Since no news outlet I've seen has actually detailed what the provisions are, I just went through the entire bill, translated the changes into simpler language, and added my own commentary.
If you'd like to check my work, here's the Bill Itself.
And for cross-referencing, you'll find the GA title code here and here.
My comments will be in Italics.
- An exception in housing law. It prohibits landlords from banning or restricting lawful gun ownership from their tenants, unless federal law says otherwise.
No, you don't get to discriminate against the law-abiding because you don't like guns.
- Makes using suppressors while hunting illegal, unless on private property with the owner's permission.
I'm not a hunter, but at first glance, this looks like an enforcement on hunting season restrictions (by keeping people from hunting out of season in a way that won't be easily noticed).
- revises a code on justified use of force.
More or less just clarifies which article of GA code to get your definitions from.
- Private property owners can decree who carries and who can't. If they don't want you to do so, they're within their rights to not let you enter or kick you out.
Essentially, this clarifies that being armed on private property where the owner doesn't want you armed is trespassing, and treated as such.
- Allows carrying in Bars, unless the owner specifically prohibits doing so.
- Allows carrying in churches if the church authorities allow it.
Bars=can opt out. Churches=have to opt in.
Carrying is still prohibited in jails, courthouses, mental health facilities, and nuclear power facilities.
Carry is allowed in government buildings that are open for business and do not have security screening. Although if there is screening, a CCW holder just has to leave the area upon being discovered to be armed. (for non-CCW holders, it's a misdemeanor)
Yes, kids, drinking and carrying is still illegal. That said, why disarm your Designated Driver?
Section 1-6 (Guns on campus section)
- Allows "A duly authorized official of a school... local boards of education" to allow someone to possess a weapon on school property they would otherwise not be permitted to. "Such authorization shall specify the weapon or weapons which have been authorized and the time period during which the authorization is valid."
I'm not sure what exactly was the impetus behind this one, but as a fight choreographer who occasionally works on campus, having a framework in state law to provision the need for me to legally have weapons and weapon-style props on campus will make my job a lot easier in the future.
- Allows a CCW holder to have a weapon in their vehicle parked on campus.
(Elementary, middle, and High school students with hunting liscences are specifically an exception. No going straight from class to hunting)
I hated having to park off-campus when I carried as a college student and left my pistol locked in the glovebox. Picking up a kid from school shouldn't mean that you have to be disarmed the entire day when you're out of the house.
I think this was the section that was watered down the most from the original proposal. Senator Carter (Jimmy's grandson) was bragging in one article that he'd kept it from being "worse," by which I assume he meant that he got campus carry out of it. Ass.
- Focuses on eligibility requirements for CCW
- requires a guilty verdict for conviction (previous version included nolo contendere and such)
- Allows an 18 y/o servicemember who has finished basic to apply for a CCW (for all others, the age is 21)
- Institutes a time limit on applying after a license has been revoked (3 years, in this case)
- Prohibits applications by those found incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity.
- Allows petitions of relief of various prohibitions. (looks like a "jump through enough hoops to damn well prove you've paid your debt to society" kind of thing)
- Allows private GBI approved fingerprinters to fingerprint applicants for the background check. Does not require fingerprinting for renewals.
- No multijurisdictional database of CCW holders may be created or maintained.
- A judge has to confirm whether or not a CCW was issued, but cannot give out further information on the license holders.
A lot of this is administrative cleanup, but allowing for 18 y/o servicemembers to carry is a very positive step in my eyes. If they can carry to defend us, they can carry amongst us.
- Expands eligibility of CCW for various types of judges and retired judges.
Section 1-9 (The "arming teachers" section and the airport part)
- Gives local school boards and administrators the option to form a policy that allows certain school employees to possess and/or carry weapons.
The policy must include:
- mandated training (which can include prior military or LE service training)
- lists of Approved weapon types, ammunition types, and authorized quantities
- exclusion of personnel with a history of mental or emotional instability.
- mandated method of securing the weapons used.
- such personnel are required to be licensed, and the local board of education is responsible for background checking them
- Being an armed school employee is strictly voluntary.
- The local board of education is responsible for the costs. That said, the approved-to-be-armed school employees can pay themselves if they so choose, or apply for sponsorships, grants and suchlike to do so instead.
- Records of which school employees are armed are considered exempt-from-disclosure.
