Restoring Gun Rights in Declared Emergencies
Radio Commentary, WMVV 90.7 New Life FM, March 19, 2010
By Sue Ella Deadwyler
Good morning, Jim. For many years, citizens’ rights to own and carry firearms has been challenged and restricted by local governments, but that’s about to change. If a case filed by residents of Chicago and surrounding areas is successful, the U.S. Supreme Court just might strike down state and local laws that ban handguns. The case asks the Court to make the same ruling for cities and states as it did in a decision supporting gun rights in Washington, D.C. that’s under federal jurisdiction. That 2008 decision affirmed the Constitution’s Second Amendment protection of the individual’s right to have guns, at least for self-defense in the home.
Another suit was filed against a Massachusetts law requiring guns to be locked when they’re kept at home. If the Court follows its D.C. ruling, a future decision in Massachusetts will, probably, favor gun owners there, since the D.C. decision struck down trigger-lock requirements for privately-owned guns.
Gun ownership is a precious constitutional right exercised over and over in 2009, when law-abiding citizens in the United States bought over 14 million guns and more than 14 billion rounds of ammunition. We know the buyers are law-abiding citizens because their purchases went through the FBI’s National Criminal Background Check System. To put that in perspective, U.S. citizens bought more guns last year than are used by the combined active armies of the top 21 countries in the world.
Here in Georgia, Senator Preston Smith introduced S.B. 342 to repeal the governor’s authority over guns in a declared emergency. Right now under current Georgia law, in a declared emergency, no one in Georgia could buy, sell or transport firearms, regardless of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the State of Georgia. This bill would change that and restore the constitutional right of Georgia citizens to buy and bear arms. Call Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Preston Smith at 404 656-0035* and ask him to pass S.B. 342 out of his committee. This is an important constitutional right that’s worth protecting. For Georgia Insight I’m Sue Ella Deadwyler, your Capitol correspondent.