BREAKING: GA Gov Nathan Deal Signs Expansive Pro-Gun Bill Into Law

April 23 2014
by GSL Staff
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At a ceremony attended by numerous gun rights supporters, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed HB60 into law.

Deal gave some remarks before the actual signing ceremony.

“People who follow the rules can protect themselves and their families from people who don’t follow the rules. The Second Amendment should never be an afterthought. It should reside at the forefronts of our minds.”

Of course, the media has sensationalized the bill because it allows carry at unsecured parts of the airport, bars, and churches. However, carry was already legal at the airport and in bars, the law just made some changes and clarified some points here. Churches will have to opt-in to allow carry.

The bill, HB60, faced an uncertain future in the state legislature and was the subject of internal party politics and required some legislative maneuvering by the bill’s supporters in order to get it passed (this shouldn’t be the case in a GOP super-majority legislature).

HB60 does several things to expand gun rights, especially carry rights, in Georgia, from a previous article,

– Remove fingerprinting for renewal of Weapons Carry Licenses (WCL).
– Prohibit the state from creating and maintaining a database of WCL holders.
– Create an absolute defense for the legal use of deadly force in the face of a violent attack.
– Remove the sweeping restrictions on legally carrying a firearm with a WCL in churches and bars, leaving this decision to private property owners (churches must “opt-in” to allow carry).
– Lower the age to obtain a concealed WCL for self-defense from 21 to 18 for active duty military, with specific training.
– Allows for the use of firearm sound suppressors while hunting.
– Repeal the unnecessary and duplicative state-required license for a firearms dealer, instead requiring only a Federal Firearms License (FFL).
– Prohibit a ban on firearms in public housing, ensuring that the right to self-defense should not be infringed based on where one calls home.
– Codify the ability to legally carry, with a WCL, in sterile/non-secure areas of airports.
– Include 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.
– State 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.
– Strengthen current firearms preemption statutes through further clarification of the regulatory authority of local governments, excluding firearm discharge ordinances.

The bill was strongly opposed by Bloomberg backed, out of state interest groups such as Moms Demand Action and Mayors Against Illegal Guns who campaigned aggressively against the bill. It’s passage is seen as a defeat to the Bloomberg backed gun control lobby.

It may not have gotten everything gun rights supporters wanted to accomplish done, but it’s a big step in the right direction.

The law will become effective starting July 1, 2014.

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