Georgia Gov. makes history with comprehensive pro-gun bill

Published 7:10 pm Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A recent gun bill signed by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal takes a major step in widening where licensed carriers can bring weapons, including some churches, schools and government buildings that don’t have security restrictions.

House Bill 60, active July 1, has supporters throughout the state cheering for the restoration of their second amendment rights, including Decatur County Sheriff Wiley Griffin.

“House Bill 60 is a very good bill,” Griffin said. “I support it. I’m a big proponent of the second amendment, and House Bill 60 goes further than most states go to restore the second amendment for our citizens.”

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In light of violent shootings in the U.S. over the past few years, many states have tightened down on their gun control laws. Georgia’s reason for expanding its resident’s gun rights comes from GeorgiaCarry, a pro-gun organization that lobbied for HB 60.

“Our nation’s founders put the right to bear arms on par with freedom of speech and freedom of religion,” Deal said in a statement announcing the bill’s signing. “This law gives added protections to those who have played by the rules – and who can protect themselves and others from those who don’t play by the rules.”

The new law allows licensed carriers to bring weapons into places of worship, bars and school safety zones, school functions and onto school-provided transportation, such as busses. All of these, however, have to be met with approval from appropriate officials or property owners.

HB 60 also legally allows carriers to bring weapons into government buildings unless security measures prevent them from doing so.

Also known as the Safe Carry Protection Act, HB 60 has its fair share of critics that view it as the opposite of safe.

Bainbridge City Manager Chris Hobby said though he was a staunch supporter of the second amendment, allowing guns into places of public gathering will only cause problems.

“I don’t think that’s really where we want to go as a society,” Hobby said. “It seems like we’re going backwards to the old West days. I don’t think that’s what any reasonable person wants. I think it makes people uncomfortable, unnecessarily, and I think it increases that chance something unfortunate is going to happen.”

Hobby also noted a local government that doesn’t want to allow guns inside the building would be forced to spend tax dollars on security.

“No local government needs to be spending money right now that they don’t need to,” Hobby said. “This just creates one more thing that you have to make a decision on.”