I am sorry to share how disappointed I am with your reporting on this event. I recognize that you are early in your career and that your editorial experience thus far has been with an outlet that focuses on delivering commentary rather than reporting. (That isn't a ding, I am a big fan of the Voice family of newspapers.) However, your reporting here contains not only factual errors and questionable sources, but you clearly have allowed your own feelings to "season" your reporting of this event and the related issues. Please remember what was inevitably harped upon on your first day of J-school -- a reporter's job is to report the facts in a neutral, unbiased manner and to report the story rather than participating in it.
I am glad Creative Loafing is giving you a chance to build your experience and credentials. It is a fantastic outlet and part of a family of newspapers with considerable reach and influence. Please make the most of this opportunity and use it as an opportunity to hone your reporting skills as well as your editorial skills. I don't expect you to publish a retraction of the factual errors or a new version of your coverage that is more neutral in its tone -- Creative Loafing doesn't seem to do much of that under any circumstances -- but I hope to see your commitment to journalistic integrity reflected in your future articles.
Please ignore the personal attacks here. Calling you "scrawny" and the tone of many of these posts attempting to correct erroneous facts contained within your article is unnecessarily rude.
I hope you enjoy the remainder of your time in Atlanta.
Scott, your piece is heavy on on emotion and desperately lean on facts.
There are measures we should take at the state and national level to reduce the amount of violence in our society. Banning certain firearms over cosmetic features, limiting magazine capacities that would make less than a two-second difference in an active-shooter's rampage (but reduce you and me the ability to defend our families against criminals who will use them anyway), and require additional background checks that the criminals will not submit to anyway are not those measures. They may "feel good" but even President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Mayor Bloomberg have indicated that such measures will not prevent the next Aurora, Sandy Hook or Virginia Tech.
What's worse, these "feel good" measures distract us from taking action on things that can save lives and reduce the amount of violence in our society. Including mental health records in federally-mandated NICS background checks, prosecuting those who lie on background check forms, increasing and enforcing penalties for illegal firearms possession, and helping at-risk targets (like schools) prevent and better respond to active shooters will save more lives than anything Donzella James, Diane Fienstein, the Brady Campaign, and the entire membership of Mayors Against Gun Violence have ever proposed, much less accomplished.
It is easier for politicians (and some journalists, apparently) to grandstand rather than take a stand, set aside their own ambitions and pursue solutions that may not feel as good but actually can save lives. Fortunately we are blessed with politicians here in Georgia willing to do just that.
Thrilled to hear it, Dan! Let's see if we can get some community safety-oriented dinner programs scheduled to take advantage of your wonderful side-room and new menu once you re-open.
I'm really sorry to hear about this. The menu had its ups and downs, but was definitely back on the upswing with the return of Ryan Stewart. More importantly, Dan and his partners were always looking for ways to put something back into the community from which they derived their revenues. I will miss them as much for their having been such good neighbors as for having served great food.
KCG, the difference between houses of worship and courthouses is that houses of worship are private property. One of the plaintiffs in this lawsuit is a minister who owns the chuch and resides on the property who is not permitted to have a firearm in his own home or to allow others to bring firearms onto his property. Overturning this law would not open the doors of the vestibule to anyone packing a Georgia Weapons License, rather, it would allow private property owners to choose whether or how firearms could be carried on their property -- just as you could make that determination regarding your own home.
Imagine if the state legislature passed a law dictating that you were not permitted to have some otherwise perfectly legal item (for example, sugared soft drinks) in your own home or allow others to bring that item into your home for some arbitrary reason (for example, that you reside within 1000' of a school). Would you be in support of such an infringement of your private property rights?
Yes, the "items" in this case are guns rather than sodas, and guns are a divisive issue that typically evoke a strong emotional response (on both sides -- love them or hate them). However, this case is equally about private property rights and the constitutionality of restricting those rights when it comes to otherwise legal actions and items.
COA, I appreciate that "guns" represent an uncomfortable subject for you. I won't try to change the way you feel about them, or the recent changes to Georgia's gun laws. However, I will share a few things that I hope will give you some comfort:
(1) Obtaining a Georgia Firearms License requires far more than "passing a simple background check." It is a much more extensive and detailed process than many realize. Please see my earlier comment on this article for additional details.
(2) Long-term studies of firearms license holders in states like Texas and Florida indicate someone licensed to carry a firearm is between eight and fourteen (depends on the study) times less likely to commit a crime than the general population of the state. We (I hold a GFL myself) are proven "good guys."
(3) Even gun-control advocacy groups like the Brady Center are hard-pressed to find more than a handful of examples where someone licensed to carry a firearm has used it to commit a violent crime or has accidentally shot someone. I can't speak for the community of Georgia's 300,000+ GFL-holders as a group, but I can say that the vast majority of those I have met consider gun ownership and carry as a serious responsibility -- and seek training, follow safety practices and otherwise take that responsibility seriously.
(4) Given all of the above, and considering that not a single gun would have been removed from the hands of criminals if HB8 had not passed and been signed into law, the practical impact on you is negligible. You are no more likely now to be a vicim of gun violence than you were before HB89 and may actually be less likely -- other credible, long-term studies have demonstrated that an increase in individuals licensed to carry firearms results in a decrease in violent crime (presumably through a deterrent effect).
Having said all of the above, if you still cannot abide the thought of your neighbor, or co-worker or fellow commuter being licensed to carry a firearm, there are places in the US and elsewhere in the world where strict limits are placed on gun ownership and licensed carry, or it is banned outright. One of the reasons I choose to live in Georgia is a reason you might choose to live elsewhere -- Georgia is not one of those places. I'm not suggesting you should pick up and move, but you have the right to leave for the same reason I choose to stay -- Georgia respects the right of law-abiding citizens to maintain the ability to defend themselves against those who would cause us harm.
Changes in the law regarding carrying a firearm in a city park. In your story, you mention that the new laws would allow you to carry a firearm while rollerblading in Piedmont Park. In fact, you had the right to do so as of changes in state law made in 1996. However, the City of Atlanta elected to preempt state law and forbid such licensed carry until successfully challenged by GeorgiaCarry.Org in court, where they [EDIT - City of Atlanta] lost. The change in the law brought about by House Bill 89 allows for the carry of firearms in *state* parks, which previously was prohibited by state law.
(Unfortunately us non-journalist types don't have good editors and proofreaders readily available - grin)
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