Sgt. Patrick Hayes writes:
I usually title my articles “A Law Enforcement Perspective” but this time is it my personal perspective as a citizen of Georgia. Today, Governor Nathan Deal signed HB60, The Georgia Safe Carry Protection Act, into law. Despite anti-gunners’ and their media water carriers’ hysterical claims that the new “guns everywhere” law is “extreme” (e.g., NBC’s What Georgia’s ‘Extreme’ New Gun Law Allows), its passage was a bipartisan effort of Georgia legislators. The bill also enjoyed the advice and support of Georgia’s gun owners and groups like Georgiacarry, Georgia Gun Owners, Gun Owners of America and the NRA. The law expands where Georgia citizens – and those whose states share reciprocity with us – can carry a handgun in Georgia. Specifically . . .
Bars, churches, schools, airports and government buildings. Bar owners and school boards can prohibit licensed carry inside their facilities with signage. Churches must “opt in” to allow firearms. Airport carry is [still] allowed up to security checkpoints; if a legal gun owner holder accidentally carries a gun through security they won’t be arrested. And government buildings must allow carry unless they have security checkpoints or metal detectors.
The Act also removes unneeded steps in the license renewal process (e.g., fingerprinting). It prevents the state from maintaining a gun owner database and prohibits the Government form seizing weapons during an emergency. Crucially (from my point-of-view), law enforcement can no longer detain someone to just check their firearms license. They have to have probable cause to believe that someone with a gun – whether carrying concealed or openly – has committed a crime.
There was never any question that Governor Deal was going to sign the bill. He is up for reelection. We have a lot of gun owners who vote around here. The new law is not Constitutional carry, but it is a huge step in the right direction.