Carrying handguns without permits in Georgia is getting closer to reality

ATLANTA, GA — A bill that would allow Georgia residents to carry handguns without a license is nearing passage.

On Wednesday, the House of Georgia passed Senate Bill 319 that would allow permit-free transportation in the state.

Georgia House lawmakers voted 100-67 to pass the constitutional bill, which now goes back to the Senate for immediate consideration.

If it passes, which is expected, it goes to Governor Brian Kemp’s desk for signature.

Republican lawmakers, like Senator Chuck Payne of Dalton, who support the constitutional carry, argue that Georgians should have the right to easily protect themselves from crime without the red tape and expense associated with obtaining a gun license.

Gun advocates also say permits violate Second Amendment gun rights.

Payne recalled a camping trip in rural Georgia saying he had to defend his family. He was glad to be armed but wonders how the situation could have turned out if he hadn’t had a permit.

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“It was just me and these four men, and in a place where cellphones had no signal. They merely made it known that I was able to protect my wife and children and decided to leave and did not return throughout the night,” Payne wrote on his official Facebook page.

“Every parent should have such a right to protect and protect their family from those who would do harm. The question I’ve always asked myself is what would have happened to the family who couldn’t afford the high cost of buying a legal carry license? Would my family have been just a statistic and just a tragedy on the evening news?”

Currently, Georgians can apply for a Weapons Carrying License (WCL) through their local probate court. Residents 21 and older must complete an application, pay a $75 license fee, be fingerprinted, and undergo a background check.

But critics said the constitutional carry bill would eliminate much of the process and make it easier for criminals to get guns.

“This law will not make us safer. In fact, after easing sane gun restrictions in 2014, we’ve seen a spike in gun deaths. It is terribly sad that we are back and doing this again,” Georgia Sen. Elena Parent (D) posted on Twitter.

“Over 5,200 people were denied a firearms license in 2020, largely due to a history of criminal conduct. Why does the GOP claim that removing this important gun safety measure will make GA safer? It won’t,” she also tweeted.

State Senator Jason R. Anavitarte (R) argues that the law maintains safeguards to ensure that only law-abiding citizens can purchase and obtain a firearm “while eliminating bureaucratic red tape that violates Georgia’s constitutional rights.” “.

Kemp, who supports the constitutional carry, is expected to sign the law.

“It’s great to see so much support for the 2nd Amendment as the General Assembly considers bills to protect this fundamental right,” Kemp tweeted earlier this month. “I am committed to working with both the Georgia House and the Senate to get constitutional carry across the finish line!”