Due to a new measure effective today, Georgia residents may take guns into some bars, nightclubs and schools as long as they have a license to carry.
The law allows religious leaders to "opt in" to permit guns on their worship premises and also makes it legal for permit-holders to take firearms near Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints.
Critics call the measure the "guns everywhere" bill. They believe it disturbs places of worship, bars and schools, though Georgians may not bring their firearm into a bar or church if the property owner bans them. GeorgiaCarry lobbied for the bill, calling it "meaningful pro-gun legislation."
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed the bill into law in April. The measure was approved by the Republican-controlled Georgia General Assembly.
According to CNN:
Calling it "a great day to reaffirm our liberties," Deal said the law allows residents to protect their families and expands the list of places where they can legally carry firearms, while allowing certain property owners, namely churches and bars, to make judgments on whether they want worshippers and patrons carrying guns.
"The Second Amendment should never be an afterthought. It should be at the forefront of our minds," Deal said while touting his NRA endorsement for governor and "A" rating during his 17 years in Congress.The law is part of the "Safe Carry Protection Act," which once contained a bill from both the House and the Senate.
Georgia had the highest number of gun deaths per capita in the United States last year, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
A spokesman from Americans for Responsible Solutions expressed concern about the law's implications.
"Among its many extreme provisions, it allows guns in TSA lines at the country's busiest airport, forces community school boards into bitter, divisive debates about whether they should allow guns in their children's classrooms, and broadens the conceal carry eligibility to people who have previously committed crimes with guns," said Pia Carusone, the group's senior adviser.
Despite the worries of critics, Georgia's new law is a positive move toward protecting citizens' Second Amendment rights. The state's high level of gun deaths existed with a stricter carry law - proof that criminals won't abide by gun laws if they wish to execute gun violence. The new measure will allow law-abiding citizens who go through a background check to carry firearms in more areas if they feel they need to do so. Above all, most Georgians will have a greater ability to protect themselves, which is one of the best ways to bring down violence in any community.