New Pro-Carry Georgia Law Takes Effect

Gov. Deal signs House Bill 60 into law, otherwise known as the Safe

Gov. Deal signs House Bill 60 into law, otherwise known as the Safe Carry Protection Act. (Photo: Associated Press)

On Tuesday Georgia’s sweeping pro-carry law took effect, causing gun-rights organizations to celebrate and gun-control groups to cringe.

House Bill 60 otherwise known as the “Safe Carry Protection Act” is now law, which means concealed carry permit holders can tote firearms into bars, schools, colleges and churches provided the purveyors of the establishments give them the green light.

To put it another way, the new law essentially puts the question to proprietors, administrators and clergymen on whether they want their place to be gun-free or gun friendly. Those who want to be gun-free can simply post a “No guns allowed” sign to prohibit carry on the premises while those who value the right of self defense can allow patrons, students, staff and members to carry.

Additionally, the law allows CCW permit holders to into unsecured government buildings and airports, and erases penalties for law-abiding citizens who accidentally bring guns through TSA security checkpoints.

While the bill was greeted with skepticism in the national media, some outlets dubbed in the “guns everywhere bill,” fretting that it was too extreme, lawmakers in the state House and Senate overwhelming supported the measure.

Likewise, Gov. Nathan Deal enthusiastically endorsed the measure when he signed it into law this past April.

“For decades now I have staunchly defended our Second Amendment rights as both a legislator and as governor,” said Deal, at a press conference.

“This legislation will protect the constitutional rights of Georgians who have gone through a background check to legally obtain a Georgia Weapons Carry License,” he added. “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 National Rifle Association, which help paved the way for the bill’s passage, trumpeted the rollout as a victory for gun owners.

“This new law is an unequivocal expansion of Georgians’ Second Amendment Rights and Freedoms,” said NRA spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen in an email to Guns America.

“Law abiding gun owners are now protected from the state creating or maintaining a data base of Weapons Carry License (WCL) holders,” she continued. “Responsible gun owners now have an absolute defense for the legal use of deadly force in the face of a violent attack.”

Catherine Mortensen, media liaison for the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action.  (Photo: NRA)

Catherine Mortensen, media liaison for the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. (Photo: NRA)

“Furthermore, the right to self-defense will now be protected for all Georgians, whether they live in a gated community or in public housing,” said Mortensen, concluding that “The NRA will continue to work with law-abiding gun owners and like-minded citizens everywhere to expand freedom and the right to self-defense.”

Meanwhile, Everytown for Gun Safety, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s pro-gun control organization, vowed not to go quietly into that good night, promising to use its grassroots advocacy to encourage Georgia restaurants, schools and churches to go the gun-free route.

“While the gun lobby may have won the legislative battle, Georgia businesses, schools, places of worship, and other community organizations can fight back by prohibiting guns on their properties, and the members of the Georgia chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America are on a mission to ensure they know this,” said Piyali Cole, Georgia Chapter Leader Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, in an email to Guns America.

“All summer, we will be canvassing our communities and educating bar and restaurants that serve alcohol about their rights, and provide them with the necessary signage to prohibit guns in their establishments,” said Cole.

“That legislative battle was lost but the war is far from over,” she continued. “If our elected officials will not ensure the safety of our children and families in public places, moms will. We welcome all the citizens of Georgia—moms, dads, grandparents and supporters—to join us in this effort.”

To recap, and as the NRA-ILA observed, the Safe Carry Protection Act expanded gun rights in the following ways:

  • 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).
  • Prohibiting 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.
  • Including a provision that would have the state report those persons who have been involuntarily hospitalized or have been adjudicated mentally deficient to the NICS system while also providing an ability for relief through an application process to the court system for the purpose of restoration of rights.
  • 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.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Gary Moeller July 10, 2014, 11:28 pm

    Now if Georgia will only recognize other states CCW permits………….it is the only state I have to worry about and stop and encase my CCW to drive through the state when I travel between VA and TX……….

  • dink winkerson July 8, 2014, 12:47 pm

    Michigan was CLOSE to seeing this kind of legislation, then just a few days before it was to be signed by the Gov and he had said he would., Sandyhook. We can already carry in churches with their permission. We can also open carry in schools but not concealed. Stupid huh . Bet open carry would get the cops called.

