Georgia Senate Passes Bill Nixing License Requirement To Open Carry Handguns

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Mary Rooke Commentary and Analysis Writer
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The Georgia Senate’s Republican majority passed the Georgia Constitutional Carry Act of 2021 Monday, amending previous legislation requiring a license to carry a handgun in public.

Georgia state senators passed Senate Bill 319 with a 34-22 vote along party lines after a long debate where Democratic senators argued the bill would increase gun deaths in the state, according to the Associated Press.

The state currently requires an application, fee and a background check with fingerprinting to carry a loaded handgun outside a person’s home, business or car. The bill will amend a Georgia code by eliminating the current license requirements to carry loaded weapons at parks, historic areas, memorials and recreational areas.

“Evil resides in the heart of the individual, not in material objects; and since objects or instrumentalities in and of themselves are not dangerous or evil, in a free and just society, the civil government should not ban or restrict their possession or use,” the George Senate stated.

Twenty-one states now have “constitutional carry” laws in place, according to Stateline, a part of the Pew Charitable Trusts. (RELATED: Biden DOJ Sues Missouri For Trying To Invalidate Federal Gun Laws) 

Republican Georgia state Sen. Jason Anavitarte, one of the bill’s sponsors, said SB 319 helps law-abiding citizens exercise their Second Amendment right, arguing that criminals weren’t likely to follow the state’s current gun laws, the AP reported.

“Today, we empower good people, law-abiding people,” the AP reported Anavitarte said.

“Civil governments are to punish the criminal acts that deprive their citizens of their God-given rights to life, liberty, and property,” the bill states. “The mere potential to deprive someone of life, liberty, or property should never be considered a crime in a free and just society.”

Republican Georgia state Sen. Matt Brass asked those who opposed the bill, “What would a Ukrainian citizen say about their right to take up and bear arms?” according to the AP.

Democratic Georgia state Sen. Elena Parent opposed the bill calling it an advancement of “extremist gun groups,” the AP reported.

Fellow Democrat Sen. Nan Orrock voted against SB 319, saying the legislation would keep up “the bloody trail of people injured and killed with gun violence here in our state,” according to the outlet.

Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said in January that he would sign the constitutional carry legislation if it passed the state legislature.

“Building a safer, stronger Georgia starts with hardworking Georgians having the ability to protect themselves and their families,” said Kemp, the AP reported. “In the face of rising violent crime across the country, law-abiding citizens should have their constitutional rights protected, not undermined.”

Former Republican Georgia Sen. David Purdue — who is running against Kemp as Republican Candidate for governor — took a shot at Kemp for failing to produce his 2018 campaign promise to deliver constitutional carry to Georgia.

“I’m glad Brian Kemp is answering my call for constitutional carry in Georgia. But real leaders lead from the start – and it’s time Georgia had a Governor who shows principled leadership when it matters most,” Purdue tweeted. “That’s exactly what I’ll deliver on day one.”