Georgia’s so-called “guns everywhere” bill has been signed into law, permitting guns in bars, schools, churches, and government buildings, with some exceptions.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed House Bill 60 on Wednesday, worrying critics who had dubbed the bill “guns everywhere” for its broad scope, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The law, set to take effect July 1, has been praised by the National Rifle Association as “the most comprehensive pro-gun reform bill in history.”
So where will Georgians soon be able to bring their guns under the “guns everywhere” law?
The nation has experienced enough school shooting incidents to be utterly humorless about dangerous firearms in schools. Students have been arrested for simulated school shootings and even for chewing Pop-Tarts into the shape of a gun.
However, this doesn’t mean there’s an all-out ban on bringing guns into a school. In fact, before Georgia’s House Bill 60 was signed, at least 18 other states allowed guns in schools. With the “guns everywhere” bill signed, Georgia becomes No. 19, allowing certain school staff to potentially carry guns “within school safety zones under certain circumstances.”
HB 60 leaves intact the general prohibition on carrying guns into churches or other places of worship. But it allows each house of worship to “opt-in” to allow weapons, giving parishioners the right to carry a firearm under a church’s roof.
The “guns everywhere” bill initially attempted to force churches to allow firearm holders, but that provision was dropped in the bill’s final version, reports the Journal-Constitution. Some churches have told their congregations to leave their guns at home, but Georgia will leave it up to each place of worship to set their own rules on firearms.
It isn’t a surprise that guns can be allowed in courthouses as evidence of crimes, but HB 60 also allows court clerks, federal prosecutors, judges (active or retired), and the state Attorney General (along with his or her staff) to carry a gun.
Although critics might point to the danger of increasing courthouse shootings, the “guns everywhere” bill only allows average citizens to carry guns into a courthouse when there is no security screening at the entrance.
Arizona allowed guns in bars in 2009, and five years later, Georgia has followed suit. Unlike churches, Georgia bars must “opt-out” of the law in order to keep guns out of their businesses.
It is uncertain how this “guns everywhere” bill will affect safety or crime in the Peach State. We’ll get a better idea after the law goes into effect July 1.