Georgia Governor Brian Kemp plans to sign a bill to end the requirement to obtain a license to carry a handgun in public
Republican lawmakers in both houses approved the Constitutional Portage Law, with the Senate giving him final passage on Friday by a vote of 34-22. After the vote, Kemp tweeted that he was looking forward to signing the legislation he pledged his support for during his 2018 gubernatorial campaign.
Proponents of the measure say Senate Bill 319 strengthens the constitutional right to own and bear arms and to protect family and property.
Critics say it removes another layer of background checks that catch thousands of people every year who shouldn’t own guns.
The National Rifle Association has applauded lawmakers for passing what it hails as landmark legislation as Georgia becomes the 25th state to allow license-free transportation. Georgians would no longer be required to go through the local probate court to obtain a transport license.
“Today, every state and the District of Columbia permits the carrying of a firearm for self-defense outside the home in one form or another, and half the nation recognizes that the Second Amendment protects the right of law-abiding citizens to self-defense as an inherent and inalienable right,” said NRA CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre in a statement.
“NRA members have led this extraordinary brick-by-brick effort to build and expand America’s self-defense laws and we’re not done!” he added.
Atlanta Democratic Sen. Elena Parent has slammed fellow Republicans for backing a bill they say would prevent people from becoming victims of crime, but instead would simply make guns easier to access. fire at the wrong people.
Parent cited Atlanta Police Department statistics showing more than 2,000 guns were stolen from cars in 2021 and Georgia’s lax gun laws led to people carrying guns to states with stricter gun controls.
“The proliferation of weapons without safeguards is what makes our streets dangerous and causes so much bloodshed,” she said. “Through the laws of our state, we have eliminated the ability for law enforcement to try to control the gun problem and therefore the crime problem.”
Federal law requires licensed gun dealers to conduct background checks on potential buyers to determine if they can legally purchase a firearm. However, unlicensed dealers, such as those who sell firearms online or privately, are not required to perform the same background checks.
Republican Senator Randy Robertson of Cataula said it’s time to stop blaming inanimate objects for societal ills, such as violent crime.
“I will tell you once again why violent crime is on the rise. It is because mothers, fathers, churches, educational institutions and others have abandoned their responsibility to raise responsible adults,” Robertson said.
Among other gun bills that could pass before the end of the legislative session on Monday is one that removes the ban on guns in places of worship, allowing churches and other institutions nuns to set their own policies. Meanwhile, Senate Bill 259 Prohibit courts and law enforcement agencies from sharing firearms license databases with outside organizations.