At the time, Col. Mark McDonough said the officers could no longer be "outgunned" in a "mean, ugly world." The natural course of action - given the stark, dystopian world we live in - was to arm an additional 40 law enforcement personnel with even deadlier weapons.
A few weeks after those remarks, the issue of gun control took center stage in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The conversation continues to dominate the national political landscape and there's even been some proposals to ban assault weapons in Georgia.
Two months after the initial announcement, those weapons have finally landed in the hands of the state's vigilant troopers. Atlanta Journal-Constitution political columnist Jim Galloway earlier today wrote about the arrival of semi-automatic weapons outside the State Capitol, saying that:
The upgrade in firepower isn't precisely incident specific - but you can hear echoes of Sandy Hook Elementary School in the explanation from Col. Mark McDonough, commissioner of the state Department of Public Safety.
We were outside the Senate chamber, and McDonough pointed to the rotunda below us: "See all those children down there?" he asked. The Capitol is routinely filled with students on field trips this time of year.
Officers once armed only with handguns will be walking around the Capitol with M-6 carbines, a variant of the AR-15. We don't have to explain the irony. Not all officers will be so armed - just enough to make a public statement.
McDonough makes the case that the only way to combat potential threats is to take preemptive measures in the form of high-capacity firearms. Finally, someone thinks about the children!
Galloway also noted that an "armed rally" celebrating the ever-so-cherished Second Amendment will take place on the Gold Dome's steps this Friday. No word yet, however, on whether the troopers plan to participate in the event.
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