Curtis S. Jenkins, a board of directors member from the National Rifle Association of America, explains the role of his organization in recent Georgia gun legislation.
ALBANY, Ga. — The right to bear arms is an issue close to his heart, said Curtis S. Jenkins, a board member of the National Rifle Association who was in town Friday to speak at the Exchange Club of Albany’s lunch meeting.
“I feel so strongly about the Bill of Rights,” Jenkins said, “that I made sure I was born on the same day.”
In particular, the Second Amendment of the Constitution, the right to keep and bear arms has been an interest of Jenkins since his college days in Atlanta.
From speaking out in Atlanta as a student to his days in the Georgia Legislature, Jenkins said he played a role in gun legislation to secure Second Amendment rights.
The role of the laws in gun control and the exercise of Second Amendment rights is long and complicated. Jenkins hit on a few historical notes in his talk.
In 1976 as a legislator, he helped pass concealed-carry legislation. In 1998, he drafted legislation that limited “frivolous” law suits against gun manufacturers.
“Lawsuits were an attempt to cripple or control guns through crippling manufacturers financially,” Jenkins said. “If no one is manufacturing guns, you can’t have them.”
Jenkins mentioned other gun laws of interest in Georgia that he had a hand in, such as what is known as the “Castle Doctrine.” Jenkins said that the law allows someone who is attacked to stand his ground and defend his life. It also relieves the defender of criminal and civil liability, he added.
Concealed-carry laws have been and are going through rewriting, easing restrictions and more clearly stating the rules, Jenkins said. A more clear definition of “public gathering” could help straighten out the laws, he added.
A major U.S. Supreme Court ruling took place in 2008, Jenkins said. The Heller decision stated that the Second Amendment protected the individual’s rights to have a gun. An individual need not be in a militia, he added.
Jenkins reported that the nation was moving toward an acceptable gun-permitting system. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Nov. 16 that would let a concealed-permit holder from any state to carry in any other state.
Like all national legislation the bill must also be passed in the Senate and signed by the president before it can be law. That has not yet occurred.
“It will allow a state-issued permit holder to carry in any other state,” Jenkins said. “Just like a driver’s license.”
In other business, the Exchange Club gave a check to the Lord’s Pantry for $500. The pantry at 219 W. Society Ave. is open for food and also warm coat donations.