ALEX COHEN, host:
Washington, D.C. isn't the only city with a handgun ban; Los Angeles has one, so does Chicago, Miami, and Atlanta, Georgia. Here to tell us what today's Supreme Court decision might mean for her city is Atlanta's mayor, Shirley Franklin. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, and I'd like to start off by asking you about an editorial that you wrote. It appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution just a few days ago. And you said that the outcome of this case will have extraordinary implications for cities throughout the U.S. What effect will it have on Atlanta?
Mayor SHIRLEY FRANKLIN (Atlanta, GA): Well there is no question that this decision from the Supreme Court makes it harder for all mayors to keep their city safe. We know in Atlanta that having a gun, whether it is a permitted fire arm or illegal, increases the lack of safety in your community. For instance, 79 percent of the homicide investigations within the city of Atlanta involved a firearm during 2007. And even in the District of Columbia, we know that without the handgun ban, there was more violence, more homicides. So without a doubt this makes, this really is trying to keep a city safe with one hand and now two hands tied behind our back.
COHEN: Do you have any sense of how Atlanta's handgun ban has worked to decrease gun violence?
Mayor FRANKLIN: Well, we can tell you that each year that we have had the ban in our parks, that we have had few or any gun violence in our city parks. What we are expecting is that we may have to change the way we operate. First of all how we operate in the outdoors. I also can tell you we have a rapid transit system and they're very, very worried about having concealed weapons on public transportation. We believe that we can continue to prohibit any concealed weapon within the airport and that we are going to stand strong on that point.
COHEN: Are you expecting to see lawsuits challenging your city's ban on handguns after today's decision?
Mayor FRANKLIN: There's no question, I mean we've already been challenged on our courts and have lost. Just a few weeks ago we cannot prohibit guns in parks any more. The state of Georgia now that says you are allowed to carry a concealed weapon in a city park, on public transportation, and there is some question as to whether you can carry it openly. So I believe it puts first responders, police officers, and the public in danger.
The question is are people going to be safer? I was asked by a fourth grader just a few weeks ago whether I supported this big bill that allowed concealed weapons in restaurants where alcohol is being served or on public transportation, and when I reversed the question and asked him, he said that he feels less safe. This is a fourth grader.
COHEN: If Atlanta's ban on guns is overturned, what can you as a mayor do?
Mayor FRANKLIN: Well, we can continue to do our best job to educate the public, to encourage people not to take guns into public places, for gun safety, encourage them to use gun safety measures. And in Georgia, you can get a handgun, a permit for a handgun if you're not a felon, if you've not had a recent DUI. There's no training associated with handguns, so I'm hoping that with a new Congress and a new president we can have a conversation about at least requiring training, universal and standardized training for anyone who seeks to get a permit.
COHEN: Shirley Franklin is the mayor of Atlanta, Georgia. Thank you.
Mayor FRANKLIN: Thank you very much.
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