Posted: 9:00 am Saturday, April 26th, 2014

Georgia’s new gun law and Jason Carter’s conundrum 

By Jim Galloway

Last week, two days before Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law the gun bill that has brought our state so much national attention, his Democratic challenger appeared before a friendly MSNBC camera.

After the inoffensive preliminaries, interviewer Chuck Todd raised a most delicate issue for state Sen. Jason Carter and his still-young campaign for governor.

When HB 60 passed the General Assembly last month, Carter was one of only four Democratic lawmakers to support the measure – and the sole Democrat in the Senate to do so. So why did he vote for a measure that puts more concealed weaponry in bars, churches, schools and many – if not most – government buildings?

State Sen. Jason Carter, the Democratic candidate for governor. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

State Sen. Jason Carter, the Democratic candidate for governor. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

“I know a lot of national Democrats and others have been upset or angry about this, and I’ve heard from a lot of them,” said Carter, who, like Deal, pointed out that more objectionable features of the legislation, such as a campus-carry provision, had been removed.

“But ultimately,” Carter said, “you’re talking about people who have a license to carry in a state where the Second Amendment is incredibly important.”

On the topic of arming school personnel, the grandson of the former president spoke like a man trying to stand astride two stampeding horses.

“There’s not an issue that I know of that’s more geographically polarizing than guns,” he said. “There are some communities in my state that will feel safer if their school districts are allowed to make those decisions. And there are other communities where they won’t. And those communities will get to decide for themselves.”

That was Carter’s final spoken word on the matter last week. He and his campaign refused all invitations to elaborate. Carter even ducked a reporter at Thursday’s state Democratic party fundraiser in Atlanta.

Democrats have now been out of power for a dozen years in Georgia. They’ve gotten a bit rusty when it comes to the topic of firearms. That goes for both candidates and the rank-and-file.

We forget the extent to which Democratic governors were allied with the National Rifle Association in the old days. In both his 1998 and 2002 campaigns for governor, Roy Barnes carried the imprimatur of the NRA. In 2003, on a trip through Atlanta in anticipation of his run for president the next year, former Vermont Gov. Howard “Yeehaw” Dean touted his NRA credentials.

Carter well understands this. One clue to his statewide ambitions has been that fact that, while he represents a relatively liberal Atlanta enclave, Carter carries an “A” rating from the NRA – and that was before his vote for HB 60 last month.

In fact, you might say that Carter has been channeling his inner Zell Miller, who first gave voice to the need for Georgia Democrats – and national ones – to stay on the right side of gun owners.

In the early 1990s, efforts to stop the spread of Saturday night specials and assault weapons with week-long waiting periods and stiffer background checks were highly popular – even in the South. “It was polling, like 90-10, in a Democratic primary,” said Keith Mason, Miller’s chief of staff.

Miller resisted jumping on board, but couldn’t explain why until his pollster fashioned a question that went something like this: When I hear a candidate talk about gun control, I sometimes wonder if he or she shares my values.

“That’s where the number flips,” Mason said. “I’m sure some of that was playing into Jason’s thinking. He probably didn’t want to have this election about some social issue.”

Carter has made Republican cuts to education a centerpiece of his campaign. It’s a topic that resonates in rural Georgia. As does the gun issue. Credibility on one issue rests on the other.

But we are not in the 1990s. The dead school children of Sandy Hook Elementary School may not have been able to stir Congress, but they have had an impact. “I don’t think the NRA enjoys the level of support among some of the politicians of the country that it did before — particularly after some of these situations that have occurred,” Mason said. “There have been some unfortunate comments made by people on both sides.”

Earlier this week, I indulged in the theory that damage caused by Carter’s support of the gun bill would be limited to his national fundraising efforts. But the impact may be broader, and more subtle.

After Deal signed the gun bill, Democratic fundraiser Kristin Oblander of Atlanta sent a message to her friends via Twitter, noting that she owned both a shotgun and pistol (and a concealed carry permit). But HB 60 was a bad bill, she said.

“I’m all for self-protection, but this goes a step beyond that,” the fundraiser said.

Oblander is an entrenched Democrat. Her support for Carter can’t be shaken by a single vote. That may not be the case for others. Voter enthusiasm among minorities and women is a large part of the formula for turning Georgia from red to blue, and the state’s new gun law is unlikely to poll well with women as a whole.

The supposition is that, because Deal and Carter’s positions on the gun bill are identical, Carter would be protected from GOP attack. But in this new age of Super PACs, it would surprise no one if a Republican pot of money is waiting in reserve to make female voters aware of Carter’s role in the passage of HB 60.

