Later today the Georgia governor will sign bill HB-60. Fox News and others are calling this bill “unprecedented”. Named the “Safe Carry Protection Act” it addresses gun issues like, hunting with a suppressor, the creation of a statewide firearm owner database, and deanying a lease of property to a person lawfully able to carry or posses a firearm. Most noteable though, are the bill’s changes to Georgia’s firearm carry laws in prohibited places.
Previously, firearms license holders, like myself, were not allowed to carry into bars that didn’t earn a certain percentage on the sale of food. This rule has been completely struck from the books. In places of worship, carrying a gun is allowed on a case by case basis, as long as it is ok with the powers-that-be within that organization. Government buildings that do not have screening at their entrances, are no longer off limits to licensed gun carriers. Though I had already believed this to be legal, picking someone up at the airport while carrying concealed (and entering unsecured airport property) is now ok. Similarly, school districts can choose to allow certain staff members to carry firearms in “safe zones”. As you can see, this bill is making some major changes in my state.
Interestingly, the bill’s first vote in the Georgia House passed 167 to 3, in mid February, 2013. While our legislature isn’t espectially balanced with democrats and republicans, it’s worth noting that a number of democrats voted for this bill, seemingly voting with the will of their constituents, rather than with their political party’s leanings. The final vote in the house passed in March 2014, 112 to 58. It will be interesting to see if this movement spreads through the south and maybe even the rest of the country.
Read the whole bill here