We didn’t have guns in our house when we were growing up. I think it stemmed from an accident that happened when my father was growing up in Cuthbert, Ga. He was one of 8 children, and one year, two of his older brothers, both in their teens, got rifles for Christmas. The day after Christmas, they went hunting, and as one of them was climbing over a fence, he dropped his rifle. It fired when it hit the ground and struck his brother, killing him. Not only did my dad lose one older brother, but the other one, so overwhelmed by grief and shame, left home a year or so later, lied about his age and joined the Navy. It was only years later when they were finally reunited.
But that didn’t mean we were against guns. At Boy Scout camp, we fired rifles on the gun range. In covering different events, I’ve had a chance to fire guns ranging from a target pistol to an assault rifle. My step-son got in to hunting with his father when he was a teen, and his father bought him his first rifle. He kept it in a gun cabinet in his room – we kept the key. He still hunts today, and still keeps his guns in a locked gun cabinet so his kids can’t get to them. And one of my best friends and her fiancé are avid gun enthusiasts and have their own little arsenal of handguns and rifles.
So even though I don’t own one, and have no desire to do so, I’m not against people owning guns. I do believe that background checks should be done, because there are some people with mental problems who should not have access to guns. But overall, I’m not an anti-gun person.
However, I do believe there are certain places where guns should not be allowed, and a bill in the current Georgia General Assembly, HB 512 – the Safe Carry Protection Act, has me concerned. The bill, which passed in the State House and is now in the State Senate, would allow properly permitted gun owners to carry guns in places such as churches, on college campuses, and in bars.
I don’t care for guns in church or on college campuses. But what I really have a problem with is allowing guns in bars. I’m not against bars. I enjoy bars, and usually at least one night a week you’ll find me singing karaoke in a bar. But what do most people do when they go into a bar? They consume alcoholic beverages. Some people consume so much alcohol that they get drunk. And when you are drunk, sometimes you don’t think as clearly or as quickly as you do when you’re sober. I’ve been at bars at times when drunks, not thinking clearly or quickly, get into fights over women, a pool game, a college football game on TV, or other things. It’s bad enough when drunks start swinging at each other. Add in pieces of furniture they may throw at each other, or the chance of one pulling a knife or breaking a bottle, and that makes it worse. But the thought of one or both fighters having a gun strapped on his or her waist, not to mention innocent sober bystanders who feel the need to protect themselves, and you could have bullets flying all over the place and hitting both the fighters and the innocent bystanders.
So to me, guns and bars don’t mix, and I hope our state legislators will strike that portion of the act before they pass it.