Senate Majority Whip Mitch Seabaugh (R-Sharpsburg) wants to eliminate a bunch of Superior Court judges in Georgia. Seabaugh says getting rid of 19 judges would save the state $13 million to $14 million. This means we Georgians would then have money available for really important stuff like building Gov. Sonny Perdue’s $9 million horse barn in Houston County and enough cash left over for a palomino or two. When state government works well, it is an awesome sight to behold.
While getting our financial priorities rearranged, Seabaugh is also touting his Common Sense Lawful Carry Act, co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) which would allow guns to be lawfully carried into places like shopping centers, parks and public transportation by people who may or may not have common sense. Guns won’t be allowed on college campuses but you will be able to get close enough to make a lot of people nervous. Restaurants, bars, churches and other private property owners would have the right to decide if they want people with permits to carry guns on their premises. Uh, why this bill and why now?
Might this not be the worst-timed piece of legislation to bumble through the state senate this session? It certainly rivals the one our senators passed a few weeks ago that says we can’t get tracking devices implanted in our bodies without our permission and accidentally tip off the Martians.
As Marietta Daily Journal columnist Don McKee opined recently, "Balancing the budget should be the priority of all members of the General Assembly: where to cut, how to cut, how deep to cut as well as whether to increase tobacco taxes and end tax holidays. And maybe even close loopholes and eliminate assorted tax breaks. But here we have Sen. Mitch Seabaugh, Republican whip in the Senate, whipping up support for a bill to expand gun-carrying rights all over the landscape."
Veteran state political observer Tom Crawford is a little less circumspect, saying the bill "is located about as far from common sense as you can be and still remain within the confines of the Milky Way galaxy. It is full-blown, skull-bending craziness."
Seabaugh says church pastors would have discretion to choose who would be allowed to carry guns into their sanctuaries. One newspaper reported that "throughout the months-long debates, several pastors testified that they felt they needed the protection that guns would afford."
I hope Dr. Gil Watson, the World’s Greatest Preacher, was not among that group pushing to pack a pistol. In the first place, he doesn’t know one end of a gun from the other and would probably blow a hole in the pipe organ if he could locate the trigger. In the second place, it is a proven fact that God likes Dr. Gil better than he does the rest of us. That is why God has let it rain so much since Gov. Perdue asked Dr. Gil to pray for an end to our drought a couple of years ago. When you’ve got God on your side, why do you need a Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380 with integrated laser sight? Pardon the pun, but isn’t that overkill?
Perhaps Dr. Gil is concerned that I am going to take offense at his preaching about my sins every Sunday and that I will show up with my trusty pump-action Daisy Red Ryder BB gun with camouflage stock. If he is worried about that, he needs to interview the squirrels in my back yard first. The worst damage I have done so far is to have a couple of the critters die laughing at me and my attempts to shoot them. Squirrels can be very cruel.
Call me naïve but I would prefer that our legislators spend their time seeing that the money owed us by tax cheats is collected, tightening up our ethics laws and developing a cohesive public education policy rather than trying to figure out who is eligible to carry a .44 Magnum into Macy’s and cutting the number of judges that might rule on that question down the road.
More guns. Less judges. Is this state a well-oiled machine or what?
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.