It’s easy to distinguish the supporters from the opponents when it comes to Georgia’s new law expanding concealed carry. Proponents call HB 60 by its legislative name, The Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014, while opponents derisively refer to it as the “Guns Everywhere Act.”
Gov. Nathan Deal signed the bill into law on April 23. It goes into effect on July 1. It will allow 500,000 Georgia concealed carry permit holders who have already passed background checks — roughly 5 percent of the state’s population — to carry in restaurants that serve alcohol, places of worship, and government buildings without entrance security.
Predictably, the bill was hailed as a “sweeping restoration of gun rights” that “decriminalizes” concealed carry by Second Amendment advocates, and blasted by opponents as “a plump turducken of pure stupid” and an “unprecedented” example of “extremism in action.”
None of which is true, according to economist and author John R. Lott, Jr., who says the bill’s significance is being misinterpreted by proponents and opponents.
The best way to interpret Georgia’s new law isn’t as an expansion of concealed carry rights but as an elimination of gun-free zones, Lott says. He said two-thirds of Americans favor “getting rid of gun-free zones” which, as he documents in his book, “More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws,” are crime generators, not crime deterrents.
Lott said the mainstream media is making the bill “seem pretty controversial” when it isn’t considering that all HB 60 does is align Georgia’s laws with those in surrounding states.
“The point is that other states already allow concealed carry in all those other places and there are no problems with that occurring,” he wrote on his blog on April 24.
The push for the bill came from GeorgiaCarry.org, founded in 2007 to restore gun rights by addressing “vaguely and poorly written” state laws. “This is a great day for freedom,” the group stated on its website.
But GeorgiaCarry.org spokesman Jerry Henry acknowledged the bill only makes Georgia concealed carry regulations now compatible with neighboring states, telling GPB News on April 23 that other states have far less restrictive gun laws than Georgia and he doesn’t expect to see a surge in gun sales or an increase in gun-related businesses in the state once the law goes into affect on July 1.
While the National Rifle Association praised the bill as “the most comprehensive pro-gun reform legislation introduced in recent state history” and called it a “historic victory for the Second Amendment, Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and retired combat veteran and astronaut Capt. Mark Kelly, actively campaigned against the bill.
“The bill is extremism in action; it moves Georgia out of the mainstream,” ARS Executive Director Pia Carusone said.
Colin Goddard, a survivor of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting who now works with the advocacy group Everytown For Gun Safety, called the bill an “unprecedented” expansion of “Stand Your Ground.”
The bill is “truly a new type of Stand Your Ground as we know it,” he said. “To expand it in such a way to remove all carrying or possession offenses is really unprecedented.”
How anyone can describe a law designed to enhance reciprocity with existing laws in other states as “unprecedented” underscores how many — especially anti-gun zealots — are misinterpreting it, writes Sgt. Patrick Hayes, a 10-year Army veteran and a 20-year Georgia police veteran.
“The law expands where Georgia citizens — and those whose states share reciprocity with us — can carry a handgun in Georgia,” Hayes writes in his April 24 “A Law Enforcement Perspective” on TruthAboutGuns.com.
“Despite anti-gunners’ and their media water carriers’ hysterical claims that the new ‘guns everywhere’ law is ‘extreme,’ its passage was a bipartisan effort of Georgia legislators,” he continues. “There was never any question that Gov. Deal was going to sign the bill. He is up for reelection. We have a lot of gun owners who vote around here. The new law is not Constitutional carry, but it is a huge step in the right direction.”
For more, go to:
— ‘Historic Victory’ or ‘Reckless’? New Georgia Gun Law Makes Waves
— [THE TEACHABLE MOMENT GOES ON; Charlie Pierce on Georgia’s New Pro-Gun Laws](/node/add/Charlie Pierce on Georgia’s New Pro-Gun Laws)