House Bill 218 passed the Georgia Senate by a vote of 34-18 Monday. The bill’s author is Rep. Mandi Ballinger and allows any legal gun owner from another state to carry their weapons in Georgia, even if their home state has a different set of license standards.

As the bill powered through to the second last day of the legislative session, Sen. Elena Parent explained why the U.S. has a problem with gun violence. 

Parent told the story of the deadliest shooting in Colorado since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. On July 20, 2012, a mass shooting happened inside a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., during the screening of the film The Dark Knight Rises. James Eagan Holmes, dressed in tactical clothing, set off tear gas grenades and shot into the audience with multiple firearms. Twelve people were killed and 70 others were injured.

Sen. Mike Dugan expressed his concerns with the recent mass shootings that happened in Atlanta and Boulder, Colo., but explained that the first shooting in a school happened during the time of writing the Brady Bill. The Brady Bill mandated federal background checks on firearm purchasers in the U.S. and imposed a five-day waiting period on purchases.


Senator Elena Parent (D- Atlanta) and Senator Mike Dugan (R- Carrolton) debate the merits of HB 218, which loosens gun restrictions, on the Senate floor on Monday, March 29, 2021.The bill passed the senate 34-18. 

Credit: GPB Lawmakers

After a tense back and forth between the two senators, HB 218 passed the Senate with Amendment 1 being adopted, which prohibits government officials from suspending or restricting Second Amendment rights during declared states of emergencies, such as by confiscating firearms, restricting the carrying of firearms, or discriminating against gun stores.