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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Adder
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Adder 12/07/11 - 09:54 pm
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Criminals do NOT pay any
Unpublished

Criminals do NOT pay any fee's and carry anyway,obviously. So WHY should a law abiding,productive and upstanding citizen have to ? If anything, The state should pay us law-abiding,productive and upstanding citizens for making society safer.{How about $100.00 every 5 years,or so.} And isn't it about time that the law-abiding,productive and upstanding citizens caught a little financial break ?

Common.sense
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Common.sense 12/08/11 - 12:52 am
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Brad the criminal carry

Brad the criminal carry concealed doesn't care about the law. If you spotted someone that was carrying concealed you wouldn't question if they are licensed. So why does it matter?

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
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Crime Reports and Rewards TV 12/08/11 - 01:16 am
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Gun grabbers are trying to

Gun grabbers are trying to grab your guns so you won't be able to defend yourself against them. Hear about all the gun grabbers that have secret stockpiles of guns? Gun grabbers are lying hypocrites and should be sued for public endangerment and wrongful death every time one of their buddies murders yet another tax payer.

KSL
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KSL 12/08/11 - 03:04 am
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If criminals can (and do)

If criminals can (and do) carry concealed, law abiding citizens should also be able to, period.

Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 12/08/11 - 04:59 am
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Well, I have read some of the

Well, I have read some of the comments here and I agree on two points having thought about them some more.

1.) There should be a national law covering all state reciprocal law that allows someone’s CCP to be good in all states that have CCPs. Like DLs and marriage certs.

2.) Why can't we use the same instant background checks used to purchase a firearm in Georgia to clear a CCP? Those cost $5.00 at a gun dealer when buying a gun and cover the same checks if I am not mistaken. Also, the need for a finger print can be eliminated by having a State permit issued with a picture. The DMV could issue them with the proper paperwork.

I mean imagine that all you needed to get a CCP in Georgia was to go into a DMV to have an instant background check like a gun purchase and it is done. They would issue you an CCP exactly like the GA DL complete with picture and address.

I do think that GA is way behind on that one. If this guy wants to help, make the process cheaper (same as DL and free for veterans), easier to get done (instant backgound checks instead of GBI finger print nonsense) and include a professional issued CCP with picture and tamper proof ID (DL style card) I would support him 100%.

I wrote an opinion blog about my feelings on the 2nd Amendment.

Can't post a link, the Cronicle staff won't allow it, but if anyone would like to read it, just google "The 2nd Amendment – What is it really about? Bradley E. Owens" and read my opinion on it. It would be nice to get feedback from so many folks who have strong feelings about ythe issue.

Cheers.

Brad

donttreadonme
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donttreadonme 12/08/11 - 05:29 am
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If a criminal wants to carry

If a criminal wants to carry a pistol concealed he just does it. A law abiding citizen has to go pay for the ability.

S60
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S60 12/08/11 - 08:19 am
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Excellent comments on a well

Excellent comments on a well written article.

I do think that having a state-issued ID would be pretty much required, since any type of reciprocity would require that. Vermonters have been struggling with that for decades now.

Also, I love the fact that as a license holder I don't have to go through the NICS check when purchasing a firearm, and would hate to go back to having to deal with (and pay for) that each time.

The argument will come up that it makes the polices' job harder, which I guess is true. However it always irked me that I had to carry a card to prove I was a law abiding citizen.

What we really need here, along-side the national reciprocity law, is a 'reverse-NICS' check that the cops can tie into. Instead of a database of law abiding citizens, it would be a database of people prohibited to carry or own a firearm.

Seems to me that would be a lot more accurate, and would actually be useful to police as well as appeasing the Brady Bunch.

S60
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S60 12/08/11 - 08:21 am
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BTW, on re-reading my post I

BTW, on re-reading my post I realized something that didn't come across clearly. I do agree that any government issued ID should be voluntary, not required.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 12/08/11 - 10:54 am
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I'm telling you folks take

I'm telling you folks take these concealed weapons permits entirely too serious. They believe they are some kind of quasi law enforcement people. My VFW magazine has an ad in the back selling badges that say concealed weapon's permit. That's right under the handcuff ad and next to the x-ray vision glasses.

Just carry the doggone gun if you want. The Constitution says you can. Georgia has the right idea. Charge me with a crime for carrying and shame on you whoever you are. I'll tell them that and the judge too. Someone needs to test the whole requirement and inability to cross state lines.

I'm gonna shoot somebody trying to harm an innocent victim and I'm going to say arrest me for not having a permit. I want to make a federal case out of it.

noway
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noway 12/08/11 - 11:19 am
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I love how the chronicle

I love how the chronicle makes it sound like it's such a burden on a gun owner to get a concealed weapon permit. Misinformation on the cost and the time the permit is valid. There is nothing DENYING people's rights to own their stupid guns. Just get the permit and try to make this a good thing for everyone. Those that hate guns and think they should be illegal to have, like me, compromise through permitting and more gun control WITHOUT taking your guns away. They are your right, but there is nothing wrong with a little gun control. Quit making it sound like it's such a big deal getting a stupid permit. Everyone is so lazy. Just do it and move on. Do you really need a concealed weapon anyway? seriously?

Common.sense
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Common.sense 12/08/11 - 12:58 pm
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Riverman those badges are a

Riverman those badges are a joke. 99% of people that I know who carry guns think they are ridiculous.

noway it is a burden. A criminal isn't going to go through the hassle of getting one. Why should the law abiding citizens have to? THERE IS NO COMPROMISING. Yes I need a concealed weapon. Do you read the news? I almost feel sorry for people like you. You don't care enough about your life to do what is necessary to make sure you are safe.

