Georgia’s controversial gun bill was signed into law Wednesday at an American Legion pavilion in Ellijay. And not a moment too soon for House Speaker David Ralston, who faces a serious primary challenger in less than a month.
The ink is dry and H.B. 60 is no longer the “gun bill”. It took two sessions and an untold amount of private and public wrangling, but Georgia’s “Safe Carry Protection Act”, more commonly known as the “guns everywhere” bill, is now law. Governor Nathan Deal signed the bill on Wednesday, during a ceremony in Ellijay, Georgia. Hundreds of supporters, including members of Georgia Carry, attended the signing and held a bbq afterwards. GPB News reporter Jeanne Bonner, who has covered the bill since this year’s legislative session, says the ceremony had the “feel of a campaign rally.”
Governor Deal signed a sweeping gun bill Wednesday, expanding the places where people can carry firearms in Georgia. The Safe Carry Protection Act, more commonly known as the “guns everywhere” bill, will allow licensed gun owners to carry firearms in many churches, bars, and government buildings. During the signing ceremony in Ellijay, Gov. Deal said he was putting into law a gun bill that heralds “self-defense, personal liberties, and public safety.”
One of the most controversial bills awaiting Governor Nathan Deal’s signature is one that would expand where guns can be carried. The bill took a circuitous path through the legislature, picking up provisions, then losing them. Later two gun bills were combined, and the measure went back and forth between the two chambers. So what would the new law look like? It might be easier to start with what it won’t include: a provision known as campus carry. Gun advocates have been pushing for the right to bring firearms on university campuses. But college presidents, the state’s Board of Regents and others oppose that provision, and it was dropped.
Among the bills awaiting Gov. Nathan Deal’s signature is the so-called ‘guns evs in the sanctuary. Many Christian and Jewish clergy spoke out against the bill at the state Caerywhere’ bill. The bill wouldn’t actually allow guns everywhere. But it would allow houses of worship to decide if they wanted to allow gunpitol this year. The Muslim clergy’s perspective on the issue has been heard less. Nadim Ali is the imam at the Community Masjid Atlanta. In an extended conversation, he told GPB’s Jeanne Bonner that his mosque has security personnel who carry guns and also has signs posted saying guns are not allowed in the sanctuary.
Last month, 119 state legislators in the House voted for a sweeping gun bill that, if Gov. Nathan Deal signs it into law, would loosen restrictions on taking firearms into churches, government buildings and other places previously off-limits. Republicans pushed the measure, after failing to pass a similar bill in the waning moments of the 2013 legislative session. But three Democrats were among those ratifying the bill in the House. And another person supporting gun legislation was state Senator Jason Carter, a Decatur Democrat who’s running against Republican Governor Nathan Deal.
On Tuesday, Republican members of the state House maneuvered to change a minor gun bill allowing judges to carry firearms to include the provisions of the a more sweep second amendment measure.The newly-transformed bill would allow licensed gun-owners to take firearms into bars, schools and churches with some restrictions.
A House lawmaker has pre-filed legislation that would make getting a concealed weapon permit voluntary. It would eliminate the requirement for a permit to carry a gun or knife longer than 5 inches that is not visible.