Permits, classes sought by Georgia gun owners

9:43 PM, Jan 10, 2013   |    comments
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New law raises questions about where permitted pistols may be taken in Georgia.

MARIETTA, Ga. -- Last month, Cobb County had more applications for concealed weapon permits than it had in any month in the last six years, according to the Probate court that manages such permits.  It's on pace to have even more this month.

"I travel some by myself. So it's always good to have some protection. And not be afraid to use it," said Sallie Underwood, who was applying for a permit for her .38 revolver Thursday.

The desire for protection, permit applicants say, is heightened by horrifying incidents of mass murder now too numerous to count.  But it extends to politics-- those of the second amendment, and those of gun control.  

"And I just don't think that anything like that should supercede our second amendment rights," said Michele Benoit, who was applying to renew her permit to carry a firearm.

"Considering everything that's going on politically, we're not sure really how long we have to fill this (permit application) out," said Raven Danger, who was sitting nearby applying for a permit as well.

The twin triggers of gun politics and self-protection now inflate the lines of people at gun shows, like one in Cobb County a few days ago.  It drives the purchase of ammunition to the point of shortage.  And it swells the ranks of people attending a firearms safety seminar scheduled later this month in Marietta.

"This seminar here has actually exploded in popularity," said
Officer David Baldwin of the Marietta Police Department.  He says he has booked an 800 seat auditorium for a gun class that usually seats one hundred.

"One of the biggest questions we get is 'when can I legally defend myself?' and by using deadly force," Baldwin said.

In Georgia, the voices of gun control are a small minority in a red state where even Democrats boast of their ties to the NRA.  One has introduced a bill to restrict assault rifles.  But the Georgia legislature also has bills pre-filed that would allow guns on university campuses and in churches and would allow concealed weapons without permits.

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