So, how many of you here in Georgia need feel the need to be able to buy several handguns as often as you want, you know, for hunting purposes? I can tell you how many times I’ve looked out my back door, saw a seven-point buck and brought it down with my Saturday Night Special.
It’s no big secret that Georgia is gun happy—this is a pending bill in the state House that would allowed to carry concealed weapons in bars, public schools, most government buildings, college campuses and places of worship; as you will remember from Sunday School, Jesus was really big supporter of the right to shoot the crap out of your enemies.
It is also true that Georgia is the gun purveyor to U.S. criminals, and has been so for several years. My friend and former SF State Journalism School classmate Cecily Burt put together a great piece for today’s Oakland Tribune about how lax gun laws in Georgia and other states lead to gun crimes across the country, especially California:
On April 13, 2009, Crystal Erin Davis walked into the Cherokee Gun and Pawn shop on Knox Bridge Highway in Canton, Ga., and bought a Cobra Enterprises .38-caliber pistol, commonly known as a Saturday night special. She filled out paperwork that said the gun was hers.
“But in fact Davis bought the weapon—and, on other days, 20 others—for her boyfriend, Jeffrey Martin Colon-Moore, a Vallejo, Calif., native and ex-convict who could not legally buy guns from licensed dealers. He sold and shipped the firearms by overnight delivery to buyers in the Bay Area that spring.
“Those buyers, in turn, put the weapons in the wrong hands.
“About 15 of the 125 guns Moore’s crew bought from gun stores or gun shows have since been recovered by law enforcement. While none has been directly traced to a killing, they’ve been taken from parolees after car chases, from juveniles after a robbery and from a car searched after a fatal shooting at a San Francisco nightclub.
“The story of those guns—which emerges from a federal trafficking case—provides a rare view of the ways criminals get firearms, and just how easy it can be. It also helps explain why, when Oakland police seize an average of 1,200 to 1,500 firearms every year, there is a steady supply to replace them.
“ ‘It is definitely frustrating,’ said Sgt. Nishant Joshi, head of the Oakland Police Department’s Gangs/Guns Intelligence Task Force. ‘A lot of guns come from out of state, a lot of straw purchases. Guns are not manufactured in Oakland. There’s no big warehouse in Oakland where you go in and buy what you want.’
“Instead, there are a variety of black-market sellers, receiving guns from states with less stringent gun laws. In California and many other states, buyers undergo background checks and a waiting period before they can take home a gun. But in Georgia, Arizona and Nevada—some of the biggest sources of illegal guns in California—there is no waiting period. Those states also allow person-to-person sales without paperwork.”
Great work, Cecily. The absurd gun laws—pending and existing—in Georgia need to be changed, but the odds of that happening in this redder than red state is just about nil. There’s no talking sense to some folks.
In a related incident, many folks in the state are up in arms today because a 19-year-old was on arrested on charges of possessing a concealed weapon, having a weapon in a school zone and having an altered ID mark on that weapon (the serial number was scratched off). Half the state is ready to throw the book at this young man while the other half is rushing to his defense. What makes this one college sophomore’s fate so riveting to so many people? Maybe it’s because he’s the University of Georgia’s star tailback Isaiah Crowell.
According to sports talk radio and the Atlanta Journal-Consitution, Georgia head football coach Mark Richt has had enough of the talented but pain-in-the-ass Crowell and booted him off the team.