If anyone reading this is writing a college essay on liberal bias in the media, you might want to check out yesterday’s issue of USA Today. The McDonald’s of newspapers ran an article discussing Georgia’s Safe Carry Protection Act, a law that has come to be known as Guns Everywhere to detractors. Speaking of detractors, it seems clear from the article that the USA Today editors are among them.
Right out of the gate, the paper quotes a 22-year-old man named Kit Crawford who waxes nervously over the sight of an open-carrying individual he saw in the grocery store. “I felt extremely uncomfortable and not particularly safe,” the new father told the paper. “One of the oddest parts was that even in his body language it was clear that he wasn’t comfortable walking around with a gun either. You could tell he felt self-conscious about it.”
In the article, Crawford does not expound on what specific actions the gun owner took that displayed his own discomfort. The author doesn’t press the point, and they certainly don’t bring up the obvious possibility that Crawford was projecting. After all, just because Georgia’s laws allow gun owners to carry their weapons out in the open doesn’t mean they are compelled to do so. To hear the USA Today talk about it, you would think that law-abiding gun owners took to the public after the law went into effect, trudging around with their firearms exposed because they felt it was their civic duty. It seems doubtful that this is the case, but it makes for a story.
What makes for a better story, in my opinion, is that Georgia gun owners can now freely take their firearms into bars, restaurants, churches, certain areas of schools, nightclubs, and even parts of the airport. Certainly, USA Today enumerates this list as well, but they temper each factual mention of the law with a quote from a detractor. The article quotes only a single supporter of the law, Ashley Sanchez, who is identified as a University of Georgia graduate. Sanchez weighs in with reason, “When you are given your permit, you are given the ability to protect yourself — not be a vigilante. We are always trying to be responsible citizens and the weapon doesn’t change our behavior at all.”
Of course, perhaps USA Today isn’t entirely at fault for taking such a negative view of the issue. After all, Georgia’s residents seem opposed to the law according to a recent poll. 70% of respondents to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll opposed the bill. Is this an instance where gun-rights advocates have gone too far?
The answer: of course not. What this is, however, is another example of newspaper writers, citizens, and worry-warts confusing the government for an all-powerful slave master, doling out rights as it sees fit. There should be no place in the country where gun laws are any more strict than they now are in Georgia. If people are shooting their guns at each other (as they are in places like Chicago and LA, where gun laws are quite a bit more draconian), then arrest them for the crime. In the meantime, Georgia’s Safe Carry Protection Act should be seen as the model for the rest of America. Hopefully, it’s only the beginning.