Leg­is­la­tors shoot­ing to beat plow­shares into pis­tols

The Standard Journal - - COMMENTARY - By DICK YAR­BROUGH Yar­brough

Son of a gun. Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, is at it again. Ge­or­gia’s ver­sion of Wyatt Earp was the chief gun­slinger in get­ting a bill passed in 2014 that was in­tended to let us lock-and-load most any­where we want — li­braries, churches, bars, air­ports — but he and his posse couldn’t talk the Board of Re­gents into let­ting stu­dents in our col­leges and univer­si­ties pack heat. (“Good Lord, Purvis! That run­ning back is gonna take that ball all the way for a touch­down on us. Waste that sucker!”)

To rem­edy this grave over­sight — while ig­nor­ing the pid­dling fact that more than 70 per­cent of Ge­or­gians op­pose al­low­ing stu­dents to carry guns on col­lege cam­pus — Jasperse is back this ses­sion with House Bill 859, which is be­ing cospon­sored by Reps. Mandi Ballinger, R-Can­ton, John Mead­ows, R-Cal­houn, Alan Pow­ell, R-Hartwell, Dustin Hightower, R-Car­roll­ton, and Rep. Trey Kel­ley, R-Cedar­town.

As in­for­ma­tion, Jasperse is a grad­u­ate of the Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia; Ballinger went to Ken­ne­saw State; Mead­ows at­tended West Ge­or­gia as did Hightower; Pow­ell stud­ied at Ge­or­gia South­west­ern; and Kelly got his un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree from Shorter.

I asked Ju­nior E. Lee, gen­eral man­ager of the Yar­brough World­wide Me­dia and Pest Con­trol Com­pany, lo­cated in Garfield, Ge­or­gia, to do some re­search to see if the bill’s spon­sors might have had some trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ences re­gard­ing guns while in col­lege as soon as he fin­ished worm­ing Mr. Har­lee Led­bet­ter’s goats. First things first.

Af­ter wash­ing up — worm­ing a goat can be messy, par­tic­u­larly if the goat would rather be do­ing some­thing else – Ju­nior made an ex­haus­tive search and says he can find no in­ci­dent where any one of them was ever shot at while in col­lege or ever felt the need to make some­body’s day. I found that strange. Ju­nior did not. Ju­nior says politi­cians can do some weird stuff and thinks they all would ben­e­fit from a good worm­ing from time to time.

House Speaker David Ral­ston has in­di­cated he sup­ports the bill and says that “get­ting a col­lege de­gree should not mean ab­di­cat­ing your Se­cond Amend­ment rights.” Speaker Ral­ston got his un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree from North Ge­or­gia Col­lege. Ju­nior doesn’t think Mr. Ral­ston got shot at, ei­ther. I didn’t ask him about the wis­dom of a good worm­ing since the Speaker and I seem to be on good terms th­ese days and I would pre­fer to keep it that way.

Un­der the proper cir­cum­stances, I could sup­port al­low­ing hor­mone-raged young­sters to walk into the dean’s of­fice with a Desert Ea­gle 1911U stuck in their belt, wait­ing to be in­formed that they have just flunked out of school and are go­ing to have to go find a real job. This as­sumes, of course, that the dean is sit­ting in his of­fice with a M240 aimed at the door.

I would be will­ing to criss­cross this great state from Abbeville to Ze­bu­lon; from East Point to West Point, to raise the ban­ner for guns on cam­pus. I would Tweet and Twit­ter and Skype and get LinkedIn and all that other stuff that I am so tech­no­log­i­cally ca­pa­ble of do­ing un­til ev­ery Ge­or­gian was con­vinced that no col­lege fra­ter­nity should ever again have to hold a Toga Party un­armed.

All I ask in re­turn from Speaker Ral­ston, Rep. Jasperse and their deputy dawgs is that the right for pre­pubescents to bear arms be ex­tended to the av­er­age ci­ti­zen who wants to visit the Gold Dome to see democ­racy in ac­tion. Why not? To para­phrase the Speaker, “Watch­ing in­trepid pub­lic ser­vants do what­ever it is that in­trepid pub­lic ser­vants do should not mean ab­di­cat­ing your Se­cond Amend­ment rights.”

What is wrong with my sit­ting in the House gallery with my as­sault ri­fle in my lap? Are we not tram­pling on the con­sti­tu­tional rights of lizard-loafered lob­by­ists to arm them­selves when skulk­ing around the halls of the Capi­tol try­ing to foist foot­ball tick­ets and free meals off on re­luc­tant leg­is­la­tors? And how about the Capi­tol press corps? Are they not at least as valu­able to our so­ci­ety as a col­lege sopho­more? (Don’t an­swer that.)

I trust it is not the in­ten­tion of Speaker Ral­ston, Mr. Jasperse and the oth­ers to bla­tantly dis­crim­i­nate against av­er­age Ge­or­gians by se­lec­tively de­cid­ing when and where we can en­joy our Se­cond Amend­ment rights. Let us have our guns un­der the Gold Dome. Af­ter all, this isn’t just about arm­ing our cam­puses. This is about build­ing a Ge­or­gia where one day we can beat our plow­shares into pis­tols. Isn’t that what we are all shoot­ing for?

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