The Newnan Times-Herald


Can we agree on sensible gun safety?

  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • May. 17, 2017 - 6:02 AM

On May 4, Gov. Nathan Deal signed House Bill 280, popularly known as the “campus carry bill,” allowing people with firearms permits to carry concealed guns onto public college and university campuses.

He did this under the guise of providing greater security to students despite having no substantive data supporting his decision.

The basic premise to increase safety of students on campus is honorable, however the actions it could predicate, no matter how well-intentioned, could be catastrophic.

The current structure of the concealed carry permit does not require all those carrying deadly weapons to be proficient in their use. Now those same people without adequate training are being trusted to diagnose deadly situations and act in an uncontrolled environment.

The resistance to this measure however, is a larger topic and one that has long held as a touchstone for conservative individuals, especially here in the South.

Liberals have long been accused of being gun grabbers or aiming to take guns away from gun owners. This was a major criticism and President Obama and Hillary Clinton. This is a false accusation that doesn’t reflect the goals of those looking to enact greater gun safety.

Just as Gov. Deal and state lawmakers aim to increase the safety of students on campuses, the left wants to address the root cause of the perceived danger.

Whether the fear of active shooters on college campuses or Syrian refugees committing acts of terrorism nationally, the unfettered access of guns is an issue that is woefully overlooked, especially the same week that the TSA warned about the risk of vehicle-related terror attacks.

There is sweeping support amongst conservatives to see President Trump’s travel ban go into place to prevent travel from seven Muslim-majority countries as well as refugees from Syria due to national security risks.

But there is either satisfaction or the belief that the current background check and verification system is adequate in its vetting of those buying guns and acquiring concealed carry permits.

To criticize the work of gun safety advocates and Democratic or left-wing politicians and activists and reduce it to simply wanting to ban guns (as I recently saw on my Facebook feed), is ignorant.

Instead, attention and interest should be aimed toward great groups just like Mothers Demand Action for Gun Sense in America or public figures such as Jason Kander.

These are groups and individuals supporting the Second Amendment and people’s right to bear arms. But not an unfettered access for all people in the country.

Instead, we are in search of a sensible solution that allows for responsible and adequately trained and prepared people to own the guns they are keen to. Whether that be for physical protection or for sport.

Like all conversations that are predicated on partisan lines, the likelihood this could ever happen is doubtful due to the widespread characterization of those invested in greater gun safety and more stringent vetting as simply trying to take away people’s guns.

The variety of other concerns and issues that the topic of gun safety touches is remarkable. Whether that be homeland security, personal security, mental health and suicide issues or gang violence.

Is it a thorough solution, the magic wand that would solve the problems of gun violence which plagues this country like no other? No, it is not. However, there is no reason the interest in creating a more thorough vetting process cannot and should not be bipartisan and pressing.

The desire to do this is not simply a left-wing, gun-grabbing conspiracy. It is a desire shared across party lines with Gov. Deal and the attempt to secure the safety of all Georgians and Americans.  

(Matthew Pearce is a communications professional living in Coweta County.)