Georgia governor signs liberalizing concealed carry law

The distraught opponents of the gun-rights legislation passed by the Georgia legislature last month and signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal on Wednesday have dubbed the package the “guns everywhere bill.” I gather that the moniker is meant as a disparagement, but I don’t get that. Allowing responsible citizens to carry concealed firearms in more places, after all, is kinda’ the point.

House Bill 60, or the Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014 — which opponents have nicknamed the “guns everywhere bill” — specifies where Georgia residents can carry weapons. Included are provisions that allow residents who have concealed carry permits to take guns into some bars, churches, school zones, government buildings and certain parts of airports.

GeorgiaCarry, which lobbied for the bill, calls it “meaningful pro-gun legislation,” despite it being watered down from the group’s perspective. Still, the group has lauded the legislation, which will go into effect July 1. Americans for Responsible Solutions opposed the bill, calling it “extremism in action.”

Calling it “a great day to reaffirm our liberties,” Deal said the law allows residents to protect their families and expands the list of places where they can legally carry firearms, while allowing certain property owners, namely churches and bars, to make judgments on whether they want worshippers and patrons carrying guns.

“Roughly 500,000 Georgia citizens have a permit of this kind, which is approximately 5 percent of our population. License holders have passed background checks and are in good standing with the law. 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 law will go into effect on July 1st and allow permit holders to brings their firearms into churches/bars/schools (although these establishments will be able to self-determine on an individual basis), the pre-TSA areas of airports, government buildings that don’t require security screening, as well as prohibit any kind of state database of licensed gun owners and eliminate the requirement that people renewing their permits must once again get fingerprinted. There’s plenty of the usual progressive outrage going around about the supposed dangers of extending gun rights to all of these ‘sensitive’ areas, particularly the bars/restaurants provision — but somehow Maine, Arizona, Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, and recently South Carolina have all allowed permit holders to carry in establishments that serve alcohol (provided they don’t imbibe) without inspiring rashes of the mass drunken tough-guy shootouts that lefties claim to fear. Good for Georgia for getting on board.