Bill would allow concealed weapons without permit

Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011 11:55 AM
Last updated Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011 1:35 PM
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 Editor's note: A portion of this story has been updated to more accurately depict federal gun requirements.


ATLANTA — Groups on both sides of the gun-control issue are springing into action Wednesday over a new bill that would allow nearly anyone to carry a concealed weapon without having to get a permit first.

Freshman Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, prefiled House Bill 679 to eliminate the permit requirement to carry a gun or knife longer than 5 inches that’s not visible. Currently, about 300,000 Georgians have permits.

The permits are issued by local probate judges who certify that the permit holder isn’t prohibited by law from having a concealed weapon, such as children, those convicted of a crime or anyone who’s been hospitalized for mental illness or addiction to drugs or alcohol in the last five years.

The pre-amble to the bill explains Spencer’s reasoning.

“The mere potential to deprive someone of life, liberty, or property should never be considered a crime in a free and just society,” it stated. “Evil resides in the heart of the individual, not in material objects. Since objects or ‘instrumentalities’ in and of themselves are not dangerous or evil, in a free and just society, the civil government should not ban or restrict their possession or use.”

Georgia Gun Owners sent an e-mail Wednesday to its 6,000 members urging them to support the bill. It says the bill would remove headaches for gun enthusiasts, such as the $100 annual fee to the county, fingerprinting and delays in getting a permit approved and background checks.

“Law-abiding citizens should not have to be fingerprinted and cataloged like common criminals just to be able to defend themselves, their family and their property,” Spencer said. “In this day and age, with our firearms rights under full-fledged attack from Washington, and even here in the state, it’s time to finally remove the government-imposed barriers to private protection and self-defense.”

An estimated 40 percent of guns are purchased at gun shows.  Federally licensed firearms dealers selling at gun shows are required to conduct instant background checks but individuals at shows selling guns on an occasional basis are exempt.

“If we don’t vet folks who want to carry concealed in the state of Georgia, then there will be no vetting at all for 40 percent of all guns,” said Alice Johnson, executive director of Georgians for Gun Safety, a coalition of gun-control groups.

Johnson said her group and others would oppose the bill.

That’s what’s motivating supporters to act quickly to get commitments from legislative leaders to back it before opponents can convince them.

“The right to defend oneself in Georgia does not come from a piece of government paper. Our right to self defense is God-given,” said D.R. Leonard, political director for Georgia Gun Owners.

Spencer is picking up the mantel of two of the legislators who have sponsored bills in recent years relaxing gun-control laws. Each just took appointments in the Deal administration and left the General Assembly. Spencer may not have the same luck as ed-Sen. Mitch Seabaugh, R-Sharpsburg, and ex-Rep. Tim Bearden, R-Villa Rica, because he doesn’t have their seniority in the legislature nor their leadership sway since both were committee chairmen.

Spencer was elected last year and quickly found out how little influence a freshman has when he was drawn into the same district with veteran Rep. Mark Hatfield, R-Waycross.

Comments (45) Add comment
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linux
96
Points
linux 12/07/11 - 01:06 pm
0
0
Annual fee of $100? Hmmm, I

Annual fee of $100? Hmmm, I just moved here and applied for my permit several weeks ago. I believe the fee was $70 or $75 and "assumed" it was good for 4 or 5 years. Even in liberal Washington state where I came from it's good for 5 years.

In any event, I'm all for a persons right to carry, however I think a permit is a good thing for all, not that it will matter to the bad guys, just add to their sentences. I'm more concerned in a national policy so I can cross state lines without having to disarm myself.

my.voice
4801
Points
my.voice 12/07/11 - 02:01 pm
0
0
The bad guys are already

The bad guys are already doing this. Making it legal will only add to the problem. What a dumb idea.