In other words, Carter’s support for HB 60 and his silence are two parts of the same conundrum. He couldn’t cast a vote against the gun bill, but he doesn’t dare brag about it.

283 comments
Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Jason " Don't call me Jimmy " Carter is just another Democrat Hipocirt who tries to play both ends against the middle to get elected, he is doing his best to keep his Grandfather under the porch and keep the likes of Lewis, Scott, Johnson and Reed quite. He knows he will get the low information voter and the Lata drinkers in Decatur. Just like Michelle Nunn who is also doing her best at keeping her mouth shut so no one knows where she stands on issues. All losers

Bill OrvisWhite
Bill OrvisWhite

Jimmy's grandson is a fraud. He's doing anything he can to get elected. It would be a disaster for Georgia to go back and elect a member from the Democrat party to be governor. The honorable Gov. Deal has a solid record of fiscal responsibility and creating job$. This race is a waste of time to even look at as a threat to Gov. Deal. It's a no-brainer that Gov. Deal will win with at least 70% of the vote. He'll crush Jimmy's Marxist grandson. Amen, Bill 

tarbaby
tarbaby

Think I will open a BAR in downtown crime infested ATLANTA and the name will be

THE OK CORRAL.

Old_Man
Old_Man

Saw another article about a Gwinnett murder-suicide couple today, by shooting of course.

But I'm sure that up until yesterday they were safer because they had a gun.  That's obvious, because no one ever broke in and shot them.  Not even once.  So there's your proof, eh?

Old_Man
Old_Man

The guy in Forsyth County was brandishing his weapon?

I would feel pretty threatened by that, and I might have to "stand my ground."

Oh, he was white?

Never mind.

Old_Man
Old_Man

Statistically, there is a significant relationship in the U.S. between the percentage of gun ownership and the incidence of gun murders.  The higher the percentage of gun ownership, the higher the rate of gun murders.  This does not even take into account accidents, suicides, etc.

It just puzzles me that people have such a love affair with their firearms.  To the point that they are willing to sacrifice human beings--and quite likely the ones closest to them.  

Very strange.

IggyDad
IggyDad

Mr Galloway states:  "Carter has made Republican cuts to education a centerpiece of his campaign. It’s a topic that resonates in rural Georgia. As does the gun issue. Credibility on one issue rests on the other."  

How the heck does "credibility" on gun issues have an effect on Carter's advocacy for adequately funding and supporting education?  That's absurd.

Da_Man
Da_Man

You guys just don't get it. This was election year red meat to camouflage the fact that nothing of substance was passed by this legislature this session. Other than one bill the Private Probation companies had to pay for because a judge found their current practices unconstitutional last year. We here at Da_Man are perfectly fine with wait til next year to get our returns on investments. Of course we were hoping the young Mr. Carter would take the bait and vote against it but c'est la vie.

mgt87
mgt87

UGA runs this state! Number 1 in bankruptcy, last in mental health, physical health and education. 45% of youth don't graduate highschool beating the national 40% average. You Dawgs must be so proud. More guns for mentally ill. Go dawgs.

wregl
wregl

He did it for money or favors. There is no reason a guy with a D behind his name as glaring as a Carter's would ever vote for such a gun law without extreme motivation. To do it while trying to run for higher office is either stupid or he wants us to be stupid enough to look past his decision and vote. Either way he wont get my vote. Too much of this kind of politics gets us BILLION dollar baseball stadiums and school cut backs in the same county. No incumbents until the Czarist purges are complete.

bulleston
bulleston

Let me get this straight......Georgia lags national average in high school graduation rates, employment and strength of economy.....and a bunch of idiot redneck politicians focus their time and efforts on even more gun rights.....way to go with the priorities there

Nobody_Knows
Nobody_Knows

td1234

Your hero Barge doesn't support the new gun law yet you continue to cheer for him and wear that cheer-leading outfit and bloomers with a B on them.

Your choice but it is slightly hypocritical to say the least that you seem concerned that there are Carter supporters who don't support all of Carter's positions.

Don't drown in all that hypocrisy and irony.  


What is that Facebook page saying today?  You know the one that you think is telling the real story of what is going down in the Republican primary.


LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DavidHoffman
DavidHoffman

The new gun laws only legalize what many law abiding people in the State of Georgia have been doing for decades. They have carried well concealed firearms into churches, post offices, stores, movie theaters, and restaurants. Since they picked handguns that could be well concealed, only they knew they were carrying the firearm. Only the most broad shouldered and tallest people could carry concealed something like a Desert Eagle or Wildey. 

