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Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue vetoed Senate SB291 (re: guns near airports) and signed Senate SB308 into law. The headline attraction for 308: Georgia’s gun owners now have the right to carry a weapon in their vehicle regardless of any pubic or private landowner’s prohibition against same. In other words, your employer may ban guns from the premises, but he or she cannot ban you from keeping a gun in your car. As long as it stays in the car. Strangely, the law provides that people who are prohibited from possessing a handgun can now possess one—as long as its in a case and unloaded. [MA, RI residents note: not a “locked” case.] Something to do with pawn shops? The law also makes carrying a weapon without a license a misdemeanor . . .

Do it again and it’s a felony, with a two-year minimum, five-year maximum jail sentence. This stricture applies to gun owners who carry a weapon in places where it ain’t supposed to be: government buildings, courthouses, jails (duh), places of worship (gun range?), state mental health facilities, nuclear power plants and anywhere within 150 feet of one of Georgia’s 347 liberals. Kidding. Polling places.

Speaking of schools, the new law removes the 1000-foot gun exclusion zone around schools. Instead they’re banned “in or on” any “public or private technical school, vocational school, college, university, or institution of postsecondary education.” Meanwhile, the fee for a Georgia weapons carry license doubles from $15 to $30. Thanks to the extra cash (or something), the license gets an upgrade.

There shall be a minimum of three different ultraviolet colors used to enhance the security of the license incorporating variable data, color shifting characteristics, and front edge only perimeter visibility. The weapons carry license shall have a color photograph viewable under ambient light on both the front and back of the license. The license shall incorporate custom optical variable devices featuring the great seal of the State of Georgia as well as matching demetalized optical variable devices viewable under ambient light from the front and back of the license incorporating microtext and unique alphanumeric serialization specific to the license holder. The license shall be of similar material, size, and thickness of a credit card and have a holographic laminate to secure and protect the license for the duration of the license period.

Heres an odd one, for those of you who may wonder why a .38 is so special. Who will probably continue to do so after this:

Persons hired for the purpose of conducting investigations for the professional licensing boards shall be designated as investigators and any person so designated shall have all the powers of a peace officer of this state when engaged in the enforcement of this title or of any of the laws creating or related to the professional licensing boards. Such investigators shall be authorized, upon the written approval of the division director, notwithstanding Code Sections 16-11-126, 16-11-128, and 16-11-129, to carry firearms of a caliber not greater than the standard police .38 handgun.”

And finally (for us anyway), the bill corrects a previous statute’s spelling mistake: “district attorneys investigator” becomes “district attorney’s investigator.” Now that’s what I call progress.

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