The Georgia Legislature is in session, so you know that your rights are at peril. Democrats have offered up a protection bill to make you feel safer in the Nanny State. Under the concept that gun toters need to be identified and kept an eye on, the Democrats have authored a bill that retracts one part of last year’s “Guns Everywhere” bill, HB60, which said an officer could not detain someone simply for carrying a weapon.
HB60 didn’t really “make” the law on this issue, it just codified it. It has never been the law that it was legal to stop someone simply because they were carrying a weapon. The law says that there has to be something more. Some LEOs had a problem following that law and detained/arrested folks for doing nothing more than carrying a weapon, hence the new “law” in HB60. In the eight months since HB60 became law, I haven’t seen blood flowing in the streets only because officers can’t detain gun toters for simply being a gun toter.
The Democrats proposing this law believe that the carrying of a weapon makes one suspicious. “Why is he carrying a gun?” “What does he need a gun for” “This is a safe neighborhood, he doesn’t need a gun.” I’m curious if they think being black makes one suspicious. White? Straight? Gay? Ugly? Pretty? Disabled? Not disabled? Baptist? Methodist? Agnostic?
If you believe that merely carrying a gun is grounds for you to be stopped, identified and required to produce a gun license, I’d really like to hear why. Right now, I imagine you are okay with:
Being stopped by an officer while walking down a sidewalk to verify that you have your papers. How do we KNOW that you are a citizen? How do we know that you don’t have an open warrant? There’s a lot the government could learn about you if you’ll just submit to detention anytime they want. It’s only 8 minutes of your time.
I guess you’re okay with being singled out and stopped by an officer as you are driving, having committed no traffic offense, detained for 19 minutes while the officer verifies your license, insurance and registration. I mean, you MIGHT be driving on a suspended license. You MIGHT not have valid insurance. What’s 19 minutes of your life worth?
Then I further reckon you’re okay when the officers knock on your door at 2 a.m. just to make sure you are legitimately allowed to be in your home. For the officers safety, they’ll need everybody woken up, brought into the living room, and they’ll need everyone to be cuffed behind their back. For the 4 year old, they’ll use cable ties as those adult handcuffs won’t work on small hands. Sure, everything appears in order but a complete search of your house for possible contraband is going to take a while, maybe an hour. What’s an hour? And the 4 year old will eventually stop crying and one day realize that a perfect society needs to know that its citizens are compliant with the law, no?
If you’re okay with those scenarios, then I guess I understand why you think citizens with a weapon need to be detained for their papers. I suspect, however, that most of you are not okay with the “have you got your papers” law. What has the gun toter done other than exercise their Second Amendment right? Does that scare you? If so, I fear for America.
Kelly Burke, master attorney, former district attorney and magistrate judge, is engaged in private practice. He writes about the law, rock’n’roll and politics. These articles are not designed to give legal advice, but are designed to inform the public about how the law affects their daily lives. Contact Kelly at email@example.com to comment on this article or suggest articles that you’d like to see.