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Georgia Lawmakers Send Comprehensive Gun Bill to Governor

Friday, March 21, 2014

H.B. 60 Most Pro-Gun Bill in State History

Fairfax, Va. – Lawmakers in Georgia gave final passage last night to H.B. 60, the most comprehensive pro-gun reform bill in state history. The NRA-backed bill cleared both chambers with bi-partisan support. The bill passed the House by a vote of 112-58 and the Senate by a vote of 37-18. Lobbyists for gun control, who fought hard against this law, drew a line in the sand early on by boldly proclaiming, "If we can stop the gun lobby in a state like Georgia, we can stop the gun lobby anywhere." Thanks to the hard work of NRA members in Georgia, along with their elected representatives, the efforts of these radical gun ban supporters failed. The bill now heads to Governor Nathan Deal’s desk for his expected signature.

Among the pro-gun reforms included in H.B. 60 is a measure prohibiting the state from creating and maintaining a database of concealed carry license holders. The bill would also strengthen self-defense rights by creating an absolute defense for the use of deadly force in the face of a violent attack and by allowing law-abiding citizens who live in public housing to own a firearm. Further, the bill would expand protections against government confiscation of legally-possessed firearms during a state of emergency or natural disaster. Georgia would also join more than half of the country by allowing for the use of firearm sound suppressors while hunting.

"This is an historic victory for Second Amendment rights in Georgia," noted Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action. "House Bill 60 is the most comprehensive pro-gun bill ever passed in Georgia. It ensures that the law is on the side of law-abiding citizens and victims of crime. Among the reforms is a provision extending the right to self-defense to all law-abiding citizens, whether they live in a gated community, or public housing," added Cox.

H.B. 60 would make Georgia the second state to prohibit by statute gun bans in public housing, the 34th state to implement NIAA, the 35th state with emergency powers protection, and the 44th state to protect privacy of carry permit holders.

If passed and enacted into law, H.B. 60 would do the following:

  • Prohibit the state from creating and maintaining a database of WCL holders.
  • 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.
  • Create an absolute defense for the legal use of deadly force in the face of a violent attack.
  • Allow for the use of firearm sound suppressors while hunting.
  • Remove fingerprinting for renewal of Weapons Carry Licenses (WCL).
  • Lower the age to obtain a concealed WCL for self-defense from 21 to 18 for active duty military, with specific training.
  • 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.
  • Include 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 ability for relief through an application process to the court system for the purpose of restoration of rights.
  • Create an opt-in provision legally authorizing churches to make the decision to permit or prohibit carrying a firearm with a WCL within their confines, and lowering the penalty for violation to a civil infraction carrying no more than a $100.00 fine.   
  • Eliminate the extensive limitations on legally carrying a firearm with a WCL in a bar.

“On behalf of the NRA’s five million members, I want to thank the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Rick Jasperse and Senator Bill Heath for their leadership in shepherding it through the legislature with broad bi-partisan support. The NRA will continue our work to improve self-defense laws in this country and protect them from those who seek to limit our rights as law-abiding Americans,” concluded Cox.

-NRA-
Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America's oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. More than five million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NationalRifleAssociation and on Twitter @NRA.

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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.