Georgia to Allow Guns in Bars, Restaurants, Churches

Monday, 30 Jun 2014 07:14 AM

By Melanie Batley

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A Georgia law takes effect Tuesday that will allow gun-permit holders the right to carry weapons in restaurants, bars, and houses of worship unless otherwise forbidden by proprietors, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The law passed by the Georgia Legislature in April, which would also allow guns in unrestricted areas of airports and government buildings, schools, colleges, libraries, and other areas where people congregate, has been welcomed by gun rights activists, but those with the authority to decide say they face a dilemma.

TBonz Steakhouse in Augusta, Georgia, has prohibited firearms. Manager Suzanne Sinisgalli-Diaz told the Journal, "We didn't want you to come in, get drunk, and shoot up the place." Liability concerns have also figured into establishments' decisions to ban guns.

Other proprietors, however, plan to allow guns because they fear losing customers. A number of supporters of the law, including a Baptist Church in Social Circle, Georgia, believe it is simply a matter of protecting Second Amendment rights.

"It just means a law-abiding citizen can take responsibility of their own defense," Jerry Henry, executive director of GeorgiaCarry.Org, a gun-rights nonprofit group that campaigned for the law, told the Journal.

Meanwhile, some experts and gun control advocates are concerned that more weapons in public spaces will increase the chance of violence, while others believe that expanding gun rights can reduce crime. Little research exists to support either argument, the Journal reported.

Georgia is one of 13 states that allow weapons in bars and restaurants, and as of 2011, just five states allowed firearms in houses of worship, according to the Journal.

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