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Mark Shields
Mark Shields
19 Jul 2014
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Guns in the Workplace, NOT for Pro-Gun Politicians


Its official title is the "Safe Carry Protection Act," and when it was signed by Georgia's Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, the National Rifle Association praised it as the "most comprehensive pro-gun bill in state history." That's because, under its provisions, Georgia residents are now able to carry guns into churches, bars and public buildings. Georgia teachers, with a green light from their school board, can carry guns into their classrooms. This may explain why the statute is better known as the "Guns Everywhere" law.

While Christ remains for many the true Prince of Peace, and while firearms in churches do seem wildly inappropriate, you have to concede that it could provide a new definition for the often-coerced marriage commonly known as a "shotgun wedding." As to the wisdom of mixing guns and alcohol in a crowded public place on a raucous Friday night, 19th-century Americans in Dodge City, Kansas, were a lot smarter than that.

But here's the inconsistency. Those same Georgia legislators who championed the "Guns Everywhere" law "to arm law-abiding citizens in order to confront and to take down, if necessary, armed law-breakers" in libraries or fast-food restaurants exempt one place where Georgians cannot bear arms: the state capitol in Atlanta — the very place where those legislators work.

Georgia legislators are not alone in voting to keep guns out of their own workplace. Three-dozen states, which, like all 50, have their own concealed-carry laws that permit citizens to carry guns into public places, specifically prohibit law-abiding citizens from bringing firearms into their state capitols, where, incidentally, those very legislators can be found.

Credit goes to Esme Deprez and William Selway of Business Week for capturing this glaring inconsistency, which some might even call hypocrisy on the part of pro-gun politicians, when they interviewed South Dakota Republican Rep.

Steve Hickey who owns 17 firearms, is a dues-paying NRA member and favors the untrammeled right of South Dakotans to pack heat in public places, that is except the state capitol, where, according to Hickey, "We have the most contentious issues being debated in public policy, affecting people in irate, angrily ways and affecting millions and millions of dollars."

Here in Washington, within the space of five days, two law-abiding Americans, the press secretary for U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., and the past president of the National Turkey Federation and the president-elect of the National Pork Producers Council, were separately arrested and jailed after Capitol police found each trying to bring a pistol and ammunition into the Cannon House Office Building, which connects to the Capitol. If found guilty, the sentence could be five years in jail.

Capitol Hill, where Congress spends its time, has become an armed camp with uniformed and plain-clothes security people everywhere. It's true that in 1998 there was a tragic shooting, resulting in the deaths of two Capitol Hill police officers. But that was 16 years ago, long before four-fifths of the current House Members had even come to Washington, and before the strong national movement to expand citizens' right to carry firearms where they choose.

It 's clear these pro-gun/anti-gun control politicians must believe that more citizens carrying more guns in the community or the workplace will make you and me safer. But somehow these same politicians do not believe those same citizens with those same firearms would make the state capitol and U.S. Capitol safer places. They believe these citizens could somehow be a threat to THEM.

If more guns were to make people safer, then the United States — which, with 310 million guns in private hands, leads all nations — would be the safest place on Earth.

To find out more about Mark Shields and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at




6 Comments | Post Comment
Mark: I ejnjoy your anaylsis on the PBS Newshour each Friday. I do have a question; if the kids in Honduras and the other other 2 Central American countires have to leave their home country, why aren't they moving to Panana, or somewhere safe in South America?

