Saturday, March 22, 2014

GA:Gun Reform Bill Passes Legislature, Next to Governor

HB60, as the bill finally came to be know after a tortuous trip through the Georgia Legislature, finally passed the house today 112 to 58, and now awaits action from Governor Deal.  The Governor has this to say, on his reelection website: "As governor, Deal has signed every pro-gun rights bill to reach his desk."   He makes the promise that he will continue to do the same.  From, he has these options:
A) He may sign the bill and it becomes law on July 1, 2014

B) He may veto the bill and send it back to the chambers, which can be overridden by a 2/3 majority vote from each chamber.

C) He can ignore the bill and it becomes law in either 7 or 40 days, depending on when it was transmitted to the governor. We asked that it be transmitted immediately, but did not get confirmation on whether that happened or not.
HB60 seems to be basically the older HB875 with hunting  with suppressors included and "opt in" for churches instead of "opt out".  One reform is that the penalty for carrying in a church that has not "opted in" is reduced to a civil fine like a traffic ticket.  Here is what we seem to get with HB60:
  • 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 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).
  • Preempting 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.
  • Incorporation of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act for mental health reporting.
  • 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.
  • Allowing school systems to decide whether staff and faculty may carry a firearm on school property, pending approved training, similar to the NRA’s National School Shield program.
  • Allowing the lawful carry by WCL holders in government buildings where it is not currently restricted or security screening personnel are posted during regular business hours.
  •  Hunting with suppressors allowed.
  • Opt in for Churches, rather than traditional private property rights, and reduction for of the penalty for carrying in a church that does not opt in to a $100 civil fine.
I have not yet found the finished version of the bill online.   Georgia Carry, the NRA, and others that I am sure are out there, have been working to get reform through the legislature for the last four years. 

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

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