To make the most of the election-year political appeal of the bill, Gov. Nathan Deal will sign it Wednesday at a campaign-rally type event in Ellijay. Word of the plan came from House Speaker David Ralston per a Facebook posting by Georgia Carry with an invitation to the gun rights group that pushed hard for enactment of HB 60.
Ralston extended the invitation to the event on behalf of the bill’s sponsors and himself. He said that after the bill signing ceremony at noon, “a BBQ lunch will be served, open to those who can join us.” It will be at the ETC Pavilion on the Coosawattee River, a scenic setting for a barbecue, a staple of Georgia political campaigns for ages. It’s friendly territory for Ralston, who lives just up State Route 515 in Blue Ridge, and for Deal, whose hometown is Gainesville.
Georgia Carry and the NRA got just about everything they wanted, including new rights for persons with weapons licenses to carry firearms in bars, a scary proposition to mix alcohol and guns. Licensed carriers will also be allowed to take weapons inside houses of worship with permission of the organization and also inside non-secure airport areas.
But there’s much more in HB 60. It prohibits the state from creating and maintaining a database of licensed weapons carriers and repeals the state-required license for a firearms dealer, described as unnecessary and duplicative of federal law by the guns rights group. The new law will create “an absolute defense for the legal use of deadly force in the face of a violent attack,” per Georgia Carry.
Other provisions include elimination of fingerprinting for renewing weapons carry licenses in the state, allowing firearms in public housing, “ensuring that the right to self-defense should not be infringed based on where one calls home,” and codifying that when a state of emergency is declared, “all law-abiding gun owners will not have their Second Amendment rights restricted or infringed by executive authority through emergency powers protection.”
On the issue of guns in the hands of the mentally ill, which has played a part in many of the mass killings in this country, the law will require the state to report to the National Instant Criminal Background System persons who have been involuntarily hospitalized or adjudged mentally deficient. But there also will be a process for applying to the court system for restoration of gun rights.
Another of the provisions allows silencers to be used in hunting, an unfair advantage to the hunter if ever there was one, not to mention the problem of people being endangered because they are unaware of hunters shooting nearby.
As for the bill signing barbecue, no word on whether attendees have been invited to bring their firearms.