In the Wake of Sandy Hook and Aurora, Georgia Passes 'the Most Extreme Gun Bill in America'
Georgia residents now can count on being within range of others carrying firearms, even while praying in church, waiting in an airport, or enjoying a libation at a local saloon. Governor Nathan Deal signed the Safe Carry Protection Act yesterday, which makes it legal to bring guns into airports, churches, schools, bars, and other public buildings. And while this law may be comforting to a majority of Georgians (according to polls), the signing is being heavily criticized by Georgia Police organizations and the victims of gun violence.
“Police officers do not want more people carrying guns on the street,” said Frank Rotondo of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police. “Particularly police officers in inner city areas.”
Congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords, a victim of gun violence, called the law “the most extreme gun bill in America."
Not only does the new law do away with criminal charges for people who bring guns into spaces where they were formerly prohibited, it permits certain schoolteachers and administrators to carry firearms on campus, a controversial legislative response to tragedies like Sandy Hook. Moreover, it extends Georgia’s 'Stand Your Ground' legal protections to convicted felons according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which analyzed the wording of the bill.
"We Georgians believe in the right of people to defend themselves, and we believe in the Second Amendment," said Deal upon signing the bill.
The National Rifle Association praised the legislation signing saying that the Safe Carry Protection Act is the "most comprehensive pro-gun bill in Georgia state history."
The bill passed without much debate and had bipartisan support; it even had the blessing of former President Jimmy Carter's grandson, State Senator Jason Carter, a Democrat.
States have gone in various directions with gun bills since the notorious mass shootings in Aurora, CO and Newton, CT. While some states like New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have made laws stricter, most states have actually loosened controls on guns. According to PBS's Frontline, this happened because pro-gun organizations like the National Rifle Association have outspent and outmaneuvered gun control advocates.
However, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and billionaire Warren Buffett have recently kicked off a new anti-gun campaign backed by at least $50 million of Bloomberg's money, for starters. The organization, called “Everytown for Gun Safety” is attempting focus its efforts outside Washington, seeking to influence politicians through local grassroots campaigns rather than primarily by lobbying Congress.