Common.sense
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Common.sense 12/08/11 - 01:08 pm
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40% of guns are sold at gun

40% of guns are sold at gun shows without background checks? Please prove it. In Georgia anyone with a booth must do the NCIC before selling. They must be talking about private sales. Which can be done anytime or anywhere in Georgia, not just at gunshows.

ya-ya
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ya-ya 12/08/11 - 01:34 pm
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Cracking up at Riverman 1!!!

Cracking up at Riverman 1!!!

MrMatthews
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MrMatthews 12/08/11 - 02:14 pm
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I'm by no means defending
Unpublished

I'm by no means defending either side, I would just like to bring up a few points of discussion and maybe someone can provide some knowledge on each.

1. How many crimes in Georgia have been stopped by someone with a concealed or open carried handgun with a permit?

2. How many crimes nationwide have been stopped by someone with a concealed or open carried handgun with a permit?

3. Where do the majority of criminals with illegal handguns get them? Foreign arms smuggling or stealing them from people with permits here in the U.S.?

4. Which would deter these murders and crimes with guns involved more? A) Banning all personal firearms not used for hunting(with strict requirements and immediately sentencing all criminals using firearms to death, B) Loosening the laws and jurisdictions on Handgun permits?

I know its righteous and macho to be a strict conservative and honor the constitution. But, times have changed, and people have changed. It is time that decisions be made with the best interest of the country in mind and an effort made to get us back on track.

Do you think the founding fathers had any idea the 2011 criminals and the type of folks that are destroying Augusta/America would exist? I think not.

Common.sense
465
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Common.sense 12/08/11 - 03:40 pm
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Two cents I would like car

Two cents I would like car control. People should not be allowed to buy cars from private sales. All drivers must take an annual driver safety course. You must also receive "physological clearance" before being able to drive. I dont think that's asking too much of people who want to own instruments of death.

Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 12/08/11 - 04:01 pm
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Don't get me wrong...I DO

Don't get me wrong...I DO believe citizens have a protected right to freedom of speech and the press, but I simultaneoulsy believe it should be carefully regulated. With freedom comes responsibility.

The speech and press control I'd like to see:

1. Writers must be licensed and have their stories registered with local law enforcement.
2. No writing about the government, for any civilians, ever.
3. Close loopholes allowing private internet blogs on websites.
4. All first time opinion espousers should be required to take a writers course and be certified in it. Should have recertification every 5 years.
5. Unfortunately it creates major conflict with the 1st Amendment related laws, but ideally, I'd love to see psychological clearance as well as criminal.

So how does is that trying to take your rights away? I really don't think that's asking too much of people who want to express themselves freely.

CobaltGeorge
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CobaltGeorge 12/08/11 - 04:27 pm
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Here the anti-gun nuts

Here the anti-gun nuts go......

It took about 10 seconds for the snakes in the George Soros-funded gun control crowd to launch an attack on the Georgia "Constitutional Carry" Act of 2012 (HB 679).

Alice Johnson over at Georgians for Gun Safety, a group frequently praised by the anti-gun Brady Campaign, immediately launched into HB 679, saying that she was organizing an effort of anti-gun groups to "oppose the bill."

Georgians for Gun Safety openly advocates treating firearms like an automobile, registering every single one of them. If the Brady Campaign and gun controllers like Alice Johnson had their way, they would:

>>> tax all gun owners;

>>> require gun owners to have liability insurance;

>>> require gun owners to wear a tag when carrying a gun and update it yearly;

>>> require gun owners have yearly gun safety inspections at government authorized inspection stations.

As you can see, the legislative battle for our right to carry a firearm without government permission has already begun.

The opponents of our firearms freedom are well-funded and willing to do anything to stop HB 679.

UrbanMeyerHater
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UrbanMeyerHater 12/08/11 - 04:54 pm
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My.voice, criminals dont have

My.voice, criminals dont have laws. Those intending to harm others dont consider the law. Criminals arnt affected by laws, only law abiding citizens. Criminals dont carry a CCP. Why should I as a law abiding citizen be 'handcuffed' by a CCP requirement when i only want to protect myself?? A CCP requirement only protects me from those that will do me no harm!!! What tha hell is wrong w/ you people?

Riverman1
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Riverman1 12/08/11 - 06:00 pm
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Ahhhh, the old, "you scare

Ahhhh, the old, "you scare me" internet line. Silly as it is, I always like to hear opponents use that one. It means you are having a strong effect.

The facts are the man who shot Office Paugh would have passed any kind of background check. He didn't have a record.

The facts are felons who shouldn't have a gun often carry one. A law abiding citizen has the constitutional right to bear arms. Why mess with that? It's plain enough. The background checks to buy a gun haven't changed.

Let's look at it in a practical way. If a felon is caught carrying a weapon now he is arrested. That won't change. If the person has a weapon and is not a criminal, he will be left alone the same as someone who has gone through this permit deal.

KSL
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KSL 12/09/11 - 01:29 am
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Here is the truth. Without

Here is the truth. Without the right of Americans to own guns, the Japanese would have invaded America after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. That is a fact that they stated. Take away the the guns from American homes and you have the potential for another Germany. If not the Jews they come after, maybe its the ugly capitalists.

Yes, we definitely have a problem with guns in the hands of gang members and hoodlums. But preventing law abiding citizens to own guns while criminals can is definitely not the solution. It just doesn't work. Check out the statistics in Australia.

There are countries who want America to be disarmed. Now just why would they care? Think about it.

Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 12/09/11 - 12:03 pm
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Two cents, Please show me the

Two cents,

Please show me the section osf the USC that talks about gun regulation. It isn't in there.

Brad

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