When deciding which Governors are pro Second Amendment Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal gets a solid check mark beside his name. On Wednesday, Gov. Deal signed a wide-ranging gun bill into law that left critics howling in protest and the rest of us applauding.
Georgia’s House Bill 60, otherwise known as the Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014—dubbed the “guns everywhere bill” by opponents (I can live with that name too!)—specifies where Georgia residents can carry weapons. Included provisions allow concealed carry, by permit holders, to take guns into bars, churches, school zones, government buildings and certain parts of airports. The stipulation still allows the owners of private enterprises or the church congregation to post and prohibit concealed carry at their venue.
GeorgiaCarry, the main proponent that lobbied for the bill, stated the legislation is “meaningful pro-gun legislation,” despite not getting all of the its requested elements from the original draft. An opposition group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, opposed the bill, calling it “extremism in action.”
Governor Deal caused more controversy at the bill’s signing when the ceremony opened with a prayer, the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance.
Deal had much to say about the new law that lawmakers in other states should note: Deal, calling it “a great day to reaffirm our liberties,” explained that the law will allow residents to protect their families by expanding the list of places where they can legally carry firearms, but protecting individual’s rights by allowing certain property owners—namely churches and bars—to make judgments on whether they want worshipers and patrons carrying guns.
“The Second Amendment should never be an afterthought. It should be at the forefront of our minds,” Deal said while touting his NRA endorsement for governor and “A” rating during his 17 years in Congress. The governor said the law “will protect the constitutional rights of Georgians who have gone through a background check to legally obtain a Georgia Weapons Carry License.
Americans for Responsible Solutions opposed GeorgiaCarry’s bill, but celebrated the fact that the portion, which would have allowed legal concealed carry on college campuses. Given the age of recent shooters involved in mass attacks and the average age of our brave service men and women, this would seem to be an overreaction, but let’s take every victory we can get and be happy.
A surprising development was Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014’s provision, which allows guns at one of the country’s busiest airports. While the bill says no one is allowed to carry a firearm past an airport’s security screening checkpoint, it allows guns in other areas, including “an airport drive, general parking area, walkway, or shops and areas of the terminal that are outside the screening checkpoint.”