The State of Georgia just passed into law a piece of bipartisan gun legislation that removes restrictions on where licensed gun owners can take their firearms, even though some 2nd Amendment supporters had been hoping for much more.
Republican Governor Nathan Deal, who’s up for re-election this year, signed HB 60 into law Wednesday, over the vehement objections of gun control groups like Americans for Responsible Solutions, the creation of former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
The law will take effect on July 1 of this year. It passed through the State Legislature with bipartisan support, garnering a “yes” vote even from Democratic State Senator Jason Carter — the grandson of the former President and the Democrats’ nominee in the Georgia Governor’s race.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Deal emphasized the law’s broad support, but noted that more-lenient gun legislation still doesn’t exempt the State’s gun owners from the dragnet of registration and permitting required to obtain a license:
There are always opportunities for people to use any piece of legislation as a political tool if they don’t like it. But there was bipartisan support for the bill. The main story that should come out of it is the final product is significantly different from earlier versions. And some of the more [pause] interesting parts were removed.
…The important premise we all should remember is these are people who have their fingerprints taken, their backgrounds checked and they have been licensed to carry a weapon. It’s not just someone walking out of the clear blue with none of those background checks. They’ve been subjected to scrutiny of the state.
Although the National Rifle Association has hailed the new law as “the most comprehensive pro-gun reform bill in state history,” strict Constitutionalists say it’s only a partial victory. Missing from the final bill was a provision that would have allowed firearms on college campuses — a major point of controversy in several States that have seen recent, absurd debates on gun-free ways to thwart sexual assaults and mass shootings.
The bill does allow religious institutions to determine for themselves whether to allow firearms on their premises, allows hunting silencers, permits school employees to carry in school zones and affords every legal gun owner the right to carry his weapon inside government buildings that don’t have a security checkpoint at the public entrance.