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Georgia House: gun can be carried in public without a permit

ATLANTA (AP) — Republicans pushed a bill through the Georgia House on Friday that would abolish the requirement for a background check and license to carry a hand gun in public — moving a step closer to the “constitutional carry” that Gov. Brian Kemp and other Republicans have promised to deliver in an election year.

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House Bill 1358 passed 94-57, moving to the Senate for more debate. The Senate last month passed a similar measure.

Republicans said the measure was needed to allow people to more easily protect themselves from crime, also citing civil unrest seen in a few 2020 protests over racial injustice in Atlanta. They also argued that it infringes on Second Amendment gun rights for people to have to apply for a permit and pay a fee, usually about $75, to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

“All of our other constitutional rights issued to us don’t require a fee to the government to exercise,” said Rep. Mandi Ballinger, the Canton Republican sponsoring the bill. “We can say what we want; we can assemble; We can worship as we please. All of these rights, none of them we have to pay for. This bill gets the government out of our way and allows us to do what we need to do in these precarious times.”

Democrats said the measure would fuel gun deaths by encouraging more guns, increase crime, and put police officers’ lives in danger.

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“It is going to mean more crime, more shootings,” said Rep. Matthew Wilson, a Brookhaven Democrat. “More guns equal more shootings. It’s not complicated. It’s very simple in fact.”

More than 20 other states allow concealed weapons in public without a permit, according to Stateline, an initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Georgia currently requires people to obtain a license to carry a loaded handgun outside their own homes, businesses or cars, although people can carry rifles and shotguns in many places without a permit and carry unloaded guns in cases.

Democrats said the measure would fuel gun deaths by encouraging more guns, increase crime, and put police officers’ lives in danger.

“It is going to mean more crime, more shootings,” said Rep. Matthew Wilson, a Brookhaven Democrat. “More guns equal more shootings. It’s not complicated. It’s very simple in fact.”

More than 20 other states allow concealed weapons in public without a permit, according to Stateline, an initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Georgia currently requires people to obtain a license to carry a loaded handgun outside their own homes, businesses or cars, although people can carry rifles and shotguns in many places without a permit and carry unloaded guns in cases.

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To obtain a weapons license, residents must submit an application and fee and undergo fingerprinting in addition to a background check. Convicted felons and people who have been hospitalized for mental health problems or received treatment for drugs or alcohol in the years preceding the application aren’t eligible.

Georgia House: No longer require permit for gun in public  The Associated Press – en Español

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