The new law is similar to the raising of speed limits on Interstate Highways above 55 mph. 99% of the drivers were going faster than 55mph. The public knew the law was created in haste by panicky politicians who had no clue how the Interstate Highway should be overseen. Eventually more calm, level headed, educated politicians came into power and have rescinded or modified some of the illogical speed limits.  A similar change has occurred with most of the new firearms laws. The use of sound suppressed firearms on private hunting land is an interesting compromise. The suppressors cost a lot, do not last long, and require the shooter to adjust for slightly different ballistics from unsuppressed shooting. It might turn out to be a short lived fad, but it will be contained to private land.

Kamchak
Kamchak

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/04/26/georgia-man-flaunts-gun-at-local-little-league-field-intimidating-parents-and-children/

A Georgia man panicked parents and children at a local park and baseball field by randomly walking around and displaying his gun to anyone he encountered in the parking lot.

According to witnesses who spoke with WSB-TV, the man wandered around the Forsythe County park last Tuesday night showing his gun to strangers, telling them “there’s nothing you can do about it.”

“Anyone who was just walking by – you had parents and children coming in for the game – and he’s just standing here, walking around [saying] ‘You want to see my gun? Look, I got a gun and there’s nothing you can do about it.’ He knew he was frightening people. He knew exactly what he was doing,” said parent Karen Rabb.

Rhettbutler
Rhettbutler

I am very proud that the democrats were removed from power. They supported the removal of our State Flag and were punished accordingly. This has made my state very conservative and puts a lid on the whiners and complainers on the other side. Now we have a flag that is the First National Confederate Flag. The first official flag of the Confederate Government. All is good in Dixy.

BillArmstrong
BillArmstrong

There is a place where you can go shoot and kill all the bad guys you want...all you have to do is raise your right hand and put on the uniform of the U.S military. Guess that's a little too real for some of you huh?

yoyo50
yoyo50

Wow...RED STATE TO RED COUNTRY.....Which direction you want to go?????? Neither......President Obama is having problem with Republican Party who are out for themselves...Down with Education, Healthcare, and a sound peace of Mind......

honested
honested

Let's not lose sight of the simple fact that Senator Carter's ONE controversial vote does not dampen the nearly FOUR YEARS of terrible oversight of Georgia's executive branch by nathan deal.

td1234
td1234

@Nobody_Knows  Barge said he does not support the law as it does not allow local bar owners to opt out of allowing guns in their places of business and that is the only place he disagrees with Carter and Deal on this law. 


I understand where he is coming from but I just disagree with him on this part. 

Andy123
Andy123

@DavidHoffman

We have a winner!  Every day in Georgia, thousands of parents were dropping their kids off at school with a gun in the car and technically breaking the law even though they had a CCP.  Now those parents are no longer breaking the law.  

Not to mention, every day thousands of people in Georgia with CCPs eat at chain restaurants with alcohol for sale for consumption on site (aka a bar) and had their pistols in their purses or on their ankles.  Now suddenly these people are legal to carry a concealed weapon into Chili's.  My wife  has had a carry permit for years and never took her gun out of her purse when entering a 'bar'. 

Lanny44
Lanny44

@Kamchak  That that idiot could take his gun out of the holster without being punished is wrong. The danger of an accident happening is just too great. You're not allowed to drive 90 MPH are you?A good solution to that problem would be, if you take the gun out of its holster without intending to use it, you must always have it pointed at yourself.


yoyo50
yoyo50

@Kamchak  I guess Gov Deal did not have no IDEAL when the NRA hook him.....Gov Deal did not see the SNOWSTORM coming  ....

DS
DS

@Kamchak  This law was written with unrealistic expectations about human behavior. The authors think every person carrying is a fine, upstanding, responsible citizen with good sense of right and wrong.

This incident shows that this was wishful thinking. And so now we have unbalanced nuts walking around little league games toting a gun and looking for a confrontation. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, this time.

It wouldn't be hard to write gun laws based upon a more realistic understanding of human behavior, allowing 2nd amendment rights while preserving public safety.

Until then, who wants to go to little league games, movies, public parks, shopping, restaurants, bars, etc., with nuts like this running around?

honested
honested

@Kamchak  

And, it's just a matter of time until he is confronted by an equally childish individual with similar armament but different temperment.

I hope no children are injured in the crossfire.

DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

@Kamchak Hiya Kam!  Well Kam that man represents the New South -- the new south is basically the old south but they added "New" in the name. 


Expect more like him and expect more police / citizen's deaths.  Deal must be so proud.

yoyo50
yoyo50

@Rhettbutler  You do not know your history,  dude....United States Flag represent unity for all states not just the south( ALL STATES)......Confederate flag was slap in the face which show the world that United States not unify....I rather be a whiner and a complainer  and being the Christian, American and a solider for all the People..... 

