Senate to take up concealed weapon in vehicle measure - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Senate to take up concealed weapon in vehicle measure

February 12, 2007

Albany-  A new measure approved by the House of Representative Monday will allow the driver next to you on the highway to have a concealed weapon in their vehicle. Proponents say the new measure protects your Second Amendment right to bear arms, critics say it could endanger police making traffic stops or another motorists.

Budget Insurance owner Troy Toole always carries his Colt .380 in his truck.

"I run my own business and we do take in a little cash and I just have to protect myself and it's just not a safe environment out here anymore," said Troy Toole.

Toole has a concealed handgun permit, and can keep the weapon anywhere in his vehicle. "I keep my firearm stuck down in between the seats, that way it's sort of out of view, but an easy reach for me," said Toole.

House Bill 89 would extend those rules to those without permits.

Right now, if you've got a gun and you've got it in your car and don't have a permit you've got to keep it somewhere visible either up on the dashboard or somewhere visible like on the seat. The new law would allow you to slip it between the seat but that's not sitting well with some permit holders or law enforcement.

"Anyone could carry a firearm under the seat and at any time if they go into a rage or drug related or have a dispute with someone, and they're not thinking clearly they could reach under the seat grab the gun and it's always there," said Toole.

"What law enforcement is concerned about is when someone wants to use a firearm or weapon against them or somebody else and typically you'll have that when someone is evasive about it you know or won't tell you about it," said Col. Duane Sapp, Lee County Sheriff's Office.

Both say having that weapon visible, allows you to assess the situation ahead of time, but if someone's already decided they're going to use the weapon it doesn't matter if it's concealed or on the seat.

The measure will now be sent to the Senate for approval.

The legislation is just one of several gun related bills pending, one prohibits police, National Guardsmen, and others from confiscating guns during a state of emergency and another prohibits certain public and private employers from barring workers from keeping firearms in locked vehicles at work.

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