Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signs 'guns everywhere' law | Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signs ‘guns everywhere’ law

Governor Nathan Deal

AMENDMENT II
“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,
the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

The Second Amendment is the floor on gun rights.  Georgia’s Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014 just made it the geographical epicenter. Some opposing the bill, including Georgia law enforcement, call it the “guns everywhere bill.” There’s some truth in that statement.

The Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014 in a nutshell

The Act, simplified, tells Georgia residents were they can carry their weapons. The Act allows residents who have concealed carry permits to take their weapons into some bars, school zones, churches, government buildings (that don’t have security) and certain parts of airports — that would include Atlanta Hartsfield, undoubtedly the busiest airport in the country, if not the world.

TSA lines? Not excluded. Neither are airport general parking areas, walkways, or shops and areas of the terminal that are outside the screening checkpoint. Churches, mosques, synagogues, and bars share a special burden starting July 1. They get to decide on whether they want their customers and worshipers toting guns. What happens if you bring your weapon unknowingly into a “no gun zone” place of worship or bar? You’ll likely not get arrested, but could face a monetary fine. If you don’t have a license, you could get slapped with a misdemeanor.

The law will also allow guns on the person of any “duly authorized official of a public or private elementary or secondary school or a public or private technical school, vocational school, college, university, or other institution of post-secondary education or a local board of education.” Translation: school officials get to have hot debates on whether to arm school officials and teachers.

What about law enforcement? The law forbids police officers who see anyone carrying a gun to ask for proof of a permit unless the officer has “probable cause.” Translation: An officer can’t simply be suspicious. It’s not enough. They’ll have to catch you committing a crime before asking for proof of a permit.

Databases of licensed owners: Gone.

Fingerprinting for renewing carry permits: Eliminated.

What are the implications?

While the Act applies to those residents carrying permits, who have undergone a background check, it gives greater latitude for these same 500,000 residents to protect themselves and others from those who pose a threat. In essence, it gives greater expansion to “stand your ground” in Georgia.  According to USA Today, “The gun rights group GeorgiaCarry.org believes the bill will “restore our right to carry and be allowed to protect ourselves anywhere we go,” according to executive director Jerry Henry. He’s right. “Anywhere” includes city halls, libraries, city office buildings, fire stations, churches, bars, the airport … potentially anywhere and everywhere.

Most troubling is a provision of the bill that waives criminal prosecution of felons who use illegal firearms in the act of self-defense. Translation:  if you’re a felon and feel threatened and kill someone with a gun, you can now “stand your ground” just about anywhere you go.


About the author

Kimberly Rice

Kimberly worked as a broadcaster from high school until her first year of law school. She's a recent law school graduate from California Western School of Law; passionate about news, legal journalism, economic crime, and new technology. Kimberly lives in Southern CA, but is an east coast native. In her spare time, Kimberly loves going to live concerts and hanging out in Santa Monica. Contact the author.
COMMENT POLICY
  • williamdiamon

    Mass shootings in schools, churches, theaters, military bases and other “gun-free-zones” are similar to incidents in the colonies. On Sundays, when churches filled, Indians would sometimes attack them. They blocked doors and set the church on fire, murdering the parishioners.
    These attacks brought about the first gun-control laws on the continent. They passed laws requiring all males to bring their militia weapons with them on Sundays, or pay a fine. They were able to defend themselves then and the attacks stopped.

    I know some probably would want to put up “gun-free-zone” signs on the churches. That doesn’t work though, does it?

    From the period 1885 – 1901 (before gun-control, when everyone was free to carry as they choose), America’s murder rates stayed steady at about 1 person per 100,000.

    Through the years of 1901 to 1995 (when gun-control became common) rates climbed to as high as 10 murders per 100,000.

    In 1995 “shall issue” concealed carry began in Florida. When other States saw the resulting drop in crime and murder rates they adopted it too. Now all States have some form of concealed carry, most are “shall issue”.

    This spread of Second Amendment freedom has brought the Nation’s murder rates to a 100 plus year low of 4.2 per 100,000 people. Not a bad result for 20 years of a policy many said would lead to more bloodshed.

    1 per 100,000 still sounds better and this bill is a big step in the right direction.

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