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Georgia: Update on Pro-Gun Activity in Atlanta

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Yesterday, House Bill 875 passed in the Georgia House of Representatives by a 119-56 vote.  It will now go to the state Senate for committee referral and further consideration.

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.
  • 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.

We anticipate some technical changes to HB 875 in the state Senate.  As information becomes available, know that your NRA-ILA will keep you informed.  Your NRA applauds state Representatives Rick Jasperse (R-11), John Meadows (R-5), Alan Powell (R-32), Mandi Ballinger (R-23), Dustin Hightower (R-68) and Jay Roberts (R-155) for their hard work championing this bill, in addition to all of those members of the Georgia House of Representatives who voted for HB 875, getting this bill one step closer to passage and enactment this year.

Additionally, Senate Bill 93, sponsored by state Senator Bill Heath (R-31), passed yesterday in the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee and will now go to the Senate floor.  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 associated with the use of suppressors, including increased accuracy due to reduced recoil and muzzle blast, protection from hearing damage and reduced noise pollution.  Noise complaints are being used more frequently as an excuse to close shooting ranges, informal shooting areas and hunting lands throughout the country.  Increased use of suppressors will help to eliminate many of these complaints and protect hunting and shooting areas well into the future.

Please contact your state Senator today and urge him or her to support both HB 875 and SB 93.  Contact information for your state Senator can be found here.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.