Shortly before midnight last night, within the last hour before adjournment of the 2014 legislative session, House Bill 60 was agreed to in the state House of Representatives by a 112-58 vote and sent to Governor Nathan Deal (R) for his expected signature into law.
As previously reported, HB 60, as amended, had multiple transformations throughout this year’s session, and at one point was in real trouble of being watered down beyond repair. Thankfully, your activism through repeated phone calls, e-mails and visits to the Capitol carried the day. Your gun rights were not only preserved this year, but were restored and advanced further than they ever have in the history of the Peach State. This truly is an historic day for Georgia gun owners, shooters and sportsmen.
Upon the Governor’s signature, HB 60 will enact the following pro-gun reforms for all law-abiding gun owners in Georgia:
- Remove fingerprinting for renewal of Weapons Carry Licenses (WCL).
- Prohibit the state from creating and maintaining a database of WCL holders.
- Create an absolute defense for the legal use of deadly force in the face of a violent attack.
- Lower the age to obtain a concealed WCL for self-defense from 21 to 18 for active duty military, with specific training.
- Allows for the use of firearm sound suppressors while hunting.
- Repeal the unnecessary and duplicative state-required license for a firearms dealer, instead requiring only a Federal Firearms License (FFL).
- Prohibit a ban on firearms in public housing, ensuring that the right to self-defense should not be infringed based on where one calls home.
- Codify the ability to legally carry, with a WCL, in sterile/non-secure areas of airports.
- Require reporting those persons who have been involuntarily hospitalized or have been adjudicated mentally deficient to the NICS system while also providing the ability for relief through an application process to the court system allowing for restoration of gun rights.
- State 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.
- Strengthen current firearms preemption statutes through further clarification of the regulatory authority of local governments, excluding firearm discharge ordinances.
- Remove the sweeping restrictions on legally carrying a firearm with a WCL in bars, leaving this decision to private property owners.
- Allowing for churches to opt-in for legal carry with only a civil penalty of a $100 if a person happens to carry into a prohibited church unknowingly.
This resounding victory must first and foremost be credited to our members, who tirelessly worked to ensure that passage of this bill was possible. We also thank the following state lawmakers who went above and beyond this year and were critical in seeing this bill through to the end. The NRA’s gratitude cannot be conveyed enough to the below state legislators for their unwavering support:
- House Speaker David Ralston (R-7)
- Representative Rick Jasperse (R-11), original bill sponsor
- Representative Alan Powell (R-32)
- Representative John Meadows (R-5)
- Representative Jay Roberts (R-155)
- Representative Mandi Ballinger (R-23)
- Representative Dusty Hightower (R-68)
- Representative Stephen Allison (R-8)
- President Pro Tem David Shafer (R-48)
- Senator Bill Heath (R-31), original bill sponsor
- Senator Tyler Harper (R-7)
- Senator Butch Miller (R-49)
- Senator Jeff Mullis (R-53)
- Senator Ross Tolleson (R-20)
- Senator Mike Dugan (R-30)
- Senator Jack Murphy (R-27)
- Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle
These elected men and women were critical to the passage of this important and significant pro-gun legislative package, not only with their votes but also with their outspoken support and actions throughout the entire 2014 session. Your NRA would also like to thank the pro-gun group, Georgia Carry, for working alongside us to get this bill passed and sent to Governor Deal for his signature.
While we fully expect Governor Deal to sign HB 60 into law, please contact the Governor and politely ask that HB 60 receive his signature in the coming days. Governor Deal can be reached at (404) 656-1776 and by e-mail here.
Please stay tuned to your e-mail inbox and www.nraila.org for further updates.