Republican Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed the "Safe Carry Protection Act" into state law on 4/23/2014. This law is being dubbed the "guns everywhere" bill by its critics. Here are the in's and out's of this incredibly controversial law, that goes into effect on July 1st.
It is now legal for licensed gun owners in Georgia (and visitors from 28 other states) to carry their guns freely into bars and nightclubs. The new law also permits gun owners to carry in places of worship, as long as the religious leader of the establishment consents. Furthermore, schools are now legally allowed to let some of their employees carry firearms inside school grounds, under certain restrictions, if they so choose. If that weren't enough, the bill goes on to allow guns to be carried in airports, libraries, recreational centers, city office buildings and fire stations, along with some other government buildings. Basically, any government building that doesn't have a metal detector at the front entrance.
The "Safe Carry Protection Act" is being called the "Guns Everywhere" bill for good reason. As I mentioned above, there is hardly a place now that guns won't be allowed to be carried publicly in the state of Georgia. For now, the only establishment that I have seen reported that you for sure cannnot carry is the State Capitol Building. To be completely fair though, any and every establishment in Georgia can opt-out and simply not allow guns in their building. That is a fair point to consider. This law is more about widening gun restrictions in theory, but not necessarily in practice.
The new law doesn't just open restrictions on where you can carry firearms though. It is more widespread than that. The new law also removes a restriction that prevented those convicted of certain misdemeanors from getting a gun permit. Also, police officers will no longer be allowed to detain a person "for the sole purpose of investigating whether such a person has a weapons carry license". And finally, the age limit for qualifying for a gun permit has now officially been lowered to 18.
So Georgia now has, by all accounts, the laxest gun control regulations in all of America, as far as I know. This is being championed by Governor Deal and the bill's supporters as a great 2nd amendment achievement. "Today I will put into law a gun bill that heralds self defense, personal liberties, and public safety." These were the words that Governor Deal used when speaking to the public just before signing House Bill 60 into law.
Governor Deal truly believes that allowing licensed gun owners to freely carry firearms into any bar or nightclub in his state is an advancement of Georgia citizen's personal liberties. Deal truly believes that guns in schools, airports, libraries and churches promotes self defense and public safety. All I have to ask is from whom? Who are you protecting yourself from when you carry a gun into a church? How are you advancing public safety by allowing a place that serves a drug that impairs one's decision making ability and reflexes a place that also allows weaponry that can kill with the simple pull of a trigger?
From watching the Governor's speech before he signed the bill into law, into became clear to me that he was signing the bill, at least in part, based on the idea that the citizenry of the nation should have the ultimate right to protect themselves with guns from any threat, foreign or domestic. To be more clear, I got the feeling that he does not like the federal government or trust them much, and is driven by the ideology that a citizenry should be sufficiently armed and able to overthrow the government if and when they see fit. This is in keeping with the language of the 2nd amendment, which of course he did quote and mention during his speech. And, I do follow that logic enough to agree with him, at least to extent.
U.S. citizens should be able and capable of taking back the government, even if it came down to toppling it by force, if that government no longer truly represented the citizenry that it swore allegiance to. Our republic is supposed to be run by a group of fellow citizens that are of the people, for the people and by the people. Once that partnership of sorts is broken or corrupted, I agree that some kind of change should take place. I sincerely hope that brute force never happen, but being a follower of history, sometimes brute force is a necessary evil.
All that said, Governor Deal and the bill's supporters are taking an idea and running with it in the wrong direction. No feds are going to arbitrarily harm you in a church. The government is not out to get you in the bar scene.
No doubt the driving force to pass the bill is fear. And not just the fear that comes from an overreaching government body, like a just suggested. But also the fear of another person with intent to harm. Therefore, I fail to see the logic of allowing firearms into crowded spaces with intoxicants. I fail to see the logic in allowing guns in fire houses, or churches. These are public places that should be gun free. Keep the ability for someone to hurt someone down by restricting guns in certain public spaces. It makes sense. It's not an infringement upon personal liberties to not allow for someone to wield a deadly weapon in a crowded bar. It makes sense not to allow a drunk person arm's length access to something that could easily lay another RIP, especially when tempers are generally higher that environment, tempers flare, and judgement rarely is wholly logical.
I fear that Republican ideology has gone too far with this one. Georgia has overstepped by misunderstanding what it means to create a safe public environment for its citizens.