News & Politics

Insane New Gun Law in Georgia Will Allow Guns in Bars, Schools, Churches—Just About Anywhere

The NRA calls it "a historic victory for the Second Amendment.”

Photo Credit: Shutterstock/csabacz

Straight out of Georgia comes one of the most far-reaching gun laws to ever surface in a legislative body. The bill passed both the state House and Senate last week, and Governor Nathan Deal is expected to sign it into law soon.
The law allows those with a weapons permit to carry a firearm virtually everywhere: airports, schools (for staff members) and even bars, so long as gun-carriers abide by the curious condition that they not drink while patronizing a drinking establishment. 
While the NRA, which pushed for the bill, called the law a "major victory for the Second Amendment," others thought the pro-gun lobby might have over-reached. Laura Cutilletta, senior staff attorney at the San Francisco-based Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence told the New York Times that the bill is “so extreme and people do have such a strong reaction to it. I don’t think over all it’s a victory for them.”
Originally the law also allowed for the carrying of guns on college campuses, but that part of the bill was removed; the bill also sanctioned the presence of weapons in churches, but that was amended to apply only to churches that allowed their congregation to tote guns during worship. An Atlanta-Journal Constitution poll which found that more than 70% of voters opposed those two measures. 
The law was fiercely opposed by a broad coalition in the state, not just gun-control advocates, but also police unions, church congregations, and the federal Transportation Security Administration. A number of polls indicated the majority of Georgians also opposed the bill. 
The New York Times reports that the bill may be the climax of the wave of pro-gun legislation that has washed over 21 states in response to the push for stricter gun control following a spate of mass shootings cluminating in the tragedy at Sandy Hook.
From the New York Times: 
In the past year alone, 21 states have passed laws expanding the rights of gun owners, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Three allow guns in churches, two allow them on college campuses, four in bars and eight in schools.
There was a flurry of gun-control legislation after 26 children and educators were shot to death in Newtown, Conn., by a well-armed, mentally disturbed 20-year-old. But in the 12 months immediately afterward, states passed 39 laws to tighten gun restrictions and 70 to loosen them.
The NYTimes also reported that on the day the bill was passed, shots were fired during a fight at a listless bar in an Atlanta suburb, wounding one innocent bystander.
Read more here.
Aaron Cantú is an investigator for the Marijuana Arrest Research Project and an independent journalist based in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter @aaronmiguel_