Law contains many flaws
The state’s rapid-fire passage of a gun law is over, but it left controversy in its wake.
Some of the provisions are sensible, but others are questionable or wrongheaded.
New rules requiring safe storage of guns, reporting stolen weapons within 24 hours and more severe penalties for people who shoot at first responders fall in the sensible category. Common sense says you don’t leave guns lying around, and life in prison without parole seems right for shooters who try to kill responders. Theoretically, extra money to schools for metal detectors, surveillance cameras and security doors sounds good if schools are able to maintain them.
We also see merit in the law’s requirement that background checks be done for private gun sales except to immediate relatives, and for ammunition sales.
Then there are the questionable parts of the bill.
It requires a state registry of pistol-permit holders and assault-weapons owners and five-year recertifications to ensure the owners still can legally own the weapons. Fulton County Sheriff Thomas Lorey pointed out this is an expensive administrative burden for local law enforcement, but a potentially new revenue source for the state.
Also questionable is the quasi-law-enforcement role placed on therapists, doctors, nurses and social workers who are required to report a client they believe could hurt themselves or others. Some experts worry this could discourage some patients from getting help and cause some mental health providers to ignore the law.
The limitation of weapons magazines to seven rounds – three rounds below the federal limit – seems like nonsense. What makes seven the magic number?
Tucked away in this legislation is another serious concern: It allows local authorities to withhold the identities of registered gun owners, infringing on the public’s right to know.
The state’s hurriedly assembled gun-control law clearly is flawed.