Political Animal


January 15, 2013 1:10 PM The “More Guns” Reaction to Newtown

By Ed Kilgore

While proposals to tighten gun regulation in various states (particularly New York, where legislation is moving towards enactment rapidly) have gotten a lot of attention in the days since the Newtown massacre, in some states proposal move in exactly the opposite direction, as Perry Stein points out in a comprehensive piece on gun legislation at TNR. The most predictable is a bill in South Carolina that would allow school employees who already have concealed-carry permits to bring their shooting irons to work. Similarly, a bill in Virginia would require schools to designate at least one qualified person to carry a roscoe around.

But my favorite is in my home state of Georgia, where Republican State Rep. Charles Gregory, who represents among other places the famously pro-gun town of Kennesaw (where, as a publicity stunt aimed at countering an Illinois municipality that banned handguns, each household is required to have a gun present), is taking advantage of the discussion spurred by Newtown to introduce a batch of bills basically repealing the state’s few existing gun regulations. Here’s how The Atlantic’s Ford Vox describes Gregory—director of Ron Paul’s presidential campaign in Georgia—and his legislation:

[W]e can thank Gregory’s childhood steeped in gun culture and his 20-something years steeped in the immature rantings of Ayn Rand for this 2-watt light-bulb moment: responding to a horrific gun slaughter with legislation that strips away gun licensing requirements, prohibits Georgia’s Governor from halting the transfer or sale of firearms during an emergency, and lifts bans on guns in churches, state universities and community colleges. Gregory told the Marietta Daily Journal he wasn’t targeting elementary, middle and high schools because that’s not “politically feasible.” So I’ll give the man some credit for not making your dropped jaw dislocate entirely.

Kennesaw is in the county where I went to high school, so I’m not surprised. I don’t personally know anyone, even there, who admits to a desire to tote a hand cannon or maybe an assault rifle to church in order to feel secure while worshiping the Prince of Peace. But Lord Knows they exist in every corner of our nation, where the worship of lethal weapons is a powerful impulse.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • digitusmedius on January 15, 2013 1:25 PM:

    I looked into the Kennesaw story after seeing it brought up on a political online forum (Newsvine). As you say, it was a publicity stunt. Now about than half of the residents of the town actually break the law and don't own firearms and the much vaunted low crime statistics are dated, coming from 20 years or so ago when Kennesaw was a sleepy little place of just (I think) around 5,000 to more than quadruple that now--I'm going by memory here so I might be off on the exact numbers. In any case, the crime rate in Kennesaw is now about average for a town of its current size.

  • c u n d gulag on January 15, 2013 1:34 PM:

    Them thar shootn arns, and the right to own and shoot 'em, may the one thing some white men in this country feel that they still have.

    There's a Nigra in the White House.
    A Nigra that beat a war hero (yeah, I know...) 'n a white woman the last time, and a rich ol' white dude 'n a rich young white dude this time.
    And a Nigra is Attorney General.

    Nigra's 'n Messicans done took their jobs.
    Nigra's 'n other brown people can go 'n get educations, run for office, become doctors and lawyers, 'n they can marry WHITE men, and WHITE WOMEN!

    And this is it, 'the right to bear arms,' where the pasty white man has decided to make his "Last Stand!"
    "Custard's Last Stand!"

  • joe corso on January 15, 2013 2:06 PM:

    Several years ago AP carried a story from Ohio with the following headline:

    Shooting in evangelical church

    Second place finalist in Bible scripture-quoting contest fatally shoots winner.

  • ComradeAnon on January 15, 2013 3:36 PM:

    How long since you spent time in Cobb County Ed? I expect for Johnson Ferry Baptist to have a "Let's bring our guns to Church" day. Hell, they've already had their "Let Freedom Ring" event.

  • Polly Briley on January 16, 2013 11:33 AM:

    When I graduated from Marietta High School in 1981 before heading off to the glory of the Dawg Pound, the Cobb County Schools looked at our little diverse school distract as a dangerous place full of "big city ideas." That next town over, Kennesaw, saw itself as the salvation for those who found Marietta just too mixed for their safety.

    As I returned last year for a visit, I saw the racial, economic and ethnic line creeping towards that northern exurb line of defense. Smyrna, Austell, Mableton have fallen to the sway of diversity. Kennesaw and Acworth are the last remaining hopes for the Cobb County hegemony defenders. East Marietta is trying to hold the line, but the upward economically mobile racial and ethnics are threatening the purity of the Roswell Street neighborhoods.

    The last remaining monument to the God fearing protectors of our "way of life," Roswell St. Baptist church, continues to lift it's white old rugged cross above the diversity masses. Pastor Price may not be spreading The Word from the pulpit to my t.v. every Sunday, but the Marietta Daily Journal makes sure his legacy of "God, Guns and Gays" is proselytized on the news pages and in Pastor Price's editorial page to all the representatives protecting and preserving "The Great Cause."

    State Rep. Charles Gregory, Pastor Price and Kennesaw are all that is holding closed the doors of hell from Obama's land of aggression.