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Georgia House passes bill expanding gun carry rights

The Georgia House of Representatives [official website] passed legislation [HB 512, PDF] Thursday night that would expand carry rights to allow firearms in places such as bars and schools. The bill was passed just before the end of the legislative session in a 112-58 vote [MSNBC report]. It would allow permit-holders to bring firearms into previously gun-free establishments and also give teachers and other authorized officials the right to carry weapons in school zones. The bill also removes penalties for carrying a firearm in unauthorized locations. Brian Malte, senior national policy director for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence [advocacy website], expressed concern over the legislation, stating, “There are some states that take guns anywhere, anytime, and virtually for everyone, and they do it in piecemeal. Georgia has decided to do it all in one bill.” Supporters of the bill argue, however, that it allows for a greater sense of self-protection. The bill has already been passed by the Georgia Senate and is expected to go before Governor Nathan Deal [official website] for approval soon.

Following the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, a number of states enacted restrictive gun control laws, many of which have been litigated in federal court. California Attorney General Kamala Harris [official website] filed a petition [JURIST report] with the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in February, asking the court to reverse a decision striking down a law requiring residents to show good cause to carry a concealed firearm. Earlier that month, the US Supreme Court [official website] declined to hear [JURIST report] three Second Amendment [Cornell LII backgrounder] cases that had requested review. In January a federal judge upheld a Connecticut gun control law [JURIST reports] that, among other things, prohibits high-capacity ammunition magazines. Earlier that month, a federal judge struck down [JURIST report] Illinois' ban on the sale of licensed firearms within city limits as unconstitutional.

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