Another part that caused a flood of bitching from the left. Oh me, oh my, without the blue island of Atlanta in the midst of this backwater red state, who knows what these crazy local school boards will do with such terrible POWER?
I dunno, maybe be the adults entrusted with our children that we've empowered them to be?
- Can carry outside restricted areas.
- If they do carry inside a restricted area and are discovered, they have to leave immediately, otherwise it's a misdemeanor charge.
- Doing this sort of thing while intending to commit another felony, makes it a felony in and of itself.
- renders null and void any county, city, or local law that contradicts this one.
I don't think this is an expansion of weapons carry more than a way to get Hartsfield running smoother. As it stood before this law, if Jimbo from the gun show packed the wrong carry-on that still had a pistol inside from a range trip, there was a hue and cry, fines, jail time, TSA applauding themselves on actually finding something, DHS filling out forms, and more important: delays out the ass.
With this law, he just has to grab his stuff and walk away. Yeah, he'll lose his flight for his lapse in judgement, but everyone else will get to go about their business as usual. I don't see much to not like here.
- If you're a CCW holder, have it on you at all times when carrying a weapon.
- A weapon carrier will not be detained for the sole purpose of finding out whether or not they're licensed.
- Not having your license on your is a $10 fine.
Some police officials have spoken out against this one. I can see their point, but at the same time, I'm all for seeing weapons carry not being a crime, while misuse of weapons still being crimes. And if it's denial of a profile tool, so much the better. I have no idea if something along the lines of "Carrying while Black," is a thing, but if it is, good on this provision for acting against it.
- Self defense is an absolute defense to any Chapter 11 offense.
Self defense even with a weapon you're not supposed to have is still self defense.
Even felons have the right to defend themselves.
- The GA General assembly is the only one who regulates firearm commerce in GA.
- Allows Sheriffs and D.A.'s to regulate issue firearms to deputies in their jurisdictions.
Not sure about this one. Eliminating the firearms equivalent of "dry counties," maybe?
- Self defense is an absolute defense to a violation of a public transport safety law.
This one, like section 1-10 above, has been lambasted as an extension of GA's Stand Your Ground laws. Without going into a whole 'nother post about how SYG is mislabeled, I will say that these provisions look more like a prevention on selective sentencing.
No, a felon isn't legally supposed to possess a handgun. But if one is attacked and defends themselves with one, there's something a tad fucked up about dropping charges of murder/manslaughter on self-defense grounds, then turning around and charging the same person with possession of the weapon that saved their lives.
I can also see this provision aiding in some of our lousier sentencing habits (AKA putting women who kill their abusive S.O.'s in self-defense behind bars, which happens way too damn often).
- Amending and adding what mental health records will be submitted to the National Instant Criminal Background check system.
Admin cleanup. Moving on.
Repeals chapter 16 of title 43 of the Georgia code, relating to firearm dealers.
If I'm reading this right, and I think I am, GA's book of law on firearms dealers has been struck down in its entirety. Either that Chapter is being rewritten for whole cloth, or ordinary GA business and Federal Firearms Dealer laws are currently what regulate GA dealers.
I THINK it's the former, but I can't find evidence of that.
- Prohibits confiscation, registration, or prohibition of possession or carry of privately owned weapons during a state of emergency.
Apparently this sort of confiscation happened all over the place during Hurricane Katrina. Don't see a downside to this one being in place.
- Denies the Governor the emergency power to prohibit firearm or ammunition sales.
See my commentary on section 2-2
The rest of the sections are just minor corrections, updating where reference points are now in the current edition versus where they are now.
So, Guns Everywhere?
Yeah, it's opened up somewhat. For the most part, it's still respecting private property owners while loosening some of the dumber location-based carry restrictions. The biggest potential change is the wiping the slate clean of dealer laws, which was pretty much ignored by the press.
As for the school parts, it offers reasonable guidelines for a local school board to decide on their own if they want to take those steps. It's not a mandate by any means, but it keeps the option on the table, which beats the no-way-no-how alternative that hasn't worked.
The self-defense expansions may seem wide-reaching, but they highlight something that has plagued self-defense for generations: costly and often vicious court battles that often do more damage than the initial conflict the defender survived in the first place. They honestly look like perhaps overly broad but honest attempts to alleviate some of that.
So, what do you think?