A new measure in Georgia that relaxes many of the state’s gun laws is expected to be signed by Governor Nathan Deal. Overall, the changes are substantial and positive, and Texas Law Shield advises members in other states to push for similar changes.
According to the NRA, upon the governor’s signature, HB 60 will enact the following pro-gun reforms for all law-abiding gun owners in Georgia:
— Remove fingerprinting for renewal of Weapons Carry Licenses (WCL).
— Prohibit the state from creating and maintaining a database of WCL holders.
— Create an absolute defense to any violations in the “Carrying and Possession of Firearms” or “Transportation Passenger Safety” sections of the law, for the legal use of deadly force in the face of a violent attack.
— Lower the age, from 21 to 18, to obtain a WCL for self-defense for active duty military or those who have been honorably discharged, with basic training.
— Allows for the use of firearm sound suppressors while hunting on own private property, private property with verifiable permission from the owner to use a suppressor, or on public lands in areas designated for such hunting.
— Repeal the unnecessary and duplicative state-required license for a firearms dealer, instead requiring only a Federal Firearms License (FFL).
— Prohibit a ban on firearms in public housing, ensuring that the right to self-defense should not be infringed based on where one calls home.
— Codify the ability to legally carry, with a WCL, in non-secure areas of airports.
— State 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.
— Strengthen current firearms preemption statutes through further clarification of the regulatory authority of local governments, excluding firearm discharge ordinances.
— Remove the sweeping restrictions on legally carrying a firearm with a WCL in bars, leaving this decision to private property owners.
— Allowing for churches to opt-in for legal carry with only a civil penalty of a $100 if a person happens to carry into a prohibited church unknowingly.
In our view, there’s one part of the law that will require careful implementation:
— Require reporting those persons who have been involuntarily hospitalized or have been adjudicated mentally deficient to the NICS system, while also providing the ability for relief through an application process to the court system allowing for restoration of gun rights.
We believe that identifying dangerous individuals is important to reducing violence, but mental-health restrictions on gun ownership must be carefully thought out.
Which of Georgia’s pending laws do you wish your state would adopt?