But two conservative Georgia groups are calling for less restrictive gun laws to eliminate what they call “gun-free zones” where people with carry licenses can’t take their weapons.
The executive director of GeorgiaCarry.org said Monday he would prefer to see armed teachers and school administrators as a countermeasure against school shooters.
“If a guy knows he’s going into a school where a percentage of teachers are armed, he’s not going to go because he doesn’t know which ones are armed,” said Jerry Henry, Fairburn, executive director of GeorgiaCarry.org. “A lot of teachers, who already have firearms licenses, would be more than happy to serve. If the teacher who threw herself in front of the students to protect them had been armed, she could have put a bullet through the shooter instead.”
Henry said he agrees somewhat with National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre’s call to put armed guards in every school.
“I think one or two deputies is not a bad idea,” he said, but, “I don’t want my grandkids going to a school that’s like a prison and being locked in, then unlocked again to go home when school is out.”
He said he prefers a system in which teachers or principals who want to do so can carry a concealed weapon.
Jim Watters, president of the Carroll County Tea Party, takes a position that agrees somewhat with both GeorgiaCarry and the NRA.
“Either eliminate gun-free zones or require law enforcement to be on duty in all gun-free zones to protect citizens, who by law, cannot protect themselves,” Watters said. “Arming a few select school administrators and/or teachers is also a viable option. However, this option would have to be preempted by removing or making exceptions to the existing gun-free zones.”
Henry said he wants the Georgia General Assembly to do away with “gunfree zones,” public places where people with gun carry permits cannot legally take their firearms under present law. These zones include schools, colleges, government buildings and churches. He said these are places where mass murders occur and people have no way to fight back.
“You’re like sitting ducks in a gun-free zone when anybody walks through the door shooting,” he said.
Henry feels that having an armed citizenry in public places would not create greater crossfire danger to innocent civilians.
“The first thing most people do when they see a gunman is to get out of sight and decide whether or not to shoot,” he said. “I don’t see 10 people starting to shoot at the same time. There probably wouldn’t even be 10 armed people in the room.”
He noted that at the Empire State Building shooting in New York, it was the police who hit nine innocent people with their shots.
Henry maintains that when a public shooter is confronted by an armed person, he usually takes his own life at that point. He said that was the case in Columbine, Virginia Tech and the recent Oregon mall shooting.
“In the Arizona shooting (of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords), he (shooter Jared Lee Loughner) would have killed himself except his gun jammed,” Henry said.
He said these shooters are often people who are “out to commit suicide” but they shoot other people so they can be on TV for four or five days.
Henry agrees that violence on TV and in movies and video games does desensitize youth to violence, as LaPierre said in his Saturday press conference.
“When I was a kid, the cowboys and Indians shot each other and just fell off their horses,” Henry said. “Now it’s all blood and guts. The more violence there is, the better the movie is rated. Almost every movie has some kind of violence.”
Watters said he’s sure there’s studies that make the case for both sides of the debate over the influence of violence in movies. music and games.
“Simply exposing someone to evil doesn’t make that person evil, any more than exposing someone to good make them good,” he said. “Hollywood, as well as the music and gaming industries, are focused more on exploiting the worst in human behavior than highlighting the good. I don’t see this trend changing, which means families, mentors, civil organizations and churches must step up and accept their role of teaching morality and providing proper examples on how humans behave in a civilized society.”
Henry said GeorgiaCarry plans to advocate for legislation in the upcoming General Assembly, but nothing has been written yet. He said the group will back gun carry legislation that will allow weapons in government buildings and places of worship.
He said GeorgiaCarry currently has a lawsuit against the state over churches being a gunfree zone, and he believes the case will go to the U.S. Supreme Court for a decision.
Watters said he hopes the uproar over the recent school shooting doesn’t result in more restrictive gun laws and loss of Second Amendment freedoms.
“But I’m becoming less and less confident in what comes out of Washington these days,” he said. “The Second Amendment states, ‘..the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.’ The phrase, ‘shall not be infringed’ seems pretty clear to me.”