Has anyone ever floated that idea? It seems to me that these kids have other options other than sneaking into the US.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Barry Margolis
Fri Jul 25, 2014 4:47 PM
Sir;... I used to regularly and illegally carry weapons, either a 9mm smith, or a 357 smith revolver, both of which I have used for hunting and killed deer with... I used to sleep with one of them under my pillow until I learned that people would someimes have vivid dreams that resulted in them shooting themselves in the foot... If you see what damage a round can do to a living body, of a body more perfectly designed for life than ours are, it makes you take life after a hole in a foot at something less than full stride...
When I was young, I was afraid of people, afraid of life, afraid of death, and in my fear, people should have been afraid of me... Now, for various reason, I don't care... I might kill to protect some one I love or know, but I don't know if I value my own life so highly I would kill for it...I can't decide that in advance...I will have to see how I feel when I get there...
I have a few friends in the military, good people, trying to support their families, who would never take one step off their path to injure another, who would- if asked -be stone killers for our government... One, while out of the military, asked me to write a recommendation for him to become a deputy sheriff... I said: no harm or judgement intended, but I can not... It is one thing to kill in hot blood, and often it is possible to justify it; but any person who could strap on a gun every single working day, and say: Today I might have to kill a living human being- Is mad... I don't recommend insanity...
I trust most of my fellow citizens more than the law to show common sense... If they want to carry guns; then fine... It adds to the general level of politness; but that is small to begin with... My wife has a permit to carry and until she finds something better, she can have my 9... I don't need to carry, and I don't... I practice self defense, enough so I am prepared for the fight of my life; but that is the end of it... People who point a gun at me at close range are more in danger of dying from it than I am; but I never look for trouble...
These amatures who might carry a gun to the bank or a cash transaction are not mad, but may be a little stupid...
I object personally to the idea of -under cover of authority- risking the worst of all possible sins, that one for which no one can be made whole.... That man who talked of the way people make gods when none of us can make a worm had it about right... Gods are easier to make than people... As I told my military friend: think of what you may be forced to take a life over... Almost everything we kill for, that people destroy life for- is so trivial... We as a society could make almost every victim whole out of our surpluses if it was our desire...
Too often our desire is to kill... One of my own people once shot a man for stealing his beer... He owned a party store and warehouse, and was regularly being ripped off; so he laid in wait with a deer rifle, and shot a man who broke in for beer... It turned out to be a young soldier home on leave, and not the one at all who had been doing the B and Es... It hurt him, and it added the weight of guilt to his years, and I think it killed him; and that meant that he was a moral man... The object is to find our morality before the fact of murder...
I cannot look in anticipation toward the killing of a human being... I think I have contributed to a couple of abortions, and though I believe they should be legal, they weigh on me... Before I was 25, I broke 9 of the 10 commandments and repeatedly in some instances; but I have never killed anyone exactly, and I will thank God if I never again feel I must... If life is sacred, so is the stuff of life sacred; and though I have a lot of nice trash, it is trash none the less compared to the great gift of life... If some one feels they must have my trash then have it; and if they are nice, they will come and ask me for help first... All life gives us we give back with life, with the end of life... Everyone pays with their life for their life... We have so much in common with each other that we deny with the power of life or death... Are we so much better if they steal trash, and we steal their lives???
Look at the great wealth of this place... Why do we suffer these Spartan choices??? Will we send little children to a hell from which they have escaped??? Will we let the poor suffer without medical care??? Will we let the old starve because their mortgages take all their money??? These are not hard moral choices... These are immoral choices made hard by the failure to answer much easier moral questions well or completely...
So don't look to me to stand my ground... I have no ground... I do not draw lines in the sand... There is nothing I cannot live without, but life... My choice to to prepare myself for life, and let others plan for death, and I will go easy into the shadow of the valley of death having nothing, wanting nothing, asking nothing of God or man...
Comment: #2
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Sat Jul 26, 2014 7:08 AM
Re: Barry Margolis;... These babes on our door step are our problems... They do not get to be less our problems because we refuse them, and ship them away... I would advise America to end their part in the export of violence and death... And then, to open up every free home to these children in the hope of reclaiming all who have not been entirely emotionally, and spiritually destroyed by violence and injustice... We do not have to be responsible for the cause of the problem to take care of the problem where it affect us... I would tell all of them they are being shipped back; and every one we can, smuggle away unnoticed into our own homes and families, and make them ours...
I would not send adults into the sorts of hell from which these children have escaped... Have we lost our hearts and souls in search of a balanced budget... You would not believe how often I think of the line from the movie the: Grapes of Wrath, where JC, the Jesus character tries to talk people out of attacking the migrant labor camp... There's women and children in there, fellers... If our economy has robbed us of our humanity it is past time to reconcider it...
Comment: #3
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Sat Jul 26, 2014 7:21 AM
We overthrew the gov't in Honduras about a year ago and our hands are dirty throughout Central America. When we INSTALL their leaders or arm their rebels, we have some responsibility to the people. When we foment civil wars, we don't really get to act shocked about the refugees.
Comment: #4
Posted by: steveM
Sat Jul 26, 2014 9:38 AM
Re: steveM;... We can act shocked... If you tell the right how rotten their government is, it will be news to them, and in fifteen minutes with will still be news... Point out the dirty crap we do in other places and our right says we are unpatriotic... Maybe so; but it grants me full membership in the human race to care one little bit that this government, and my people act with intelligence and reason, and everywhere and to all people do justice...
Comment: #5
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Sat Jul 26, 2014 11:22 AM
James, i share with you some of my favorite quotes for reflect much of own inner thoughts:

"In times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
- George Orwell

"The propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human."
- Aldous Huxley

"There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people."
- Howard Zinn

"Few of us can easily surrender our belief that society must somehow make sense. The thought that the state has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. And so the evidence has to be internally denied."
- Arthur Miller

"If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal."
- Emma Goldman

Comment: #6
Posted by: steveM
Sat Jul 26, 2014 2:15 PM
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