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Should we even talk about guns?

Posted: April 17, 2013 - 12:01am

Georgia’s senators were caught in a political crossfire last week over their vote on a gun control bill currently being considered in the U.S. Senate.

Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson were not voting for passage of the bill, which would expand the system of background checks to try to keep firearms away from convicted felons and the mentally deranged.

They were merely taking a procedural vote to stop a filibuster so that senators could at least talk about the gun control bill during floor debate.

“I think it deserves a vote up or down,” Isakson said in a TV interview.

The gun control measure, as weak as it is, probably will not make it to a final vote if Senate Republicans are able to renew a filibuster. Even if the bill somehow were adopted by the Senate, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives most likely would kill it.

Because they voted for the piddling step of allowing debate on the bill, Chambliss and Isakson set off a firestorm of outrage among conservative Republicans who felt they had been betrayed by their senators.

Here’s one of the milder comments from a conservative Web site: “Since the Democrats have a clear majority, senators like Johnny Isakson should just stay home. ... When confronted with bad legislation, especially bills that violate the Bill of Rights, the only way to obstruct them is by getting your hands dirty with a filibuster. If you’re not up to the task, then go back to Georgia and run for your county school board.”

That anger among the Republican base won’t bother Chambliss, because he isn’t running for reelection. It could cause some grief for Isakson, however, if he decides to run for another term in 2016.

Isakson’s stand is an interesting one in a state where even talking about gun control not only will earn you criticism, but could bring threats on your life.

It was just a year ago that state Rep. Ann Purcell, R-Rincon, as the chair of a legislative committee, would not let out of committee a bill allowing people to carry guns in public without having to obtain a permit.

She received death threats from gun carry activists that were so severe the GBI was called in to investigate. Purcell also decided against running for another term in the Georgia House.

I wondered if Isakson’s decision to allow debate on the current gun bill was an early sign that he had decided not to run again in 2016. One of his top supporters quickly told me that was not the case.

“Johnny has made it clear he intends to run in 2016,” said the Isakson supporter. “I’m currently organizing a fundraiser for his 2016 campaign that will take place later this month.

“This far in advance of the 2016 primary and general election, I doubt seriously if his actions or his vote will make much difference when he stands for re-election,” the supporter said. “And, frankly, that may be a shame, because he is right.”

Say what you will about Isakson, he is a savvy politician who knows when the electoral landscape is shifting.

More and more of his Republican supporters live in suburban areas where parents worry about the dangers of random gun violence toward their kids. Fewer and fewer voters live in rural areas where guns and hunting are an ingrained part of the culture.

Gov. Nathan Deal could face a similar choice next year.

The General Assembly considered but ultimately did not pass a bill in the recent session that would have opened up college campuses and K-12 schools to guns and would have made it easier for mentally ill persons to obtain firearms permits.

Gun carry advocates will be back lobbying for that bill’s passage next year, and I strongly suspect it will pass.

Deal by then will be in the middle of a vigorous reelection campaign. The governor will have to decide whether he wants to sign a bill that could bring on gun violence among school kids and college students, or whether he can survive the political damage that would result if he vetoes it.

Isakson decided to stand up to that faction within his party. What will the governor do?

(Tom Crawford is editor of The Georgia Report, an Internet news service at gareport.com.)

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Comments (10)

Little Lamb

Bring On?

Is Crawford serious when he says that allowing law-abiding cititens to carry guns on campus brings on unlawful gun violence? The reason people want college students to be able to carry weapons is for their own protection.

Riverman1

Total Garbage

"The governor will have to decide whether he wants to sign a bill that could bring on gun violence among school kids and college students..."

It's about protecting kids in public schools by arming school personnel. While permitting adult college students to carry weapons is simply recognizing their constitutional rights. I wish with all my heart a student had been legally armed at Virginia Tech and prevented the massacre. Crawford is once again out to lunch with his presumptive statements without facts. He should go back to supporting John Oxendine for Governor.

kenu lorsen

It is important to talk about

It is important to talk about this topic because the Government should find a correct solution to decrease the number of illegal guns on the streets. Legally speaking, only officers of the law can carry a weapon with them, when they are at work. Also, they must have a professional training before they can use a gun. As a matter of fact, the training services from http://www.safirearmsinstruction.com/about/ are excellent for anyone who wants to become an expert at shooting a gun.

marvinvinn

Yes, we should talk about

Yes, we should talk about guns. It's a disturbing topic and if the government and legal officers don't do anything, more awful deeds will result from the use of guns. Someone is entitled to use a gun only if he has a permit for it and only is some given situations. Also, it doesn't matter from where someone buys the guns, either are used guns for sale in Matthews, NC or from a local, legal dealer, he shouldn't use them.

marvinvinn

Guns should be used only in

Guns should be used only in some certain situations. The Police can use them, but also private persons, who have a legal gun permit. Also, someone can use his fire weapon in the hunting season, in a controlled environment. The lodge from http://www.cedarknoll.com/ organizes from time to time hunting trips, where people can participate only if they meet all the legal requirements for this activity.

kenu lorsen

If this topic is debated

If this topic is debated enough, maybe some people will change their behavior and apply for a gun permit, for instance, the Florida Concealed Weapons Permit after they have finished a firearms training for self-defense. The truth is that we are living in a dangerous world and some people feel much safer if they own a gun.

NickGardner

They have to come up with a

They have to come up with a law that everyone is happy with, otherwise people will keep opposing any gun control project. Considering every point of view is a must, this is something I've learned when I was looking for gun cleaning systems. Just forcing laws on people without understanding their circumstances first will never be a good idea.

Paul Ricca

It would be a good idea to

It would be a good idea to impose certain restrictions and conduct a proper background check before selling guns to anyone. However, having a gun at home could ensure safety for you and your family, but you should keep your gun safe and for this purpose you should use gun cases available at CasesByPelican.com.

jerryrice

Yes, you should talk about

Yes, you should talk about guns and, in direction, anyone who is found guilty of possession of weapons shouldn't be free. Of course, he can be free until his court date, if he places a bail bond. The procedure is easy, but if you want to know more about it, you should visit the website from http://www.expressbailbonds.com/denvercoloradobailbond/broomfieldbailbonds.html.

benjohnson

reply

It is very true that the campuses in America are overwhelmed with guns and the authorities should take stringent actions to stop this trend. Violence in campus has become daily news and the authorities are not doing anything to stop this. sell miles

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