Opposite sides debate ‘Constitutional Carry’ Senate Bill as it goes before Ga. lawmakers

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Published: Feb. 10, 2022 at 3:32 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - “Constitutional Carry,” proposed Senate Bill 319 is one of the hottest topics on top of Georgia lawmakers debate right now under the Gold Dome.

If passed, it would allow Georgia gun owners to carry concealed firearms without having a state “carry permit.”

Georgians, both for and against the proposal, say safety is one of the key reasons for their thinking.

Georgia 2A for Second Amendment, a state-level gun rights organization, is in favor of Senate Bill 319. The proposal would permit Georgians to carry their firearms concealed without a state permit.

“We shouldn’t have to ask the government for permission to practice our self-defense,” said Georgia 2 A Executive Director Jerry Henry.

Moms Demand Action, a national organization dedicated to ending gun violence with stronger gun laws, says the proposed bill will make Georgia streets more dangerous.

“Having the permitting system has stopped a certain number of people who shouldn’t have a weapon for having one. And with being able to carry a firearm comes the responsibility of being someone who knows how safely to use that firearm,” said Moms Demand Action State Legislative Lead Elaine DiSimone.

But Georgia 2A officials say state permits do not stop criminals. And they say law-abiding gun owners have the right to protection, despite the objections of activists.

“You should have the right to defend yourself if necessary. Now whether they do or not, that’s their own business. But I believe everybody should have the right to decide for themselves whether they want to carry a firearm where ever they may be. Because the criminal going to be there, regardless,” said Henry.

Moms Demand Action officials say recent polls claim a majority of Georgians are not in favor of permitless carry.

“More guns on Georgia streets, while lowering the bar for who gets to carry them is a very dangerous idea. Georgia lawmakers are using this and other similar bills to play political games with our lives,” DiSimone said.

Henry said he is confident that Senate Bill 319 or a similar law will pass during this legislative session allowing permitless carry. The state carry permits will still be available, and Henry thinks many Georgia gun owners will continue to get ones.

“Because there will still be a lot of people that will be going through the process. Because you will need them to carry in other states that we have reciprocity with. And to buy firearms,” Henry said.

Moms Demand Action said they can’t see the future on the Constitutional Carry Bill, but said they feel Georgia lawmakers should be working on different laws that strengthen gun regulations.

“Daily gun deaths are shattering our communities. The numbers are outrageous. Instead, our lawmakers should be focused on enacting safer gun legislation,” DiSimone said.

Both opponents and supporters of the proposed constitutional carry law can give statistics in other states to back their positions.

Georgia lawmakers are expected to vote on the Constitutional Carry Bill sometime this week.

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