Amidst a great deal of controversy, the Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014, a new law that protects people with conceal carry permits went into effect in Georgia this week. Proponents of the law are hailing it as a huge victory for the Second Amendment rights of Georgia gun owners.
So what does the new law do? It allows Georgia residents with conceal carry permits to carry their firearms into bars, nightclubs, unsecured government buildings and public airline terminals. It also allows school districts to authorize teachers and administrators to be armed on campuses once they complete the proper firearm training classes.
Restrictions still apply to religious buildings such as churches. However, individual establishments may decide to allow firearms inside their buildings.
Another restriction imposed by the new law is that law enforcement officials are not allowed to demand to see a person’s conceal carry permit This provision was purposefully written into the law because police have routinely stopped people and asked to see their conceal carry permits without knowing if they had one or if they were carrying a firearm. It was equated to the same thing as if a police officer stopped a pedestrian on the sidewalk and asked to see their driver’s license.
Jerry Henry, Executive Director of Georgia Carry, a non-profit group that helped to get the new law passed commented, saying:
“If citizens will allow [local governments] to spend that much money to secure a building to keep honest people out, that they’ve never tried to secure to keep criminals out before, I’m sure there are some that will do that. Those people were not worried about those buildings been unsecured last year, because the only people that could go in there, apparently, were criminals. Now that the law-abiding citizen can go in there, they’ve got to secure it to keep those people out.”
Some opponents of the new law are referring to it as the guns everywhere law. They are also criticizing Gov. Nathan Deal for signing the law. In 2011, Deal signed a sweeping immigration bill into law which included a provision that gave law enforcement the authority to demand immigration documents from suspected illegals. Yet in the new safe carry law, he restricts law enforcement from demanding to see people’s conceal carry permits.
Georgia has been a gun friendly state for many years. Some communities have passed ordinances that require all homeowners to own a firearm for their protection. One of those communities is Kennesaw, Georgia and it’s no coincidence that Kennesaw has one of the lowest crime rates in the state and nation.