NEW YORK -- It is unlikely you will have heard of Nathan Deal, a stock Republican Governor who has held high office in the state of Georgia since 2011. However, on Wednesday, the politician will sign into law the state’s hugely controversial Safe Carry Protection act, officially known as HB 60, which greatly expands where Georgians - and licensed gun owners from across the US - can carry firearms within state lines.
As of July, gun carriers will be legally allowed to wear their shooters in bars, nightclubs and some government buildings, as well as unsecured areas within airports. The Bill initially extended carry rights to churches, but after late changes houses of worship will have to opt-in if they want to allow congregants to imbibe the Christian message while packing heat on their hip.
Proponents of the Bill wanted to allow guns on college campuses but the provision was stripped to ease the act's passage through the legislature. However teachers with concealed carry licenses will have greater privileges to carry a firearm under the new legislation.
Unsurprisingly, the National Rifle Association has welcomed the Bill as an “historic victory for the second amendment”, while detractors, who have taken to calling it the ‘guns everywhere’ Bill, cite the law as the most regressive piece of gun rights legislation across the 50 states.
Upon its passing, Americans for Responsible Solutions, a group created by Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who herself was the victim of a shooting in 2011, said the legislation takes Georgia “out of the mainstream”.
However Wednesday will be a celebration for those behind the law, such as Jerry Henry, executive director of GeorgiaCarry.org. While lobbying for the Bill, he explained his reasoning to USA Today: “If you disarm me to where I can't protect myself or defend myself, all you're doing is empowering the bad guys," he says. "If you take my gun away, he's still going ahead with that same activity."
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