Josh 1120
0
Points
Josh 1120 12/07/11 - 02:45 pm
0
0
Linux, you are correct

Linux, you are correct Georgia Firearms Licenses are $70-75 and valid for 5 years. I agree with you on the personal right to carry and that permits are of some good even though the bad guys do it anyway. I also think a national reciprocity law similar to driver's licenses is vital. Mr. Jones, for info about how individual counties approach issuing licenses, check out www.GeorgiaCarry.org

Brad Owens
4396
Points
Brad Owens 12/07/11 - 02:52 pm
0
0
Not sure about this one. On

Not sure about this one.

On one hand I feel that I should nt have to jump through hoops to carry. Since I have been working overseas my CCP expired. I am never home long enough on leave to get the permit back while I am there, so this would allow me to carry when I was home.

On the other hand, it really is not that hard to get a CCP in Georgia and it makes sure that the person with the CCP is not a criminal.

I would say make the process easier and quicker if they want to do something to help. Like have a quicker turn around on the permits.

Not sure I feel this is a God issue either.

This will die in committee anyway.

Brad

CorporalGripweed
0
Points
CorporalGripweed 12/07/11 - 02:54 pm
0
0
Fantastic idea!The quote "Law

Fantastic idea!The quote "Law abiding citizens should not have to fingerprinted and catologued like common criminals in order to prtect themselves their family and their property" is absolutely brilliant. Making it legal will maybe make a predator think twice before trying to rob an average citizen. And hopefully enough average citizens will arm themselves to the point we begin to hear more stories of dead perps and less about dead average citizens...

Riverman1
83439
Points
Riverman1 12/07/11 - 03:03 pm
0
0
If the doggone Constitution

If the doggone Constitution says you can have a weapon, what's the problem if you are not a felon, who is specifically excluded by most state laws? Those who have permits like to think they are somehow part of a para-miltary organization that has somehow been annointed as others can't be. Let me be the first vet to tell you that you went through a rinky dink screening and it has nothing to actually do with actually being a safe gun carrier.

If a female who is kind of unsafe fires on a criminal exercising her constitutional rights and doesn't have a permit, are we supposed to believe that's bad?

harley_52
23152
Points
harley_52 12/07/11 - 03:18 pm
0
0
Riverman has it right again,

Riverman has it right again, as is usually the case.

CorporalGripweed
0
Points
CorporalGripweed 12/07/11 - 03:20 pm
0
0
Better to be judged by twelve

Better to be judged by twelve than carried by six..

HistoryBuff
0
Points
HistoryBuff 12/07/11 - 03:53 pm
0
0
Isn't that what CRIMINALS

Isn't that what CRIMINALS already do? If you haven't anything to hide why the fear of getting a permit. FELONS should NOT be carrying guns, nor ought the government be helping them to do so!

Willbill
0
Points
Willbill 12/07/11 - 03:58 pm
0
0
The Brady Campaign views

The Brady Campaign views Vermont as the worst case scenario, and they give Vermont a score of 6 out of 100 for its firearms laws. Even though citizens in Vermont are free to carry firearms both openly or concealed without a permit, and despite the fact that they are free to carry their firearms in restaurants that serve alcohol and even while consuming alcohol, the homicide rate in Vermont was 1.1 per 100,000 in 2009. Of the seven homicides that were committed in Vermont in 2009 none of them were committed using firearms.
http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/data/table_04.html
http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/data/table_20.html
http://www.bradycampaign.org/stategunlaws/scorecard/VT
This would be good for Georgia, but they should keep their permit system as an option so Georgians can continue to have reciprocity with other states.

Riverman1
83439
Points
Riverman1 12/07/11 - 04:03 pm
0
0
HistoryBuff, so the FEAR of

HistoryBuff, so the FEAR of criminals doing what you are constitutionally given the right to do should mean we have to impose checks on those rights?

harley_52
23152
Points
harley_52 12/07/11 - 04:10 pm
0
0
HistoryBuff asked "If you

HistoryBuff asked "If you haven't anything to hide why the fear of getting a permit."

Fear of getting a permit? "Fear" isn't the operative word. Why is my RIGHT to carry a weapon being restricted?

