Yesterday, House Bill 875 passed in the state House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee by a voice vote. It now goes to the House Rules Committee where it will be assigned to the House floor.
HB 875, introduced by state Representative Rick Jasperse (R-11), is the most comprehensive pro-gun reform legislation introduced in recent state history. This bill seeks to make many changes to benefit law-abiding gun owners, shooters and sportsmen alike. Some of the key improvements and changes include:
- Removal of fingerprinting for renewal of Weapons Carry Licenses (WCL).
- Prohibiting the state from creating and maintaining a database of WCL holders.
- Creation of an absolute defense for the legal use of deadly force in the face of a violent attack.
- Removal of the sweeping restrictions on legally carrying a firearm with a WCL in churches and bars, leaving this decision to private property owners.
- Lowering the age to obtain a concealed WCL for self-defense from 21 to 18 for active duty military, with specific training.
- Repealing the unnecessary and duplicative state-required license for a firearms dealer, instead requiring only a Federal Firearms License (FFL).
- Prohibiting a ban on firearms in public housing, ensuring that the right to self-defense should not be infringed based on where one calls home.
- Codifying the ability to legally carry, with a WCL, in sterile/non-secure areas of airports.
- Including a provision that would have the state report those persons who have been involuntarily hospitalized or have been adjudicated mentally deficient to the NICS system while also providing an ability for relief through an application process to the court system for the purpose of restoration of rights.
- Stating that under a declared state of emergency, all law-abiding gun owners will not have their Second Amendment rights restricted or infringed by executive authority through Emergency Powers protection.
- Strengthening current firearms preemption statutes through further clarification of the regulatory authority of local governments, excluding firearm discharge ordinances.
- Allowing school systems to decide whether staff and faculty may carry a firearm on school property, pending approved training, similar to the NRA’s National School Shield program.
- Allowing the lawful carry by WCL holders in government buildings where it is not currently restricted or security screening personnel are posted during regular business hours.
Your NRA applauds and greatly appreciates the efforts of Representative Jasperse and those members of the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee who voted for HB 875, taking the critical next step to get this bill passed and enacted into law this year.
Additionally, an important pro-hunting bill will be heard in a key Senate committee next week and your help is needed. Senate Bill 93, sponsored by state Senator Bill Heath (R-31), has been tentatively scheduled for hearing next Thursday, February 13, in the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee. SB 93 would allow hunters in Georgia to use lawfully-possessed suppressors on firearms while hunting.
Currently, more than half of the states across the country permit hunters to use suppressors while hunting. There are numerous benefits to hunting with suppressed firearms, including:
- Elimination of noise complaints frequently used as an excuse to close hunting lands throughout the country, resulting in the protection of hunting areas well into the future.
- Reduction of recoil and muzzle rise resulting in increased accuracy of hunters. More accurate shooting in the field means fewer wounded and lost animals, a good thing for both hunters and wildlife.
- Reduction in muzzle report to hearing-safe levels, limiting the risk that the hunter or anyone with the hunter will suffer permanent hearing loss if they fail to use hearing protection.
Recently, Arizona, Oklahoma, Indiana, North Carolina and Texas adopted new rules allowing for the use of suppressors while hunting. It’s time that hunters in Georgia are able to enjoy the same opportunities available to sportsmen in more than half of the country. For more information on firearms and suppressors, click here.
Your NRA is diligently monitoring this legislation and will keep you updated on the details of this hearing on SB 93 as soon as information is available. In the meantime, please contact members of the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee and politely ask that they vote YES on SB 93. Contact information for the committee members can be found here.