CURRENT LEGISLATION AT THE GEORGIA CAPITOL
Current legislation includes bills introduced in 2015 or 2016 for the two year session ending this March. Any bills which have not passed both chambers at the end of this year’s session will not be carried over to next year.
LEGISLATION WE OPPOSE
HB 859 Firearms; weapons carry license holders; carrying and possession of certain weapons in certain buildings or real property owned or leased to public institutions of postsecondary education; authorize
Voted by full House on 2/22. On to the Senate after Monday’s Crossover Day.
This bill was introduced on January 27 and was sponsored by Rick Jasperse and co-sponsored by Mandi Ballinger, John Meadows (chair of House Rules Committee), Alan Powell, Dustin Hightower and others all of whom are in lock step with Georgia Carry and the NRA.
The bill would legalize weapons carry at public colleges and universities for anyone 21 years old or older with the only exceptions being student housing and athletic events.
It does not take into account widespread faculty and student opposition, campus law enforcement opposition, increased risk of suicide and unintended shootings, high costs associated with increased security and a myriad of other issues.
For an in depth analysis of why guns should remain prohibited on college and university campuses by our coalition partner, the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, click here.
And unlike the 26 page Guns Everywhere bill, this bill amounts to a one paragraph amendment of the provision relating to guns in school zones. The text is available at the link above.
HB 1060 Crimes and offenses; carrying and possession of firearms; confirm that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed
Introduced Friday, 2/19 and sneaked onto the House Public Safety agenda on 2/23 with no notice for a public hearing. This is the same tactic used the week before to deny a public hearing on HB 859 listed above.
They call this a cleanup bill of HB60, the “Guns Everywhere bill. Among other things it allows a permitted carrier who brings a gun into a place of worship an out with absolutely no penalty, not even the misdemeanor wrist slap and max $100 fine the current law gives them. It also mandates carry on public property leased to private concerns which is exemplified in the court case in which Georgia Carry is suing the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. The list goes on, but you probably get the idea.
HB 544 Georgia Campus Carry Act of 2015 HB 859 is essentially a substitute for this one.)
No movement since 2015. Assigned to Public Safety and Homeland Security but no hearing scheduled.
This bill would in the very words on Georgia Carry’s website “allow carry anywhere on campus”. This would include dorms, classrooms, frat houses, athletic stadiums and even on campus offices of practitioners who treat patients for emotional disorders. The Georgia Board of Regents vehemently opposes this bill, and it is our hope that it will stall out this session.
HB 543 Georgia Constitutional Carry Act of 2015
No movement since 2015. Assigned to Public Safety and Homeland Security but no hearing scheduled.
This bill would make carry permits optional thereby permitting the criminal background check for carry in public optional. The ramifications would a convicted criminal who was able to acquire a weapon at a gun show or on the internet or from another unregulated source being able to carry. Although the bill was introduced by the same freshman rep last year as the Campus Carry bill, even Georgia Carry opposes this bill.
LEGISLATION WE SUPPORT
With the current makeup of the state legislature, some of these bills will probably never get a hearing. That being said GunSense Georgia believes in a proactive approach to gun safety in Georgia as polls have shown overwhelming support for much of this legislation by the citizens of Georgia. In examining below, you will see that much of the legislation proposed since 2014 seeks to repeal particular provisions of HB60 known even nationally as the GUNS EVERYWHERE bill.
HB 731 Crimes and offenses; certain assault weapons; prohibit possession and sale
This bill was introduced on 1/11/16 by Rep Mary Margaret Oliver and has been assigned to Public Safety and Homeland Security. No hearing scheduled yet. It would make certain classifications of assault weapons, high capacity magazines (holding more than 10 rounds), and armor piercing (cop killer) bullets illegal and would call for mandatory surrender or confiscation of assault weapons. In Mary Margaret’s own words, “You don’t need an AK47 to kill a deer or defend your family.” Georgia Carry and other pro-gun organizations see this as a first step in confiscating all guns. It is not and was federal law from 1994 until 2004 when President Bush and the Republican controlled Congress did not renew it. Rep Oliver stated in a recent press conference that this bill is written to pass the judicial muster of similar laws on the books in seven other states. A video clip from the press conference is linked on the front page.
