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Last year, Second Amendment supporters struggled to push an omnibus gun reform bill through the Georgia legislature.  There were conflicts between groups that claimed similar aims, the bill stalled and ran out of time in the senate. This year, a similar bill, HB 875, has sailed through the house committee and passed by a more than two to one margin. Here is a list of who voted for or against the bill. It has been assigned to the senate Judiciary Non-Civil Committee, the same committee it where it stalled last year . . .

HB 875 provides for a number of reforms.   A list compiled by the NRA-ILA is shown below:

  • 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.

Senate bill 93 will be coming up for a vote in the natural resources committee in the near future. It makes the use of suppressors legal for the taking of game in Georgia. Similar legislation has been recently implemented in Arizona, Oklahoma, Indiana, North Carolina and Texas. This bill was introduced last year but did not make it past a senate committee.  A list of the committee members is available here.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Gun Watch

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  1. Nice to see quick movement on HB 875. I would really like to see movement on the Constitutional Carry or Campus Carry bills, but I feel those might be dead in the water. From just a quick perusal of those voting “nay” it seems they are all from metro Atlanta. Big shocker there, I know.

    • Yeah I work in Marietta and supervise close to 100 security officers. Talk about a “Purple” city. Tons of New York, Mass, New Jersey, Connecticut license plates around here. Why are they here and voting for similar legislation when their home state sucked so much they had to move? They’ve turned Atlanta into NYC Lite. Go home Yankees! Lol

  2. Good to see positive movement.
    Is it just me or does it seem like for every anti gun bill a state is trying to pass, there are two or more pro gun bills getting pushed through legislation? Kind of a one step forward, two steps back kind of thing.

    • It’s funny, some of the anti states are getting worse and some are being forced by the courts to get better.

      The pro-gun states, meanwhile, are getting better all the time.

      • It is legal to consume alcohol while carrying in GA. I believe it was SB 308 in 2010 that removed that restriction.

        • Correct. The laws concerning drinking alcohol and carrying are the same as drinking alcohol and driving a car.

        • “The laws concerning drinking alcohol and carrying are the same as drinking alcohol and driving a car.”

          Not exactly. You can’t legally drive a car if you are “intoxicated” (>= .08% BAC). There’s nothing in the carry laws about being intoxicated. You can be sh**faced and still be carrying, and that is not a crime (though certainly not a good idea). It is only a crime to discharge your firearm when you are intoxicated, and even then there is an exception if it is true self defense, then you are OK (presuming your intoxication does not lead the DA/jury to think your “reasonable fear” or whatever for self defense was not valid due to your state of mind).

  3. First, lowering the age for those with training, is a good way to show respect.

    Second…can anyone explain why the first point is a bad idea to have when renewing? Or better yet, finger prints are a way to speed up the background check process? or Are they simply another way to make a database?

    • I can’t speak to the technical aspects of it, but I doubt it’s of any assistance as far as the BC is concerned. Therefore, it follows that it’s simply a database, which can be used against you in the future, like most any other public record.

      In this context, it’s irrelevant because the law requires the probate court to issue the license unless there is legal cause not to do so, namely, a felony conviction, in which case the offender would already have prints on file.


    • I disagree with your first point. It creates a second class of people who get special privileges just because they are in the military.

      Its similar to police officers getting an exemption to practically every gun law here in California.

      Their hearts are in the right place but it should apply to every 18 year old, not just the military.

      • True, especially if it’s going to require specific training anyway. The military training my tick the check box, but why not allow non-military to seek said training themselves.

        And is the implication that the training has to be different for 18-20 year olds than for 21+ year olds? That seems kind of odd if it’s the case.

      • I agree with the special class of people argument, but my bigger concern here is with the potential repercussions to the GA license’s reciprocity in other states. Some states will not allow reciprocity with states which issue licenses/permits to people under 21. So I’m concerned that we in GA may lose some of our reciprocity states because of this provision.

    • Are your fingerprints going to change between renewals?

      Taking fingerprints is a real pain and an impediment to renewing a CCW. It costs considerable time and money to do it, and the places you can get them done are often inconvenient. The harder you make the process, the more you chill the exercise of the right.

      A significant minority of people have a hard time getting good fingerprints. In my experience, if you are a small, older woman, who works in the garden… Good luck!

      I have sometimes had to do fingerprints four or five times to get a decent set.

    • They already have my fingerprints from the initial application. It’s not like they changed and it adds time, money, and complication to the process.

  4. “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.”

    This is huge, and those supporting it could yell this from the rooftops.

    Any state legislator voting against this bill is essentially claiming that everyone in public housing is assumed to be a criminal (isn’t that the justification used for not allowing guns in public housing, to keep guns out of criminals?).

    Here we have something that represents true equality – an equal opportunity for self defense and the right to life – and yet someone votes against it.

  5. Can someone smarter than me (don’t worry, it doesn’t take much) explain what point #3 is? What exactly is an “absolute defense?” I’ve never heard that terminology before.

    • “Absolute defense” pretty much means “full” or “complete” defense. I have not read the associated statutes in Georgia law, just HB 875, so I cannot be entirely sure. I believe it means that if you are found to be not guilty because of self defense, then you are not subject to civil lawsuit for damages.

      It may also mean that the state has the burden of proof that you did not act in self defense. There may be a jurisdiction in the U.S. where if you assert self defense as a justification, you have to prove self defense. In most jurisdictions, the state has to prove that you did not act in self defense.

      It makes quite a difference. It essentially applies “innocent until proven guilty” to self defense cases.

      I am sure that a real lawyer on TTAG can tell us, after they have done the work of reading all the related Georgia statutes.

    • Part of the absolute defense here (I have read the bill and contacted my legislators about it and been following it closely) is that valid self defense or defense of others is an defense against being prosecuted for carrying in a prohibited place. Basically, if you needed your gun for true defense in an off limits place, you would not be charged with carrying in a prohibited place after the fact.

      • Well it’s kinda hard to use a weapon for self defense if it is prohibited in the first place. That would make that part of the law either redundant or contradictory.

        • I think really it boils down to “you can carry in prohibited places, and if you get spotted you’re going to jail, but if you don’t get spotted until you use the gun in self defense, then you don’t go to jail”. Almost a kind of back door to carrying in prohibited places. Also it could be something like you’re in a prohibited place, you’re not carrying but your gun is in your car, something goes down, you run to your car to get your gun and run back in to stop the threat. Technically going back in with your gun would be carrying in a prohibited place, but you wouldn’t be prosecuted for it because it was defense of others.

  6. I’m a huge fan of the Emergency Powers limitation. I responded to Hurricane Katrina and heard about the gun confiscations after the fact by the NOPD and the National Guard. They were bragging about it. Made me sick to my stomach.

    I’m happy that GA is closing the book on state of emergency gun confiscations. One less thing to worry about during a bad situation.

  7. When people talk about “common sense gun laws”, this is what they mean (whether they know it or not).

    • Ours are issued by your local probate judge, rather than a police body. We don’t really have a state police, we only have the State Patrol, and they mostly run the highways. They would have to create an entirely new system to issue out of state. If your concern is carrying in GA, our AG is required by law to reciprocate with anyone who recognises the GA permit, but can only reciprocate with those states. So, you could either pressure your AG to accept GA, or get TN or FL. We accept both, and they’re more accepted across the country.

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