Georgia Lawmakers Pass Sweeping Gun Bill

Sarah Jean Seman

3/21/2014 4:14:00 PM - Sarah Jean Seman

The Georgia Senate passed a sweeping gun bill that will allow concealed carry in bars, airports (before TSA security checkpoints), places of worship of worship that ‘opt-in,’ and some government buildings.

HB60 (formerly called the Safe Carry Protection Act) is one of the “strongest Second Amendment bills to pass the House,” bill co-sponsor Rep. Dustin Hightower said in February. He was confident the legislation would pass the state Senate, and the 112-58 vote Thursday proved him right.

The state House and Senate’s compromise on the legislation brought about the following changes:

  • Removal of fingerprinting for renewal of Weapons Carry Licenses (WCL).
  • Prohibiting the state from creating and maintaining a database of WCL holders.
  • Creation of an absolute defense for the legal use of deadly force in the face of a violent attack.
  • Removal of the sweeping restrictions on legally carrying a firearm with a WCL in churches and bars, leaving this decision to private property owners.
  • Lowering the age to obtain a concealed WCL for self-defense from 21 to 18 for active duty military, with specific training.
  • Repealing the unnecessary and duplicative state-required license for a firearms dealer, instead requiring only a Federal Firearms License (FFL).
  • Prohibiting a ban on firearms in public housing, ensuring that the right to self-defense should not be infringed based on where one calls home.
  • Codifying the ability to legally carry, with a WCL, in sterile/non-secure areas of airports.
  • Including a provision that would have the state report those persons who have been involuntarily hospitalized or have been adjudicated mentally deficient to the NICS system while also providing an ability for relief through an application process to the court system for the purpose of restoration of rights.
  • Stating that under a declared state of emergency, all law-abiding gun owners will not have their Second Amendment rights restricted or infringed by executive authority through Emergency Powers protection.
  • Strengthening current firearms preemption statutes through further clarification of the regulatory authority of local governments, excluding firearm discharge ordinances.
The bill now heads to Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk. He has the option to sign, veto, or let the bill sit until it becomes a law after 40 days.

Read my previous coverage of the bill here.