PROGUNS: Georgia legislators pass ‘most extreme gun bill ever’

Posted by Jimmy Minnish on March 24, 2014 under Links | Be the First to Comment

Georgia legislators pass ‘most extreme gun bill ever’

Headline/ News – U.S.

ATLANTA, Ga., March 20, 2014 – Late Thursday night the Georgia House passed a very sweeping gun bill. The bill HB60 has become “the most extreme gun bill in the country,” according to Rep. Dustin Hightower.  Last February he was confident the legislation would pass and now he knows he was right.  The legislation passed 112-58.  The compromise by the House and Senate brought 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.

Senior national policy director for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence calls this piece a legislation a “slap in the face” for victims of gun violence in Georgia.  Though supporters are pleased with the approval of the bill, many wish it treated religious establishments similarly to bars, nightclubs and municipalities. The government does not belong in church affairs, Jerry Henry executive director of Georgia Carry stated on MSNBC.  He also said the “bill means that if you are one who likes to protect yourself, that you have a whole lot more places to protect yourself. It means that if you’re a bad guy, you might want to think about going into some of those places.”

Opponents of the bill refer to the measure as an expansion of Stand Your Ground because it has the potential to give felons and other individuals currently banned from owning a gun permission to carry in unauthorized areas. George Zimmerman’s acquittal last summer in the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin brought renewed national attention to the Stand Your Ground defense.

Georgia lawmakers, who passed the bill Thursday by a 112-58 vote, will now present the legislation to Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, who plans to run for re-election on Nov. 4. Previously, Deal supported loosening gun restrictions, which earned him an “A” rating from the NRA and an endorsement for the GOP primary runoff election in 2010.

Opponents view the the current bill as a disturbance for places of worship, establishments that serve alcohol and school campuses where parents expect their children to remain safe. Some institutions, including the Roman Catholic Bishops of Georgia, declined to comment on Friday until they analyzed and determined the effects of the possible changes.

Parts of the Georgia bill have surfaced individually in other states – including Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee – as the national debate about gun rights continues in the wake of the 2012 tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Oklahoma legislators passed a bill this week that would allow any college, university or technology school to establish a policy to permit license-carriers to possess firearms on campus. In Idaho, Republican Gov. Butch Otter last week signed into law a bill that prohibits state colleges and universities from regulating guns. According to a poll published in March 2013 in the wake of the Newtown massacre, ninety-one percent of Georgians supported mandatory background checks for all gun buyers.


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