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Georgia: Antis Come Unhinged Over Armed Tailgating

Georgia: Antis Come Unhinged Over Armed Tailgating

While perusing Second Amendment-related news this morning, an arm-waving lecture from Salon.com caught my eye. The anti-gun website republished a piece from left-wing site Alternet.org lamenting about all the people it believes will die at Georgia tailgate parties because of the state’s new campus-carry law, which takes effect July 1.

In the column, author Kali Holloway proves one thing and one thing only—that she doesn’t understand law-abiding citizens who carry concealed firearms for self-defense.

“Despite the fact that nothing good ever comes out of mixing aggressive sports, copious amounts of alcohol and firearms, the state of Georgia just passed a law letting people carry weapons to tailgating parties at public colleges,” the column opines, later adding, “Tailgating parties, where people get liquored up before going to watch young men violently hurl themselves at each other, were apparently considered a bridge too far.”

Boy, doesn’t that sound frightening! Let’s look at some facts about campus carry and carry permit holders that should help ease some of the worries Georgia anti-gunners are facing.

The new law doesn’t simply allow any drunken 18-year-old to carry a gun to a tailgate party …It’s important to note that this fall won’t mark the first time that legally possessed guns were present at tailgate parties in the Peach State. Fans were already allowed to have concealed handguns in their vehicles at such functions under current law—a fact that is having a hard time finding its way into columns written by those who oppose the campus-carry legislation. And yes, Salon failed to mention this important fact.

The new law doesn’t simply allow any drunken 18-year-old to carry a gun to a tailgate party, even though opponents would like you to believe that. In truth, the law doesn’t arm anyone, and certainly not teenagers, who can’t legally carry a handgun in the state. The law simply erases the invisible boundaries that keep those over 21—who are already vetted and licensed to carry a handgun for self-defense—from carrying on campus, when they already do so elsewhere in the state.

Consequently, those legally carrying a firearm at a tailgate party will have already met state requirements—that they be at least 21 years of age (active-duty military who have completed basic training can carry at 18) and possess a Georgia concealed-carry permit, which requires law enforcement vetting, fingerprinting, etc. Yes, that’s right: We are talking about law-abiding adults who have already applied for and received concealed-carry licenses, and who could already carry their firearm in public when not on campus.

The ban on carrying a concealed firearm before the new law was passed only affected the law-abiding. How do opponents of campus carry think campus shootings happen, anyway? In every case, a person already broke the law against guns on campus before going on to break other laws pertaining to assault, attempted murder and murder.

Do campus-carry opponents really think these law-abiding citizens will suddenly snap and become crazed murderers just because they are attending a tailgate party?Campus gun bans—including those forbidding carry at tailgate parties—force law-abiding, licensed carry permit holders to leave their guns at home, squashing not only their right to bear arms, but also their ability to defend themselves and others against such lawbreakers. Opponents of campus carry apparently couldn’t care less that they are fighting to leave law-abiding, gun-owning adults as easy prey for violent criminals, who don’t follow any laws, much less no-guns-on-campus laws.

Concealed-carry permit holders are the epitome of law-abiding citizens—another fact you’ll never hear from campus carry opponents. In fact, they are the most law-abiding demographic of all, more law-abiding, even, than police. Do campus-carry opponents really think these law-abiding citizens will suddenly snap and become crazed murderers just because they are attending a tailgate part? Apparently so, which says more about their intelligence than about permit holders.

Fortunately, not everyone is taking such a cynical view of the law. University of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley seems to have accepted the law for what it is, and is encouraging administrators and students to do the same.

“While House Bill 280 provides for specific exceptions where handguns may not go, it does not give individual institutions discretion to bar or further limit handguns on their campuses,” Wrigley said in a released memo. “Institutions therefore may not place additional restrictions or prohibitions on the carrying of handguns beyond those contained in the law. Neither should anyone else attempt to interfere with the ability of license-holders to carry concealed handguns on campus.”

Mark Chesnut has been the editor of America’s 1st Freedom magazine for nearly 17 years and is an avid hunter, shooter and political observer.

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