Georgia Gov. Signs 'Guns Everywhere Bill', Which Is Exactly What It Sounds Like
Despite already being a gun-friendly state, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed sweeping gun legislation Wednesday that will make it easier for gun-toting residents to carry their firearms into public places, including government buildings, bars and even houses of worship. Basically, everywhere. The Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014, which greatly expands on Georgia's existing gun laws, has been called the "most extreme gun bill" in the United States by its critics.
Commonly referred to as the "Guns Everywhere Bill," the legislation will allow residents to bring firearms into government buildings that don't require checkpoints. Bars owners, who previously had to "opt-in" to allow guns in their establishments, now have to "opt-out" if they want to ban them. The law also enables school districts to appoint staffers to carry firearms, and gives churches the option of letting guns into their place of worship. People may also carry guns into certain areas of an airport, including the general parking lot, walkways and shops (but guns are not allowed beyond the security checkpoints).
Where can't a Georgia citizen with a license to carry take his gun? Government buildings that require security screenings, such as courthouses, are still off limits, while only authorized staff may possess a firearm in a school.
According to a statement released by Gov. Deal, 500,000 Georgia residents — or five percent of the population — have gun permits:
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. Our nation’s founders put the right to bear arms on par with freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Georgians cherish their Second Amendment rights, and this law embodies those values.
Despite passing the Republican-controlled state legislature with relative ease, the Guns Everywhere Bill had some high-profile opposition, including the Gabby Giffords-founded Americans for Responsible Solutions and Michael Bloomberg's funded Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Even the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police opposed the bill.
“Police officers do not want more people carrying guns on the street,” Executive Director Frank Rotondo told NBC News, “particularly police officers in inner city areas.”
According to the Center for American Progress, Georgia's gun-murder rate is 27 percent above the national average. Georgia also had the third-highest rate of robberies with a firearm, and had the 13th-highest rate of aggravated assault with a firearm in the nation in 2011.