[JURIST] Georgia Governor Nathan Deal [official website] on Wednesday signed into law [press release] a bill [HB 60] that allows licensed gun owners to carry firearms into many public places, including bars, schools, and certain government buildings. The “Safe Carry Protection Act,” dubbed the “guns everywhere bill” by critics, allows school districts and religious leaders to decide whether they want to allow guns on their property. Upon signing the legislation, Deal said:
This legislation will protect the constitutional rights of Georgians who have gone through a background check to legally obtain a Georgia Weapons Carry License. Roughly 500,000 Georgia citizens have a permit of this kind, which is approximately 5 percent of our population. License holders have passed background checks and are in good standing with the law. This law gives added protections to those who have played by the rules—and who can protect themselves and others from those who don’t play by the rules. Our nation’s founders put the right to bear arms on par with freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Georgians cherish their Second Amendment rights, and this law embodies those values.
The legislation takes effect July 1.
The Georgia bill was approved by the legislature [JURIST report] last month. Earlier this month the Kansas state legislature approved a bill that would establish statewide firearm possession regulations [JURIST report] and nullify city and county variances on gun permitting restrictions. Last month Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed into law [JURIST report] a bill allowing adults to carry a concealed weapon locked in vehicles on school property.