  • Mark Twain July 8, 2014, 9:56 am

    Well hopefully all of the rest of the South will follow suite. I know that our Gov. here in Fla. said he would sign the open carry law if it hits his desk. It is to protect those who accidentally expose there weapon etc. O.K. moms listen to this….Statistics speak HUGE volumes over your psycho babble. Chiraq (Chicago) where their is THE most restrictive gun laws in the country is fondly nick named Chiraq after Iraq because it is just like Iraq with how violent it is. And HEY guess what? It is the “illegal” gun toting gang members that are responsible. NOT the other way around. It’s not the law abiding citizens you need to focus on. It is the mentally unstable kooks in this world that you should be focusing on. Funny how Kennesaw Ga. at one point had one of the highest crime rates in the country. The mayor passed a mandatory open carry law for his community. You had to sign a waiver if you did not want to participate. Since that has passed crime is NILL! NILL! WHY? Because it makes for a great deterrent when you go into rob some place and 10 people are inside open carrying. Guns are not the problem. People who are of the criminal mind are. You can try to get rid of “all of the guns” and you NEVER EVER WILL! It would be like trying to eradicate cars. EINT, not happening! Education is the key. To many parents want to take the ostrich in the sand mentality towards guns. We were educated from a very young age that guns are dangerous and not to be played with. They are to be respected etc. We were shown how to properly handle them etc. I had my first gun when I was little. A BB gun. And I could not use it without my dad being present. So for the moms who want to protect the “children” how do you think that that a law abiding register gun owner who has had training and follows the law is a threat to you OR any child? It’s the ones who do carry legally that you need to be grateful for because it just might be one of us that saves your dumb ass one day. Here’s another case. A judge who use to carry met her mom & dad for lunch one day. The state didn’t allow cancel carry in restaurants. So she left her gun in the trunk of her car. While they where having lunch a man came into the restaurant and opened fire. Shot her dad & wounded her mom amongst several others. A man picked up a chair and busted out a window on the side of the building for everyone to try and escape through. As they started to crawl towards the opening she looked back to see her mom not wanting to leave her husbands side she was shot and killed as well. She testified before congress that IF she had been allowed to carry in that restaurant the out come would have been far greater and that her mom & dad would still be here. Look it up on Youtube if you don’t believe me! Better yet here is the link – OR better yet a 15 year old talking EXACTLY the opposite of what these moms are yammering about – FACTS! I am not going to be a victim. I am going to protect myself and those around me if need be. There is evil in this world and it doesn’t care if there is a sign hanging on a door saying “No guns”. Stop being naive, pull your heads out of the sand.

  • Jason July 7, 2014, 8:38 pm

    Bravo GA!

  • steve ingwer July 7, 2014, 9:52 am

    I applaud georgia and believe all states should follow their example. As for those opposed if a mugger or someone looking to do you or a child harm can carry a gun illegally wouldn’t you want a law abiding responsible gun owner around to stop them. The police can not be everywhere and by the time one shows up it may be too late. If all law abiding citizens were trained to use a gun and carried one i believe crime would go down nationwide. The criminals don’t want to get shot anymore than anyone else does.

    • ben July 7, 2014, 11:09 am

      thats good news – hope fl. follows —-all states should ….

      • John L July 7, 2014, 12:24 pm

        Some states are already ahead of the curve. In Arizona, where I have lived my entire life, open carry was written into the state constitution from day one. Never a need for a license. Recently we passed laws that require no licensing for CCW. So, carry openly or carry concealed, no government license involved. Rules for public/private property are similar to Georgia’s new law, but I haven’t seen a no firearm sign posted in years.

      • Jack July 7, 2014, 12:52 pm

        YES! YES! YES!

  • Henry July 7, 2014, 8:26 am

    To be a little more precise, church worship spaces REMAIN “no carry zones” unless the governing body of the church ops-in and allows carry. This is different than the other places mentioned in the bill.

  • Wolfman July 7, 2014, 6:48 am

    I congratulate the state of Georgia with this legislation. All the provision I’ve seen sound good to me.
    It makes more sense to let establishments decide as to allow someone to carry on their premises. The
    anti-gun, misdirected poor moms will spend precious time going around telling everyone who would
    listen that they are protecting the children. It’s always the children. Tell me, when was the last time
    any of you concerned moms ever try to do something about abused and neglected children. Have you
    ever gone to see a rape victims? Start a moms group for the prevention of domestic violence? That
    takes a backbone to get involved in difficult social situations. How many children are killed in the
    home nationwide, compared to being shot? You mothers make me sick and disgusted whenever you
    pretend to be concerned about the children. Take a look at all other forms of violence and compare it
    to the number killed by guns. In cities and states that allow to carry concealed guns, the crime rate
    has gone DOWN. Regardless what the mayor and police chief of Chicago say about crime in Chicago.
    About 99% of the shootings in Chicago involve gangs on the South side and West side. Try to curb that
    violence. All you care about is how many guns you confiscated. It’s shown on all the news networks.
    And of course, they protect the children. We can’t forget about the children. When, mayor, you get rid
    of gangs guns and stop their killing of each other, then come and tell me what a great you’re doing. Because,
    after all we’re here to protect the children. So, in closing, I’d just want to know how many children you’re
    helping that aren’t being shot. We’re all worried about the “children.” Good luck, I’ll be watching!!!!!!

    card. So let me see, the gangs don’t need a FOID card, but they have all the guns they want, any kind
    they want.

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