Q: Larry, if you become the newly elected sheriff of Catoosa County, what would be your view of citizens carrying concealed firearms?
A: I do believe that a citizens Second Amendment rights should be upheld. The subject of local citizens being able to carry a concealed firearm in the state of Georgia and our local county lacks one provision that should be added. I believe it should be mandatory for anyone who applies for a concealed firearm permit that they should show proof that they have enough knowledge to operate safely a firearm before being allowed to carry a gun concealed.
Q: While we are on the subject of concealed firearms, what are your thoughts on open carry of firearms, that is, openly carrying a gun without any cover of concealment?
A: I believe that only law officers should be carrying a gun in the open and showing their badge as a law officer openly and close to the firearm.
Those citizens of the state of Georgia under the present law do not have to take a class on firearm safety as do residents of many other states before receiving a firearm permit. We simply go in for fingerprinting and pay the required fee, and the local authority runs a background check. There are regulations that we must follow and certain other requirements by law, but we are not required to show proof of having completed any school or classroom instructions in order to apply for a concealed permit. I personally believe that having to attend a firearm course before receiving a permit to carry a firearm would be good. I have met many citizens that know absolutely nothing about a gun, whether it is a pistol or a rifle. I have attended and taught these courses in the past, and they are very comfortable, well-taught and reasonably priced.
The subject of carrying a pistol out in the open has many opinions from those that may legally carry a firearm. I just do not see the need to carry a firearm out openly for all to see. I believe that the very element of not knowing if a person is carrying a firearm may be a deterrent to would-be troublemakers. I have noticed in local restaurants people carrying guns out in the open. I automatically look these people over and decide if they are law officers. The ones I see generally are in street clothes and not in uniform, or showing any visible badge as to why they are carrying out in the open. I know that the weather has a lot to do with how we conceal or not conceal a firearm. In the present hot weather, most of us do not want to wear a jacket in order to go concealed.
There is something else that you should consider if you decide to go open with a firearm on your hip for all to see. If someone approaches you for help thinking you are a law officer, what will you do? This could very well put you right in the middle of an issue that you have no business being involved in. Are you qualified to interpret law and make legal decisions? There are times that carrying a firearm out in the open is necessary. I know that high security areas happen to be just one of those times. I have always tried to remain unnoticed and keep a low profile, rather than announce my intentions or appear to want people’s attention.
I would like to say thank you to Larry Black for his thoughts and time with me. I have known Mr. Black for several years and was a volunteer for him for about four years while he supervised the jail. I believe that he would be an excellent sheriff for Catoosa County
Final thought. Protect your constitutional rights. Vote.
Roger Sherrill lives in Ringgold. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.