This just in. The people of Georgia, speaking through their elected officials, have voluntarily limited their right to carry guns in public. In a law signed by Gov. Nathan Deal, Georgians may not carry weapons past metal detectors in airports and public buildings. And they need permission from their pastor to pack in church. These concessions were part of an overhaul of the state’s archaic gun laws – and yet more evidence of the National Rifle Association’s willingness to compromise in the aftermath of the Sand Hook Elementary School tragedy 17 months ago. In exchange, the Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014 – or the “guns everywhere bill” – allows people to carry their firearms into bars, school zones, public buildings, libraries, really just about anywhere they want, including elementary schools with permission, and right up to the security gate in airports. The legislators did prohibit guns from the state Capitol, which some have suggested is hypocritical. Still, said GeorgiaCarry’s Jerry Henry, “If you are one who likes to protect yourself, you have a whole lot more places to protect yourself.” While Atlanta’s Episcopal bishop told his parishioners, “The prince of peace isn’t spelled P-I-E-C-E. It’s P-E-A-C-E,” past-and-future GOP presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, told “Face the Nation, “I think a well-armed family is a safe family. A well-armed America is a safer America.”
So now we can take our guns to church and open public meetings with sectarian prayer. Not so long ago we seemed to be going in the other direction.