HB 778 Weapons; training for certain persons licensed to carry a pistol or revolver; provide
Introduced by Pedro Marin on January 15 and assigned to Public Safety and Homeland Security, this bill is a revision of Keisha Waites HB 709 which she pre-filed in November. As a cosponsor, Rep Waites demonstrates support for this bill. In a 2014 poll conducted statewide by AJC, 80% of Georgians (including 82% of Republicans) supported mandatory training for carry permits. And recent comments by a few Republican legislators indicate the possibility of some support across the aisles. Again, this may be wishful thinking, but the power of constituents could be the key.
SB 48 Carrying and Possession of Firearms; prohibit restoration of gun rights to persons who have been convicted of forcible felony
Assigned in 2015 to Judiciary Non-Civil, this bill introduced by Senator Vincent Forte would deny restoration of gun rights to anyone convicted of a forcible felony and reverse a provision in HB60 that allows anyone whose permit has been revoked to reapply after a 3 year period.
Georgia Carry claims this would deny gun rights to anyone who has received a pardon. Language in the bill (1(c) lines 41-46) states that the individual pardon stipulates whether gun rights will be restored. Case by case makes sense. Therefore Georgia Carry’s assessment is inaccurate.
SB 49 Crimes and Offenses; repeal the statute relating to no duty to retreat prior to the use of force
Introduced last year by Vincent Fort and assigned to Judiciary this bill would reduce the No Duty to Retreat (SYG) provision in HB60 (Guns Everywhere). Senator Forte sponsored legislation in 2014 to repeal Georgia’s existing Stand Your Ground law but received no traction. Instead HB60 which became law that year strengthened SYG by allowing even convicted criminals who are prohibited by law from carrying firearms to claim SYG rather than retreat. It also expanded the places where SYG can be evoked including MARTA which prohibits carry of weapons.
SB 67 Firearms; prohibit all carrying of weapons in government buildings
Introduced in 201 by Emanuel Jones and assigned to Public Safety, this bill would reverse the provision in HB60 that only prohibits guns in government buildings that can afford security personnel and screening equipment.
As the majority of municipal governments in Georgia have extremely tight revenue streams, budgeting for this big ticket item is cost prohibitive which is why the Georgia Municipal Association strongly lobbied against this provision in 2014.
SB 68 Firearms; provide for training requirement for the issuance of a weapons carry license
Introduced by Emanuel Jones and assigned in 2015 to Public Safety, this bill which would require more specific and stringent training in order to obtain a carry license including training on safe storage, actual shooting and understanding of gun laws than HB778. We believe this bill is a stronger piece of legislation than its companion.
SB 73 Firearms; allow person to be detained by law enforcement; purpose of investigating whether such a person has a weapons carry license
Introduced by Steve Henson, Senate Minority Leader and assigned in 2015 to Public Safety, this bill would reverse provision in HB60 that prohibits law enforcement from detaining a gun carrier to check for a permit unless a crime is being or has been committed. This provision was strongly lobbied against in 2014 by the chair of the Georgia Sheriff’s Association and other law enforcement representatives.
Last June, Jim Cooley demonstrated the current law by strolling through Hartsfield Airport with a loaded AR-15, and security personnel’s hands were tied. Imagine if a throng of them decided to test the law together.
SB 303 Brady Law Regulations; require a gun lock be furnished to buyer in all retail firearm sales made by firearm dealers
Introduced by Senator Elena Parent and assigned to Senate Public Safety. This bill would require that a gun lock be furnished to the buyer in all retail firearm sales made by firearm dealers and would provide for a misdemeanor penalty to dealers who do not.
SB 304 Criminal Records; allow for the preservation of a person’s involuntary hospitalization information received by Georgia Crime Information
Introduced by Senator Elena Parent and assigned to Senate Public Safety. Current Georgia law requires the purging of all records of involuntary psychiatric hospitalization after 5 years meaning that after that time a person could pass a background check, purchase a gun and even obtain a concealed carry permit. This bill would require maintaining these records so that the individual does not drop off the National Instant Criminal Background Check system. With the argument from our adversaries that the issue is all about mental health, we would think they would be supportive of this bill, and Senator Parent has reached out to Georgia Carry for support.