AvailableName
AvailableName

@honested  The man is a member of the NRA.  I'll probably end up voting for him but I won't like it. Why do I always have to vote for the lesser evil?  I live in Georgia?  Oh yeah.

td1234
td1234

@honested  So you approve of Carter's vote to have a Constitutional Amendment to cap the states income tax at its current levels? 


Do you support his stand on allowing the Confederate battle emblem on our tags? 

Nobody_Knows
Nobody_Knows

@td1234 @Nobody_Knows 

Then quit whining when others disagree with an issue of a candidate they support.  


Rationalizing when you do it but crying when others do it is not rational

Mitchellbrooks
Mitchellbrooks

@Andy123  



You guys should really study and learn current law.  It is already legal to carry a gun while dropping off and picking up children at school.  It has been legal to carry in restaurant bars (like Chilis) since 2008 and consume alcohol there while carrying since 2010. "Bar" as it applies to firearms carry includes very few establishments in GA.  Most Bar and Grill type places are restaurants as far as firearm laws in GA are concerned and have been legal to carry into for several years.


There is so much misinformation out there as to what current law is and what HB60 does that 3/4 comments I read on this new law are factually incorrect.

DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

@DS - "The authors think every person carrying is a fine, upstanding, responsible citizen with good sense of right and wrong."


Well DS I think that you may believe in your heart that those authors had a good idea that went awry at the last minute and it had nothing whatsoever to do with that big old NRA check they probably got stashed in the Cayman Islands.   


but that's just because you seem to be an honest type person who wouldn't dream that one of our elected officials would sell the state out for a little side money or a trip to Euro Disney or work hard for that NRA endorsement and funds to go into their re-election campaign treasure chest.


Well, I guess that's what you get for being an honest type person -- you've just been NRA'd (the equivalent of being punked).

honested
honested

@DS  

I believe a couple of generations will be required with strong elementary school improvements in order to demonstrate from a very early age there are places WHERE GUNS SHOULD NOT BE PRESENT.

I realize it is hard to teach common sense but I do believe it is possible.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@DebbieDoRight

Greetings and salutations, DDR

That guy was being a d0uche-bag, plain and simple.

Nobody_Knows
Nobody_Knows

@td1234 @honested 

Do you support all of Barge's position's?

Nope: See his stance on the new gun law.   So you have no leg to stand on when it comes to somoene not supporting all of Carter's positions.

All you have is your typical whine. 

 

yoyo50
yoyo50

@td1234 @honested  Gov Purdue made that same statement about the FLAG And announce later that he was running for Governor....History is being repeat...Now, Georgia is beautiful state but the politic  STINK....

honested
honested

@td1234 @honested 

I can accept both those irrelevant considerations.

I'm no longer seeking purity in a candidate.

When the choices are good and terrible I can go with good, as terrible has been weighing on us for four years.

honested
honested

@td1234 @Nobody_Knows 

tiny dog,

No worries. 

Barge will get his 6% of the vote and then fade into obscurity.

I realize that barge's accomplishments are zero, which should make him a shoo-in for higher office, but when he is up against a crook, well you know how republicans will vote.

Nobody_Knows
Nobody_Knows

@td1234 @Nobody_Knows 

Don't forget to take your yearbook when Barge and yourself tour the governor's mansion

He might even sign it after all these years

LOL

Nobody_Knows
Nobody_Knows

@td1234 @Nobody_Knows 

Says the blogger who makes excuses for Barge and the gun law,

tiny dog is still upset because he said Romney would win

wasn't it you that cried about how the polls were skewed before the last election

LOL

td1234
td1234

@Nobody_Knows @td1234  The only one "crying" seems to be you. 


I can not help it that your Messiah Obama is not running in the Georgia election for you to bow down and lick his boots. 

DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

@CherokeeCounty -- the gun nuts are right cherokeecounty!  that guy wasn't flaunting his weapon.  In the gun nut dictionary to flaunt a weapon would be to actually SHOOT the weapon for no apparent reason. 


This guy was just showing his weapon, (probably using it as a phallic symbol no doubt), to women and children so everyone could see him for the manly man that he was.  He was NOT flaunting -- only using his 2nd Amd. rights to show that his was bigger.


Know your gun nut definitions before you post next time!  :)

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

....but that can't be right - per the gun nuts, anyone who packs heat is an upstanding American who would never break a law or flaunt his weapon....

honested
honested

@CherokeeCounty  

Funny how that is always displayed by an individual who has no concept of 'fair' taxation and no allegiance to the concept.

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

Yep.

Along with the FairTax sticker on the back window.