I have a permit, but don't think I should have to pay $75 and go through the hassle of getting one when I haven't done anything wrong and I know for sure people who have done things wrong aren't paying the $75. I also know that if the government decides to confiscate people's weapons because some left-wing loon foolishly decides it will keep people safer, they'll have my name and address on file as being a gun owner and make them mistakenly think they can just come to my home and pick mine up.

harley_52
23152
Points
harley_52 12/07/11 - 04:12 pm
0
0
Willbill, I agree with you

Willbill, I agree with you 100%.

eagle
94
Points
eagle 12/07/11 - 04:23 pm
0
0
Would rather see a
Unpublished

Would rather see a reciprocity law between all the states.

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 12/07/11 - 04:27 pm
0
0
Here is another good one... I

Here is another good one... I want to put a different front grip on my firearm to better control the recoil, therefore giving me better accuracy and making it safer. Since my weapon is considered a pistol by the ATFE I would have to reclassify this gun as a Short Barrell Rifle, which takes a tax stamp and about 8 months of waiting. If I would like to put a 90 round drum magazine on it, thats fine. Bayonet? Illegal, due to drive by bayonettings, I assume. If I would like to install a 40mm projectile launcher, allowing my weapon to shoot CS gas, sandbags, or grenades (if I could get them) that is legal. If I wanted to put a stock on the back? Illegal.

Dudeness
1544
Points
Dudeness 12/07/11 - 04:29 pm
0
0
Would this bill mean that you

Would this bill mean that you still need a weapons permit (we don't have a concealed gun permit in GA) to carry openly, but you do not need one to carry concealed? What if the gun was concealed on a person lacking a permit and at some point the gun reveals itself when someone bends over? Would the person then be in violation of not having a permit while openly carrying?

harley_52
23152
Points
harley_52 12/07/11 - 04:34 pm
0
0
Dudeness, the permit you get

Dudeness, the permit you get in Georgia is a license to carry a firearm (not specifically "conceal" a firearm). If you have the permit you can carry a firearm concealed, or open, except in certain places.

Dudeness
1544
Points
Dudeness 12/07/11 - 04:40 pm
0
0
I understand that, harley. I

I understand that, harley. I might have talked in circles a bit, but my question was in regards to someone carrying concealed without a permit under this bill. If the gun moves around to where it is no longer concealed, then there could be problems arising from that person not having a permit to carry openly. I am thinking that this opens people up to unnecessary legal issues, but will need to hear more details.

harley_52
23152
Points
harley_52 12/07/11 - 04:44 pm
0
0
My understanding of this bill

My understanding of this bill is that there would be no permit required at all within Georgia. A person could still get (voluntarily) a permit like now, which would be needed only for issues of reciprocity with other (cooperating) states.

Pitchfork-Ben-Thurmond61
0
Points
Pitchfork-Ben-Thurmond61 12/07/11 - 05:03 pm
0
0
An armed society is a polite
Unpublished

An armed society is a polite society. Aint none of us no more remeber the good ol days of the 50's I mean the 1850's but would you rather walk downtown in a big city with your misus in 1850 or 2011? PURE Americans all carried then and special interests were kept in there place. Rick Perry gonna take America Back!!!!! Perry/Palin 20122 WOOOOO!!!!!! Fire up ol' sparky, watch em fry and dont stop but reload!!!

augusta citizen
9280
Points
augusta citizen 12/07/11 - 05:24 pm
0
0
GA needs to reciprocate with

GA needs to reciprocate with SC. I have my permit in GA, but will have to go and separately get one for SC.

harley_52
23152
Points
harley_52 12/07/11 - 05:29 pm
0
0
Some states require training

Some states require training and testing before they issue permits to their own citizens. It is unlikely they'll accept Georgia's simple (no classes, no test) process if it gets even simpler. Without a Federal law there's little chance of all the states adopting a process like that now being considered here in Georgia.

