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Laws are giving sausage a bad name

Mark Twain is credited with once saying, ““People who love sausage and respect the law should never watch either one being made.”  The memorization of that quote is practically required of any newly elected legislator.  It soon becomes part of their stump speech.  
As a former lawmaker myself, and more importantly as someone who has actually seen sausage being made, I have about decided that sausage is suffering by that comparison.
In my three decades as a Hardee’s restaurant owner, I have literally sold millions of sausage patties.   It remains our number one biscuit seller year after year.   They are made under strict standards with multiple quality assurance tests to insure the finest quality product.   Can we say the same about the laws being proposed around the country?  
I started thinking about this subject with the current intense debate about Georgia’s House Bill 875 which just passed the House of Representatives.  Depending on what report you read, the bill allows guns in places of worship, in bars, in government buildings without security checkpoints, and would even eliminate criminal charges for those who accidentally bring their guns to the airport.  
Before anyone puts me on an NRA email list, let me say that as far as I can remember, I was always endorsed by the NRA while in politics.   I passionately believe in the Second Amendment.  I own enough guns to hold off a sizable group intending to do me harm.  Don’t bother with sending me hate filled emails because I am not your enemy.
Having said that, I don’t know that I think having a gun in a bar is a good idea in any circumstance.  Alcohol can make tempers flare and get out of control.   Hitting someone with a beer mug in a teenage rage, as one of my family members once witnessed, probably would have had greater consequences if he had pulled out his gun, legal or not, while in his drunken stupor.
The biggest rage I have ever seen in a group was actually in our own county courthouse when the county was mandating county wide garbage collection.  I am not sure that having a gun in that setting would ever be a good idea.  Perhaps allowing guns in the State Capitol would be an equally good idea, but exemptions to bad laws always seem to creep in to protect those that vote.
As for churches, well, I think of them as a sanctuary for all that troubles us in the world.  Should someone pull a gun, I am not sure who in our congregation I would trust to fire back.  Just this past week, the pastor’s message was about Christians turning the other cheek.  Can you nod your head in agreement to his words with a pistol in your pocket?
And finally, who in their right mind takes a gun through security in an airport?   A crime?  Not any more under this bill.   No arrest if the person agreed to immediately follow instructions to leave.  That means no arrest if he is caught, but what if he isn’t?
I fly a lot, mostly to and from Atlanta.  Atlanta Hartsfield Airport has more guns confiscated than any other airport in the world.   Do you think that Southerners are just that forgetful?
For the first time this year, I looked up how our representatives voted on a bill.   HB 875, known as the “Safe Carry Protection Act”, easily passed by a vote of 119-56.  I personally know at least a third of those voting in favor and I know many don’t really believe this bill was needed or necessary.  They feared the clout and power of the gun lobby and those who are afraid to leave even one place in this world where guns aren’t allowed.
This particular bill isn’t even the worst to be passed and certainly not the worst to be introduced during the current session.  That would require another column just to get started.
I know, however, that I am having a sausage biscuit for breakfast in the morning.  I am going to savor every bite, strangely comforted that it wasn’t made by the Georgia General Assembly.
Dan Ponder can be reached at    

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