By Dean Weingarten
Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- Georgia's Public Safety and Homeland Security committee has passed HB 875, a reform of the state's weapon laws. The bill has been characterized by wabe.org as removing restrictions on the legal carry of guns in “bars, churches, and some government buildings.” College students who have a permit to carry a weapon, and who violate the ban on carrying on campus, would have the penalty for doing so reduced to a maximum fine of $100. From wabe.org:
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, said college students have Second Amendment rights, too.
However, the bill reforms Georgia weapons law in many other areas as well. According to nraila.org, these reforms are included:
- Removal of fingerprinting for renewal of Weapons Carry Licenses (“WCL”).
- Prohibiting the state from creating and maintaining a database of WCL holders.
- Creation of an absolute defense for the legal use of deadly force in the face of a violent attack.
- Removal of the sweeping restrictions on legally carrying a firearm with a WCL in churches and bars, leaving this decision to private property owners.
- Lowering the age to obtain a concealed WCL for self-defense from 21 to 18 for active duty military, with specific training.
- Repealing the unnecessary and duplicative state-required license for a firearms dealer, instead requiring only a Federal Firearms License (FFL).
- Preempting a ban on firearms in public housing, ensuring that the right to self-defense should not be infringed based on where one calls home.
- Codifying the ability to legally carry, with a WCL, in sterile/non-secure areas of airports.
- Incorporation of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act for mental health reporting.
- Stating 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.
- Strengthening current firearms preemption statutes through further clarification of the regulatory authority of local governments, excluding firearm discharge ordinances.
- Allowing school systems to decide whether staff and faculty may carry a firearm on school property, pending approved training, similar to the NRA’s National School Shield program.
- Allowing the lawful carry by WCL holders in government buildings where it is not currently restricted or security screening personnel are posted during regular business hours.
While Wednesday’s hearing was dominated by opponents, including many members of the state’s faith community, Thursday’s session mostly featured supporters such as Elizabeth Finch, who said she often volunteers late at her church in Marietta and wants the right to protect herself while walking to her car.
“I shouldn’t be denied by law the right to equip myself for my own proactive protection, whether it be at a grocery store, a place of worship or my house,” said Finch, who identified herself as a National Rifle Association-certified instructor and the leader of a women’s shooting club.
While lawmakers heard from clergy members opposed to the bill Wednesday, faith-based leaders who support the measure came out Thursday.
The bill passed the committee on a voice vote (Georgia Carry says it was 8-4). It has a few more steps to go through before becoming law. From georgiacarry.org:
The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee Thursday evening, February 6, voted on HB 875 resulting in a 8-4 Do Pass vote.
HB 875 will now go to the House Rules Committee where, when passed, will be sent to the House Floor for a full House vote. We expect the bill to pass the House Floor Vote and be sent to the Senate to be read and assigned to a Committee. This should be done within the next week or so. When the Senate assigns HB875 to a committee, we will notify you who to contact to help get HB875 passed.
Georgia is one of many states that are considering weapons law reforms.
c2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch
About Dean Weingarten;
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.