GA. Senate approves gun-carry bill - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

GA. Senate approves gun-carry bill

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –A bill that could result in guns being allowed in churches, bars and college campuses is a step closer to becoming law.

After debating for nearly two hours last night, Senators voted in favor of the bill which would expand gun carrying rights in Georgia.

But it will give local owners the right to refuse weapons on their property.

Around 300,000 people have permits to carry guns in Georgia.

"At my house if there is a problem, I'm well protected," said Jackie Sizemore, Owner of Backwoods Outdoors.

Just over the past year, Jackie Sizemore has seen a huge increase first time gun buyers at his store.

"More people are getting involved and they want to be protected," said Sizemore.

But a piece of legislation could soon expand gun carrying rights for those 300,000 licensed to carry a gun.

The measure, which just passed the Senate in a 41-12 vote would allow bar owners and churches to allow guns and would allow the University System to write a policy allowing guns on campuses.

Something Pastor Ernest Davis hopes he does not have to address.

"It would probably be an uncomfortable feeling standing up here on Sunday morning wondering how many members of the congregation are carrying guns," said Ernest

But is not as a concerning issue for Pastor Mike Lyons.

"I have never wondered whether anyone brought a gun with them to church or not, if I ever thought about that I don't think I would be greatly concerned about that," said Lyons.

Individual property owners and pastors would be allowed to make that decision. Which Pastor Davis will not allow at his church.

"I think when you say it is okay for someone to bring a gun you are asking for trouble, you never know what's going on in the human mind, you never know what people are thinking and you never know what could happen," said Davis.

But Lyons says he will trust in the law and his congregation.

"I think the intent of the senators is for the well being of the state of Georgia," said Lyons.

And if someone wants to do harm they already have the ability to do so.

"If their so called intent is to do damage in a house of worship they have had the availability to do that all along," said Lyons.

The house now goes on to the house of representatives before it becomes law.

The initial bill would have required gun permits be issued by the secretary of state's office, but that provision was removed last night.

And that, of course, means you'll still get gun permits at probate judge's offices.

The bill now goes on to the house.

Statement issued from Darton College:

"Our position is that from the beginning we supported current Georgia law, which prohibits guns on campus. Current law protects our students and our faculty and staff. We continue to support current Georgia law. The University System will be working with members of the House as this legislation crosses to this chamber for debate to convey our continued support for current Georgia law,"

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