Georgia 'Guns Everywhere' Law Awaits Governor's Signature

Image: Georgia 'Guns Everywhere' Law Awaits Governor's Signature

Thursday, 27 Mar 2014 07:19 AM

By Nick Sanchez

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The Georgia legislature passed what many are calling the most sweeping pro-gun bill in America. The so-called "guns everywhere" bill, HB 60, is likely to be enacted once presented to Gov. Nathan Deal to sign.

The New York Times reports that the new law would make it easier for permit holders to carry their weapons in places like churches, bars, restaurants, and airports.

An organization founded by former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords — who was among those critically wounded in a mass shooting in 2011 — called it "the most extreme gun bill in America," while the National Rifle Association called it "a historic victory for the Second Amendment" and "the most comprehensive pro-gun" law in recent history.

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Specifically, the bill decriminalizes those found with a gun at airport security, authorizes school districts to appoint certain staffers to carry in order to defend students from intruders, and allows guns in bars — as long as the carrier does not consume alcohol. It also allows guns in churches at the discretion of the church.

Lastly, the bill allows the so-called Stand Your Ground defense in which someone who "reasonably believes" his or her life is in danger can shoot to kill instead of walking away.

In addition to expanding carry rights, the law also requires that, "Every license holder shall have his or her valid weapons carry license in his or her immediate possession at all times when carrying a weapon, or if such person is exempt from having a weapons carry license . . . he or she shall have proof of his or her exemption."

In deference to the search and seizure language of the Fourth Amendment, however, it also states, "A person carrying a weapon shall not be subject to detention for the sole purpose of investigating whether such person has a weapons carry license."

This means that a carrying person can only be made to show their license if they've been stopped for another offense. Some say that because of the language of the bill, the number of people stopped for minor offenses like littering or jaywalking is likely to increase so law enforcement can check these permits.

The bill passed with opposition from a majority of the state's citizens (according to polls), the police chief's association, restaurant association, Episcopal and Catholic churches, and the federal Transportation Security Administration.

There is no sign of political backlash for any member who voted for it, however, nor the sitting governor. The governor's likely opponent in November, State Sen. Jason Carter — former President Jimmy Carter's grandson — also voted for the legislation.

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