Georgia's gun laws considered middle of the road - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Georgia's gun laws considered middle of the road

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

July 30, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - In 1986, only nine states had right to carry laws. Twenty two years later, 40 states give citizens the right to carry a gun. Only two states, Illinois and Wisconsin, ban people from carrying guns.

Opinions may differ on which state has the toughest gun laws and who's most lenient.

In the court of common opinion many don't agree with a Tallahassee man's action to take the law into his own hands and shot a man he says was breaking into cars.

"I think in the case of a car it was a little excessive, personally I think if you see someone breaking into your house that's another story," said Corrin Sweet.

"I don't think he was justified." Why not? "He should have called the police," said James Toomer.

"I think it's justified if he's posing a threat to me or my family, but if he's just trying to get away or something like that I don't think it would be justified," said Jack Nutt.

"I don't necessarily agree with it if you yourself are not in danger. I understand no one should touch your property but if you yourself are not in danger or being harmed I didn't agree with it no," said Sharon Henderson.

More than half of the states in the nation, including Georgia have adopted a measure referred to the Castle Doctrine which is a right-to-defend-yourself gun law, but most require force to be threatened or taken. Many states like Georgia, Florida, and Texas have expanded the law to include cars and workplaces. Georgia lawmakers feel the laws on Georgia's books which were expanded this year to allow permit holders to take guns in restaurants, go far enough.

"I think it's very adequate for the need of the citizens in the state," said State Senator Michael Meyer Von Bremen.

Illinois and Wisconsin don't allow residents to carry guns, while some states like Alaska and Vermont don't require permits to carry guns. Law enforcement officers say regardless of where you live, if you cary a gun, it's your obligation to know the laws in your state.

"Gun owners have a moral obligation to be educated not only on how to use a firearm, but when to use a firearm," said Lee County Chief Dennis Parker.

They say if those laws are abused then you should lose your right to cary the gun.

Twenty-six years ago Kennesaw, Georgia unanimously adopted an ordinance requiring each head of household own and maintain a gun.

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