Weapons Law Reform Passes Georgia Committee (HB 875)

By Dean Weingarten

Georgia State Seal
Georgia State Seal
Dean Weingarten
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.

My reading of HB 875's text confirms the NRAILA analysis.  The bill has moved rapidly through the committee, with strong support during the two days of hearings.    From MyAJC.com:

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.

  • 9 thoughts on “Weapons Law Reform Passes Georgia Committee (HB 875)

    1. Well Regulated simply means well trained, Not hindered by rules. And we are all the militia
      according to the writers of the constitution.
      so basically this just means that the Govt should
      give us the means and the location to train regularly with our firearms. Thus they should supply local FREE ranges, ammunition and instruction

    2. The concept of proper training is valid for a carry license; but the implementation of such a law can be questionable. Once the law is enacted, who decides the difficulty of the test or the qualifications required? What happens if the politicians in power have strong anti-gun policies? Conceivably, the law can become a means to deny the right to carry to any qualified person, simply by taking the requirements to a very high level of difficulty. Responsible law abiding citizens who wish to carry have the training or will obtain the training. Criminals and people with evil intentions seem to find a way, regardless of the law.I believe in the slippery slope.

    3. Those who support total deregulation of guns are quick to point out the “shall not be infringed phrase of the second amendment. But they read right past the “well regulated militia” portion that opens the amendment. The way I see it, the restrictions intended by the founding fathers come before the “shall not be infringed”.

    4. I was being facetious about requiring a literacy test. William went to the trouble of defining the word “infringe”. That’s what I was driving at when I mentioned clarity and the U.S. Constitution.

    5. I don’t think reading an instruction manual is a substitute for actually firing a gun! Perhaps you are for reading an instruction manual for driving a car also? Doing away with those pesky driving tests? Why require a driver’s license at all? People can read their instruction manuals! We’ll all save time and money…. (but not lives, that’s for sure!)

    6. “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED”.. requires no further “Clarity”.. but let’s kick that “dead horse” just one more time for giggles:
      “Infringe: To act to limit or encroach”
      I could explain the term “Shall not be” but I don’t want to be considered concesending.. or rude.

    7. Rep. Keisha Waites’ “political theater” raises a valid question. What product, purchased now days, does not come with an instruction manual or user guide? Maybe we should require a literacy test too? That would even give clarity on matters covered by the U.S. Constitution!

    8. Does anyone have a concern that Georgia’s concealed carry permit process requires no training or competency evaluation? I was at the hearings, where Rep Keisha Waites held up her legally obtained carry permit and she stated. I got this legally, and I don’t know how to load a gun, unload a gun, nor do I know, for the most part one gun from another.” That is a paraphrase of her statement. But the fact remains that Georgia Carry permits in no way assure that only responsible gun users are carrying in Georgia.

    9. That was a great breakdown of what the bill will do. I noticed, however, that the writer left out the fact that people who had had their carry license revoked could get another one. Also left out the fact that the bill reduces domestic violence victims’ rights and lowers the penalties on certain violent crimes to ensure that those who commit them can still obtain firearms.

      So are we just reading what supporting, biased, organizations are writing… or could whoever writes the next article on this please actually read the bill and not cherry pick what they want their readers to see?

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