This probably won't come as news to Salon's readers in the state of Georgia, but it turns out it's way, way, way too hard in the Peach State for one to procure and go everywhere with a gun. So the state Legislature, keeping its eyes firmly fixed on the real issues that matter, is on the verge of remedying this grave injustice by eliminating seemingly every single law regulating firearms in Georgia (which, considering this is Georgia, might not be quite as much work as it seems).
According to a report in Mother Jones, state lawmakers may soon pass the "Safe Carry Protection Act" (HB 875), a law that would not only expand Georgia's "stand your ground" law but would also:
- Remove the fingerprinting requirement for gun license renewals
- Prohibit the state from keeping a gun license database
- Tighten the state's preemption statute, which restricts local governments from passing gun laws that conflict with state laws
- Repeal the state licensing requirement for firearms dealers (requiring only a federal firearms license)
- Expand gun owner rights in a declared state of emergency by prohibiting government authorities from seizing, registering, or otherwise limiting the carrying of guns in any way permitted by law before the emergency was declared
- Limit the governor's emergency powers by repealing the ability to regulate the sale of firearms during a declared state of emergency
- Lower the age to obtain a concealed carry license from 21 to 18 for active-duty military and honorably discharged veterans who've completed basic training
- Prohibit detaining someone for the sole purpose of checking whether they have a gun license
As if all of that weren't enough, MoJo reports that the bill would also so broaden the state's SYG regulations that even a person using a gun he does not legally hold would be allowed to claim a SYG defense.
In response to the bill's pending passage, Lucia McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis, the 17-year-old boy whose killer got off using a SYG defense, wrote a critical Op-Ed in the Savannah Morning News. "I believe Florida's Stand Your Ground law, and the aggressive culture it fosters, is the reason my son is not here today," wrote McBath. "Our legislature is looking to expand this dangerous law even further. Legislation here in Georgia, HB 875, would extend our state's Stand Your Ground law to protect felons who kill using illegal guns."
"The last thing our families need is for criminals to be shielded by this law," she added.
The legislation passed the House overwhelmingly in February and moved to the state Senate, where it went into committee. But in a strategic move on Tuesday, House Republicans revised the bill and then tacked it onto a separate piece of legislation, HB 60, which would allow some judges to carry guns. The move accomplished two things: First, it allowed the bill to bypass committee and go to the Senate floor for an immediate vote because HB 60 had already been approved by both the House and Senate. Second, the revision did away with a provision that would have decriminalized carrying guns on college campuses—the bill's supporters knew that the Senate had struck down a similar legislative effort at the end of last year's session due to a campus carry statute.