Georgia’s sweeping new gun laws would make even the most ardent gun supporters do a double take. American’s for Responsible Solutions founder, Former Congresswoman of Arizona Gabrielle Giffords, has labeled the new law the “guns everywhere” bill. The bill is so sweeping that one would be permitted to carry guns anywhere and everywhere as long as you have a permit. However, you don’t even have to prove that you have a permit, and officials are not allowed to ask to see it. Reading over the laws puts terror in the veins of liberals and gives conservatives a jolt of joy. Georgia’s new “guns everywhere” law would be in every state in the union if it were up to the NRA.
The National Rifle Association lobbied so hard for the legislation that Governor Nathan Deal, who is up for re-election, is expected to sign the bill. The NRA played a hands-on role in the creation of this bill. In fact, State Representative Rick Jasperse, the law’s sponsor, worked directly with them. The NRA reportedly got everything they wanted in the bill, and it was widely approved by legislators who ended the vote in a crowd of cheers and high-fives across the state floor. Created just a year after the horrors of Sandy Hook, the bill allows open and loaded carry in bars, restaurants, churches, schools, workplaces and even the airport. Teachers have the right to arm themselves in schools; the law even gives felons a right to carry with protection to use a “Stand Your Ground” defense in criminal cases. Proponents argue that this “common sense” legislation allows loaded weapons in bars as long as no alcohol is consumed, and people may bring guns into airport common areas only. No matter how reasonable that may sound to some, the law does not indicate how it would be enforced. With respect to consumption requirements in bars, law enforcement still must have reasonable cause to question if a carrier has consumed alcohol. Also, if a carrier tries to go through airport security the TSA has no rights to stop, detain, or confiscate the weapons. Georgia’s new “guns everywhere” law caps any violations at $100 and makes prosecution of any offenses extremely difficult.
In a highly contentious election year, Georgia’s legislators are facing very little to no backlash on this bill. The support from Georgia residents has been so strong that even the Democratic challenger for Governor, Senator Jason Carter, voted for the bill. Carter is the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter. The only strong challenges from constituents, which were struck from the law, were one which would have made it legal to carry at colleges along with an exemption allowing local churches to decide if they will allow their congregation to carry on site or not. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, Georgia has faced the worst crime wave in it’s nearly 300-year history. Murders and gun violence have risen in the last decade and this law is touted as a way for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and their families. Opponents of Georgia’s new “guns everywhere” law argue that this bill can only make things worse for the state. Many believe the bill will hurt the state financially because people may avoid coming to the state, negatively affecting travel and tourism.
Opinion by Kimberly Beller