It just doesn’t get any better than the opportunity to return to my hometown of Atlanta.
I’ll be landing in Atlanta this Thursday morning for the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual meeting and convention. What a true honor to come home as a life member of this great American organization that stands for the protection of our unalienable individual rights…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – and also as a Board Member. On Friday, I have the humble and distinct pleasure of taking to the NRA stage to address our membership. Then on Sunday, I have been blessed to be the keynote speaker for the NRA Prayer Breakfast. Hope to see y’all there!
Regardless of where life takes me, I shall always be a son of Georgia, and a native son of Atlanta. I’m so very proud to have been born and raised in that magnificent and historic city. But there are some things that do indeed cause me concern and distress about my hometown.
As reported by Guns.com, “Among those calling on Georgia’s Republican Gov. Nathan Deal to once again veto a measure dropping gun free zones at the state’s public colleges and universities is Atlanta’s new top cop.
Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields, speaking earlier this month with Denis O’Hayer on Atlanta’s NPR affiliate, said she hopes Deal vetoes the measure. “I just think back to when I was in college and you know, the amount of alcohol that flows there, I just don’t see that there is an upside to this,” said Shields, arguing that if there is a problem with crime on campus, school authorities would be better off reaching out to local law enforcement for help. “I just think this really has the potential to really not be good.”
The proposal, HB 280, would amend Georgia law to drop some gun free zones on public post secondary campuses. It was approved by the legislature last month and sent to Deal — who vetoed a similar bill in 2016 — for further action. He is fast approaching the 40-day deadline to veto, sign or allow the measure to become law without his signature.
Pressed by O’Hayer about incidents of violent crime around Atlanta-area public college campuses, Shields downplayed the problem saying it was not “significant enough that you can take on the potential downside that will come with authorizing it [campus carry] and that is not to say that there is not a component of the argument that isn’t valid, it’s to say it’s a risk analysis– what is the downside that you are absorbing in trying to offset in what has occurred on a few isolated incidents.”
It never ceases to amaze me how these self-righteous individuals, such as Chief Shields, believe law abiding citizens cannot be trusted with the important responsibility of protecting themselves. What I find truly disturbing is we have a country where five Supreme Court justices can determine that same-sex marriage is the “law of the land” yet Americans are being told where their Second Amendment right applies? What about the 14th Amendment “equal protection under the law clause” — unless we’re now saying the Second Amendment isn’t law?
Heck, I thought the Second Amendment was part of our individual Bill of Rights? Who is this police chief to downplay the issue of violent crime as “not significant enough?” Tell that to a young campus coed who has been assaulted, or any student who must be concerned about her personal safety as she walks to her dorm room late at night from studying. As a matter of fact, one of the roughest neighborhoods when I grew up in the Old Fourth Ward was called Techwood. And as the name suggests, it’s located in the vicinity of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Tech.
Until the day comes when a law enforcement officer can be assigned to every student, it still remains an individual’s right to protect themselves. We know about the instances of campus violence such as Virginia Tech, but consider what happened at the Ohio State University where an Islamic jihadist used a vehicle and then sought to use a large machete — thankfully there was a quick thinking and an accurate campus police officer. But what if that officer had not been there, or if the response time had been five minutes or more?
What does Chief Shields say to the military veteran who is using his GI Bill to attend college and has stood on freedom’s frontier to defend our country? Does this Soldier, Sailor, Airmen, Marine, or Coast Guardsman now surrender their Second Amendment rights and become a victim, a target? Chief Shields uses the tired old adage that alcohol is on college campuses and therefore we shouldn’t have firearms…should we also ban knives, Chief?
And anyone with common sense knows there are bars that restrict carry in their establishments. However, the smug attitude of the progressive socialist left is that we the people are just not capable of being trusted to defend ourselves.
I recall last year when I had to speak on the campus of the University of Dallas after the Texas legislature passed the campus carry law. Of course private institutions still had the ability to make their own decisions, and University of Dallas chose to not allow campus carry. My point was not to debate the issue but rather inform the students that the university administration had decided they must surrender their Second Amendment right. And as a visitor to the campus, I had to surrender mine as well. The problem was this: the University of Dallas is an open campus and the campus security is unarmed. In other words, the University of Dallas assumed full responsibility for my protection. Ask yourself, what would happen if the University of Dallas said they don’t allow LGBT students? No, that’s not an absurd comparison since it appears sexual behavior is a more protected right than my right to keep and bear arms — which is supposed to not be infringed.
Am I the only one who finds it perplexing that these are state, public, schools and universities which exist with the appropriations of taxpayer funds…yet taxpayers, citizens, are having their constitutional rights restricted? There is no legal standing to deny law-abiding citizens their constitutional right enshrined in the Second Amendment.
Therefore, Governor Deal, you truly do not have the statutory power to deny this right to any citizen, unless the U.S. Constitution and our Bill of Rights have no meaning. My recommendation for Governor Deal is to sign HB 280. My recommendation to Atlanta Police Chief Shields is to do your job and protect citizens, and not seek to create easier targets for criminals.
Since I’m flying to Atlanta, no, I will not be carrying my firearms there, so I am trusting the Atlanta Police — of which my older brother was an officer — to safeguard me during my stay. I’ve grown tired of folks picking and choosing which rights are rights, especially when it comes to my personal safety, the safety of my family, and that of my fellow law-abiding Americans.
Let’s start focusing on the criminal elements that threaten our security. I better not find out Atlanta is playing that sanctuary city crap. Restricting the Second Amendment is un-American, and never forget that our fight for independence from the British came when they decided to disarm us…ya know that whole Concord, Massachusetts thing and the shot fired heard ‘round the world at Lexington Green.
America has always been about making victors, not victims, and when you disarm Americans or deny them their Second Amendment right, you make victims. What’s worse, we become subjects, targets, not citizens. This nation was founded on individual sovereignty and rights, not some police chief stating there aren’t significant enough problems to allow us our God-given right to life and liberty. You can bet I’ll be speaking on this Friday. And I certainly hope the president of the United States will address this, not with rhetoric but with a dedication to passing and signing a law on national reciprocity for concealed carry licenses, and ending this Second Amendment persecution.
And what is this nonsense about a 30-year-old progressive socialist running for Congress in north Atlanta? Heck, this young fella Ossoff didn’t even attend a Southeastern Conference school!
But I’ll leave you on a high note. I just had to share with y’all one of our favorite songs about our lovely southern city by the group Little Feat called “Oh Atlanta.”
[Want to read more West? Check out his book Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom]