In Georgia You Can Now Carry a Gun in Bars, Schools, and Churches

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 23 2014 9:00 PM

Georgia Gov. Signs “Guns Everywhere” Bill Allowing Guns in Bars, Schools, and Churches

168041228-view-of-a-45-semi-auto-handgun-at-the-national-rifle
A view of a .45 semi-auto handgun at the National Rifle Association (NRA) Annual Convention on May 4, 2013 in Houston, Texas.

Photo by KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

The problem in Georgia isn’t that you can’t own a gun. The problem, you see, is that once you do own a gun you can’t take it absolutely everywhere you want to. But what to do about those pesky restrictions on where you can, and cannot, pack heat? Problem solved. On Wednesday, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed a bill that doesn’t cramp gun owners’ gun-toting style so much by vastly expanding where firearms can be legally carried in the state.

House Bill 60, dubbed by critics as the “guns everywhere” bill, now allows Georgians to legally carry firearms perhaps not everywhere, but pretty close. Imagine for a second where would be the worst possible places to add guns to the mix? If you answered: bars, schools, churches, and government buildings, you could be a politician in Georgia.

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Here’s more on the bill from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

The bill, which takes effect July 1, also legalizes the use of silencers for hunting, clears the way for school staffers to carry guns in school zones and lets leaders of religious congregations choose whether to allow licensed gun holders inside. And it allows permitted gun owners to carry their weapons in government buildings – including parts of courthouses – where there is no security at the entrance.

“People who follow the rules can protect themselves and their families from people who don’t follow the rules,” Deal told the AJC. “The Second Amendment should never be an afterthought. It should reside at the forefronts of our minds.” And now, at church, in the classroom and sitting at a bar, it certainly will.

In an interview with the AJC this week Deal took care to remind voters that this bill was forged with the spirit of compromise and restraint and voters “shouldn’t forget what got left out of the bill.” “Among the controversial proposals that didn’t survive were the ‘campus carry” provision, which would have legalized the carrying of guns on [college] campus, and changes that would have required houses of worship to allow guns unless leaders ban them. (Instead, religious leaders can ‘opt-in to allow guns into their congregations),” the AJC writes. Lest you thought this was a partisan problem, not a Georgia problem, according to the AJC, state Sen. Jason Carter, the democratic nominee in the governor’s race, also voted for the bill.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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