with all the gun violence out there now, why are we passing a law to make carrying guns easier”?

Dr. Harmon, head of the AMA, and I are both gun owners. And, the American Medical Association has never been known to be a left-wing rabble-rousing socialist organization. However, as Dr. Harmon stated a few months ago (https://www.ama-assn.org/about/leadership/commonsense-gun-laws-can-help-end-firearm-violence ), you can support the Second Amendment without making it more likely that gun violence will occur. Per Harmon, the AMA supports “expanded background checks for handgun purchases, waiting periods for firearms, and tighter enforcement of state and federal gun-safety laws.” And the facts support the AMA’s position.

So why is Georgia going in the opposite direction? The answer is tribalistic right wing politics, exacerbating the pre-existing problems that it supposedly is going to ameliorate. Governor Kemp is a life-long conservative who is afraid of losing his job in 2024. So, he has been pushing this gun bill to gain conservative support.

Why is he afraid of being voted out? Because he is being hounded by former President Donald Trump for not somehow overturning what the courts have found to be Georgia’s free, fair and honest 2020 Presidential election. Opportunistic former Senator Perdue has thrown his hat in the ring, repeating the unfounded Trump “big lie” that the election was somehow stolen.

Of course, Perdue knows that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, another conservative Republican, supervised Georgia’s election. And there would be absolutely no reason for Raffensperger, a Trump supporter in 2020, to give the election to Biden. But Perdue ignores that obvious but inconvenient fact, as does Trump.

Let’s be clear, having more guns doesn’t make you safer. Neither does carrying them around. On the national level, the majority of Americans agree. Only 9% of Americans want gun controls loosened, whereas 57% want them increased. And 61% are concerned about the availability of firearms (https://news.gallup.com/poll/1645/guns.aspx).

And, the prevalence of guns means more gun deaths, not less. The 5 most “gun-friendly” states are Arizona; Idaho; Alaska; Kansas; and Oklahoma (https://www.gunsandammo.com/editorial/best-states-for-gun-owners/369075 ). Their per capita rates of gun deaths per 100K is: Az-15.1; Id-14.2; Al-24.4; Kn-13.7; and Ok-18.6 (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/sosmap/firearm_mortality/firearm.htm ). All of these states have a firearm mortality rate which is higher than the national average, 11.9.

Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, Rhode Island are the states with the lowest mortality rates. Four out of these five states have the toughest gun laws in the nation.

Georgia gun rights advocates like Senator Harbin state that the only thing that will stop a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun. I say you’re right and we agree. So why won’t you help us to prevent the bad guys from buying guns and get them disarmed? Instead of making it even easier for them to bring the guns into public areas. Leave carrying guns in public to the good men in law enforcement.

Jack Bernard

Peachtree City, Ga.

[Bernard is a current member of the Fayette County Board of Health and a former member of the Peachtree City Planning Commission.]

9 COMMENTS

  1. Poor Jack. No credibility at all. The AMA is radical left, and with the exception of the mentally deranged folks that fool people on occasion so they can legally purchase a gun, criminals and those that do the vast majority of the senseless killing do not buy guns from legal outlets. They buy them from other predators and thieves, or steal the guns themselves. For goodness sakes, please stop telling us “up is down and down is up”.

  2. I couldn’t as for a better representative in our state Senate!

    Be informed. Most at the capital are are there for power and profit. Very few understand their role as a servant of the people. Mr. Harbin does. You may not like this aspect but look at the whole record. He is one of the best.

  3. The pithy quote is relevant to Mr. Bernard’s argument, “Insisting on your rights without acknowledging your responsibilities is not freedom, it’s adolescence.”

    We have a whole lot of teenagers in our legislature.