Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal signed that state’s House Bill 60, or the “Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014” in tolaw on Wednesday.
This new state law will allow Georgia residents to carry concealed weapons into many areas that were traditionally off-limits to concealed firearms such as bars, school zones, hospitals, government buildings and even certain areas in airports. Concealed weapons may be brought in to churches if the church opts-in to allowing them in the church. The new law also now permits hunters to use silencers on their firearms, and even allows felons, or others convicted of gun crimes in the past, to carry concealed weapons.
Governor Deal, who has gotten an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, signed the bill at a picnic on Wednesday that was filled with spectators carrying handguns.
Proponents of the “Guns Everywhere Bill” say the legislation, that sailed through both the Georgia House and Senate in the final days of session, allows them to fully exercise their right to bear arms.
Meanwhile, police departments, especially in the inner cities are less enthusiastic about the new law. The Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police Executive Director Frank Rotondo says that he fears that officers are going to have a tougher time responding to calls such as bar fights. He said “A lot of the country is looking at Georgia and thinking this bill went too far.”
The Senior Advisor of Americans for Responsible Solutions, Pia Carusone, weighed in on the law saying, “It is no surprise that while being trumpeted by the NRA as the ‘most comprehensive’ gun bill in state history, the legislation … was opposed by Georgia law enforcement, county commissioners, municipal leaders, and the Transportation Security Administration for its potentially harmful impact on Georgians’ safety.”
The Governor said however, “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 new law goes into affect on July 1.