Regardless of where you come down on private citizens carrying firearms in public, and no matter what your views are concerning Georgia’s House Bill 60, the complete failure of logic occurring among the governing authorities of some Georgia counties and municipalities is astounding.
Under current state law, it is illegal to carry a firearm into a “government building”. Here is the definition of a government building from 16-11-127 O.C.G.A.:
(3) “Government building” means:
(A) The building in which a government entity is housed;
(B) The building where a government entity meets in its official capacity; provided, however, that if such building is not a publicly owned building, such building shall be considered a government building for the purposes of this Code section only during the time such government entity is meeting at such building; or
(C) The portion of any building that is not a publicly owned building that is occupied by a government entity.
(4) “Government entity” means an office, agency, authority, department, commission, board, body, division, instrumentality, or institution of the state or any county, municipal corporation, consolidated government, or local board of education within this state.
Currently, the only thing keeping armed criminals from entering many government buildings within the state is words on a piece of paper: a written law. Outside of courthouses, active security screening is not present in the majority of government buildings.
HB60 changes state law as to carry into government buildings. Effective July 1, 2014, it will be legal for the holder of a Georgia Weapons Carry License (GWCL) to carry into government buildings that do not have active security screening. It will still be illegal for those who do not hold a GWCL to enter such buildings.
Now, as to the logic failure, a simple perusal of media outlets indicates that there are numerous city and county governments contemplating installing security equipment and hiring security staff to conduct screening at government buildings that do not currently have such security measures in place.
That’s right, the city and county governments in question who before were not worried about armed criminals entering their buildings thus they took no measures to stop it are now taking active measures to prevent legally armed citizens, citizens who have undergone background checks and obtained licenses no less, from entering.
One more time: no security measures to prevent armed criminals from entering versus security measures to prevent legally armed citizens from entering.
That’s right; people who took no steps to keep out armed criminals are taking steps to keep out people who have actually passed background checks. I just wanted to make sure everybody was clear on that.
But wait, the law said criminals can’t enter government buildings with firearms, and we all know criminals are so good at obeying laws…