Ellijay, GA, United States (4E) – Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law on Wednesday a bill expanding the places where licensed gun-carriers can go to include schools, government buildings, bars and churches.
House Bill 60 or the “Safe Carry Protection Act,” which takes effect July 1, 2014, also removes a restriction that prevented those convicted of certain misdemeanors from getting a gun permit, disallows police from detaining a person to check if he/she has a carry permit, and legalizes the use of silencers for hunting.
The new law protects the rights of some half million Georgians who have gone through a background check to obtain a carry license, according to the governor.
“Our nation’s founders put the right to bear arms on par with freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Georgians cherish their Second Amendment rights, and this law embodies those values,” said Deal, according to 11alive.com.
He reassured that the law could not endanger police officers and lead to more violence because licensed carriers have been scrutinized by the state.
Under the new law, school districts and religious leaders can decide whether or not to allow some employees or worshippers to carry a firearm inside campus and places of worship under certain conditions. It allows visitors from 28 other states to bring a gun into a bar without restriction and into some government buildings that don’t have certain security measures.
House Speaker David Ralston, who championed the measure in the state House; State Rep. Rick Jasperse, a GOP sponsor of the bill; and a few hundred gun rights advocates witnessed the signing of the bill in Ellijay, seat of Gilmore County.