Right To Bear Arms July 2005
Gun laws we don't need.
Gun-ban fanatics insisted that mass murder in the streets with assault weapons would begin when the Clinton gun ban ended last fall, but nothing happened. Those same folks predicted the state of Florida would become the Wild West with daily gunfights in the streets when the new Castle Doctrine was recently signed by Gov. Jeb Bush. Once again, they proved they don’t have a clue about gun owners. Why do the gun banners always oppose and make ridiculous claims about common-sense laws that restore freedoms to gun owners, yet they continually try to pass laws that restrict our rights to own guns?
Here in Georgia we have many laws that affect gun owners, but some people have suggested we need to change Georgia’s law that gives citizens the right to defend themselves to be more like the Castle Doctrine passed in Florida. Based on reading the two laws, it seems that Georgia law already gives us the rights the new Florida law now gives citizens of that state.
The old Florida law said you could protect yourself or others from a thug if you felt threatened only if you could not flee. The Castle Doctrine says you can protect yourself and others if threatened. You don’t have to try to run away from them first. The new law gives you the right to protect yourself in your home. You don’t have to ask the criminal why he is there.
Georgia law says you can use deadly force to protect yourself or others from harm. There is no requirement to try to run. You still have to use good judgment in both states. You can not over-react and use excessive force, but you are protected by law in both states when protecting yourself.
In Georgia the law specifically states: “(c) Any rule, regulation, or policy of any agency of the state or any ordinance, resolution, rule, regulation, or policy of any county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state which is in conflict with this Code section shall be null, void, and of no force and effect.”
So, although the City of Atlanta makes it illegal to fire a gun, as I understand it you could not be prosecuted if you fire a gun while protecting yourself. The Florida law goes further and protects citizens from civil suits if they are defending themselves. That would be a good addition to our Georgia law. The debate over laws giving you the right to protect yourself is pointless. If you are threatened you should have the right to defend yourself. You should not have to try to determine the intent of the criminal.
Frank Rotondo, executive director of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, recently was quoted in an article about the Roswell weapons-discharge ordinance. “What they’re attempting to clarify is that if someone is stealing your lawn mower, you should not take out your weapon and shoot them,” he said. How can you tell if the thug is there just to steal your lawn mower or to steal your lawn mower and kill you? It all depends on the circumstances, but you should not have to consider the criminal’s intent when defending yourself.
Former congressman Bob Barr wrote a letter about the Roswell issue to the Atlanta Journal/Constitution. In part, he states, “The only standard we should apply to the discharge of a weapon is whether a person acted reasonably under the circumstances and with due regard for safety. Using a standard that focuses on the motivations of criminals — whether they seek to harm person or property — is both legally laughable and practically unenforceable.”
Law-abiding gun owners are just that — law abiding. Most of us have owned guns responsibly for many years and would never consider shooting someone without an extremely good reason. People who don’t own guns do not understand the respect we have for the power of our guns — another example of their lack of knowledge about guns and gun use.
Each time the gun banners lose a battle, they predict dire outcomes. Each time they do so, they look ridiculous when those predictions do not come true. They are less reliable than the weather guessers on TV, yet they keep getting publicity from the equally unknowing press. It is up to us to act responsibly, counteract the misinformation, and prove them wrong again and again.