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HB 120 A bill to impose training requirements

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It seems that every session there is an attempt to impose a training requirement upon Georgia's citizens, and this session is no exception. HB 120, introduced by Rep. Pedro Marin (D-46, Duluth), would require, as a condition of receiving a license to carry a handgun, proof of training in the features of a handgun and an explanation on how to load, fire and unload the handgun. No live fire of the handgun would be required.

Apparently, Rep. Marin believes this legislation is desperately needed because there are hundreds of thousands of Georgia citizens with firearms licenses carrying handguns that they do not know how to load.

Rep. Marin's bill would exempt police officers from the bill, of course. HB 120 would permit NRA instructors and police officers to provide the training, showing an applicant how to load and unload a weapon.

Apparently Rep. Marin is completely ignorant of the facts that different firearms operate differently and that Georgia police officers are not trained on the features of every handgun or how to load or unload every type of handgun. A Georgia police officer is required by Georgia law to have two hours of training on firearms, including the law on lethal force and how to shoot his issued handgun on a static range in a very basic qualification course. His employment status bestows no special knowledge about any handgun not his own, many of which he may never have even seen before, much less have experience loading, firing, and unloading such weapons. HB 120 is truly a case of the blind leading the blind.

This video of a DEA agent who cannot clear even his own handgun in classroom full of children is a perfect example of a person who should not be giving instructions to anybody else regarding handguns and their proper operation.

The consequences of this bill demonstrate how little the bill's author understands the implications of his own legislation. A weapons carry license applicant who carries a firearm he has owned for decades, carried daily, shot tens of thousands of times, practiced weekly, and used to attend advanced level training courses over the years while competing regularly in handgun shooting competition, will have to receive training in how to load, fire, and unload his weapon. This applicant will probably have to pay a fee to a local police officer, who may never have seen the applicant's particular model of handgun before, and the applicant may have to explain to that police officer exactly how his particular pistol operates. Once the applicant finishes showing the police officer how the gun operates, the police officer can then explain it back to the applicant so that the officer can provide the notarized affidavit that would be required by HB 120.

Another irony of Rep. Marin's bill is that any child in Georgia may carry an AK47 or AR15 rifle in Georgia, legally, with no training or license requirement whatsoever. An adult, however, who is twenty one years old or more and passes three criminal background checks, cannot carry a pistol in a belt holster without having some properly authorized official explain to him how it works.

Almost every state that has a training requirement permits individuals to carry handguns openly with no license and therefore no training required. Georgia is one of only thirteen states that even requires a license to carry a handgun openly, an enduring legacy of Georgia's dark days under Jim Crow. No person in this state may bear a handgun without obtaining that license (well, that is, unless you are one of the favored political classes). Adding another obstacle to obtaining that license demonstrates how little the bill's author regards bearing arms as a fundamental right.

Advocates of training will tell you that they "believe in the right to bear arms," but they then propose things that show they believe it is not a right, but a mere privilege. Perhaps next Rep. Marin will introduce training and licensing requirements for praying or carrying a Bible in public, for speaking outside one's home on a political topic, or for publishing articles on issues of public importance.

This is part seven in a continuing series. Parts one through six may be viewed here.

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