Sweet son
10309
Points
Sweet son 12/07/11 - 07:01 pm
0
0
Hell with a permit! Just

Hell with a permit! Just carry your weapon where and how you want to. We all know where the meatal dectors are so otherwise 'just do it!' If you get into a tight and need to use your weapon then once again 'do it.' Worry about the consequences later!

TK3
562
Points
TK3 12/07/11 - 07:02 pm
0
0
My "permit" is the Second

My "permit" is the Second Amendment. What part of "Shall Not Be Infringed" do politicians today NOT understand?

toureh
0
Points
toureh 12/07/11 - 07:11 pm
0
0
I don't have a permit to

I don't have a permit to carry nor do I want one. I don't think I need to carry a handgun since I intend to stay out of harms way. That has keep me alive in wars and conflicts for the better part of my life.
However, if my life is in danger I will attack in as ruthless a manner as I can. I know from experience that is the only way to survive. I really could care less about a permit. I will deal with law if I survive and God if I don't.

walrus4ever
354
Points
walrus4ever 12/07/11 - 07:28 pm
0
0
Permit or not, legal or not,

Permit or not, legal or not, you cant do much from the cemetary. I intend to delay that situation as long as possible.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 12/07/11 - 07:39 pm
0
0
What's the penalty now for

What's the penalty now for carrying a gun without a permit?

dichotomy
32672
Points
dichotomy 12/07/11 - 07:58 pm
0
0
I agree that getting at least

I agree that getting at least one background check and fingerprints is a good idea. But somewhere deep down in my craw it does stick a little that I have to spend $75 every 5 years and a couple of hours going from getting paperwork at the Probate Court and then up to the Marshall's office to hopefully get my prints taken if the $(#*$* machine is working correctly (it don't like old people's fingerprints). The price has almost doubled (used to be $45) and you used to could just go down and get a renewal every 5 years. Now you have to do the whole application from scratch and be re-fingerprinted. What, like my fingerprints are going to change. All they really need to do a renewal is a 30 second computer query to see if I have been convicted of any felonies since the last time I renewed. They are just gouging for money. Permits should be good for at least 10 years and only be revocable if you are convicted of a felony. And all of this to protect myself from criminals who carry a weapon and never get a permit and do not get anything but a wrist slap when, and if, they are caught carrying one unless they committed a crime with it. And then they usually only prosecute them for the actual crime and ignore the illegal weapon charge.

And yes, we are in sore need of a national policy. My right to protect myself does not stop at the South Carolina state line or anywhere else in this country.

proudgunowner
148
Points
proudgunowner 12/07/11 - 09:04 pm
0
0
I possess a Georgia Firearms
Unpublished

I possess a Georgia Firearms License and as a US citizen and a big believer in the Constitution I believe that all persons, unless convicted of a crime, have the right to OWN firearms. The right to CARRY them with you in public is a privilege offered to those who meet even further qualifications. Please remember that along with rights come responsibilities.

What is the next step? Not having to have a license to operate a motor vehicle? After all, driving a car could be considered a part of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Not only should the license be required to carry a firearm, it should be HARDER to get a permit by requiring permit holders to partake in and pass extensive training and testing in the use of the firearm.

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 12/07/11 - 09:30 pm
0
0
I can see both sides.

I can see both sides. Frankly, if you are a law abiding non-felon citizen you should be able to carry, period. And, in Georgia, you can carry without a permit so long as the weapon is not concealed.

However, I see no problem with permits for concealment as you have no "Right" to carry concealed. Furthermore, I believe that Georgia should step up their permits to include firearms training in order for GA permit holders to get reciprocity with other states.

As for the fees, the paper is way off....approximately $75.00 every 5 years which is not unreasonable.

Frankly, I think our legislatures have a lot more to worry about than this at this time. Let’s pass mandatory sentencing for violent repeat offenders and keep them off of our streets. Our justice system is a revolving door or repeat offending violent persons which needs to be changed.

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