Officials don't like gun bill -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Officials don't like gun bill

Dougherty County Probate Judge Nancy Stephenson Dougherty County Probate Judge Nancy Stephenson
Lee County Sheriff Reggie Rachals Lee County Sheriff Reggie Rachals

A bill that would expand gun rights in Georgia is on the governor's desk, but some South Georgia Sheriff's and  Probate Judges are urging the governor not to sign it.       

House Bill 60 went through a lot of controversy, compromise, and changes before passing both houses of the General Assembly.     

But some sheriffs and judges say it has serious problems.  Some Judges say House Bill 60 has direct contradictions that need to be corrected.  Sheriffs are concerned it could put officers in danger, and are want to tell Governor Nathan Deal they have real problems with House Bill 60, and don't want it to become law.

Lee County Sheriff Reggie Rachals said many sheriffs agree with him. "That's what we're asking", said Rachals. "To veto it.  So we can re look at it and go from there with it."

Part of the bill says law enforcement officers cannot detain a person carrying a weapon while investigating if he has a carry permit, which Sheriff Rachal's believes would prevent officers from demanding to see a permit to determine if someone is a legal gun holder.

"Law enforcement officers being able to approach a person that may have a weapon on them, and ask them for a carry permit.  That hinders a lot of investigations," Rachals said.

Dougherty County's Probate Judge points out what she believes is a discrepancy on page 15 of the bill.  It says fingerprints are not required for renewal carry permit licenses, then just three lines later, it apparently says fingerprints are required. 

"I want people to get the value of paying $79 for a gun permit.  And using it to buy guns without having to go through background checks," Dougherty County Probate Judge Nancy Stephenson said.

Judge Stephenson said federal gun laws require those fingerprints on renewal licenses. 

So if House Bill 60 does not require fingerprinting, she says Georgians with carry permit renewals would still have to pay for federal background checks every time they buy a gun.   

Both the  Judge and  theSheriff say the wide ranging bill has problems that make enforcing it difficult.       

The Georgia Council of Probate Judges meets next week in Athens, and leaders of that organization are expected to discuss House Bill 60 and its discrepancies.


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