Gov. Kemp to Sign Georgia State Bill Allowing Permitless Concealed Carry of Handguns

CC0 / / Gun laws
Gun laws - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.04.2022
GOP lawmakers in Georgia claim SB 319, a bill allowing state residents to carry a concealed handgun in public without a license or background check, will allow those in the southern state to better protect themselves from crime. Meanwhile, Democrats and other critics argue that the loosening of such restrictions may lead to unprecedented bloodshed.
Georgia’s controversial permitless concealed carry bill passed by a 34-22 vote in the state senate on Friday, advancing the measure to Governor Brian Kemp (R), who has staunchly supported such legislation since his 2018 gubernatorial run.
The ‘Georgia Constitutional Carry Act of 2021,’ allows for a “lawful weapons carrier” to carry a concealed handgun in areas where license holders are currently allowed. Prohibited areas include airports, the state Capitol, and government buildings with security guards at the entrance.
“I look forward to signing the Georgia Constitutional Carry Act of 2021 into law soon and fulfilling another promise I made to the voters of this state,” tweeted Governor Kemp shortly after the Friday vote.
Legislation allowing permitless concealed carry has been passed in 24 states, including Georgia’s neighboring states of Tennessee and Alabama. Some states, such as North Dakota, restrict the allowance to residents only.
Supporters of the bill have proclaimed that their Second Amendment rights have been actively violated due to the $75 bill associated with a Weapons Carry License (WCL) in Georgia. In addition to the fee, WCL applicants must pass a criminal background check and provide their fingerprints.
Under current WCL guidelines, a number of individuals are not eligible for a permit, including convicted felons, individuals hospitalized for certain mental health issues, and those who have received treatment for drugs and/or alcohol within five years of the application date.
While residents would avoid the WCL process under the legislation, a background check is still required for individuals purchasing a firearm from a dealer or store in Georgia.
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Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights, heralded the Senate’s advancement of the measure as a step toward restoring “the constitutional right to bear arms without government infringement or taxation on that right.”
“This is a great day for gun owners,” Brown declared, as reported by the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper.
Republican State Sen. Randy Robertson said those opposing the bill are blaming “an inanimate object” for the actions of criminals.
“I'm proud to report that since I've been up here for almost three months, none of my weapons have broken out of my house and injured anyone,” Robertson quipped.
Some Georgia lawmakers, like Democratic State Rep. Shea Roberts, claimed the bill will do more harm than good. The bill advanced in the Georgia House with a 100-67 vote on Wednesday.
“With rights come responsibility,” Roberts said on Thursday, noting that she could not support the bill as a mother. “Responsibility means doing everything we can to make sure people who carry guns — especially in public places around our families — go through the process to carry a permit.”
Max Flugrath, spokesperson for the Democratic Party of Georgia, warned that Kemp’s approval of such legislation “would ignore law enforcement’s warnings that it would put officers in greater danger — all in an effort to gain the support of special interests and extremists” amid the governor's reelection bid.
Guns are displayed after a gun buyback event organized by the New York City Police Department (NYPD), in the Queens borough of New York City, U.S., June 12, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.08.2021
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Permits would still be offered by the state, as Georgia would seek to maintain gun carry “reciprocity” with other US states.
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