FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 19, 2014
(Atlanta, GA) – Yesterday, the Georgia House of Representatives passed aggressive legislation that will push loaded, concealed handguns into more public places around the state. HB 875, the successor bill to SB 101, which failed to win approval in March 2013 is a major prize for the Georgia gun lobby and a defeat for the safety of millions of Georgians.
Some of the major components of HB 875 include:
- Arming K – 12 teachers, administrators, staff or anyone authorized by a local school board to carry concealed firearms anywhere on school grounds.
- Decriminalizing campus carry (making it a civil offense), prevents law enforcement from arresting gun carrier, and imposes up to $100.00 fine.
- An opt out provision for concealed carry in houses of worship and bars.
- Forcing guns into state and local government buildings; libraries, city council meetings, senior centers, etc.
- Forcing public housing authorities to allow guns.
- Creating an absolute defense for the legal use of deadly force in the face of a violent attack. This provision strengthens the state’s Stand Your Ground defense.
- Repealing the entire state dealer licensing system.
- Reducing the age requirement for concealed carry from 21 to 18 for military veterans or those that have taken basic training.
- Reducing the penalty from a felony to no penalty should licensed permit holders carry guns past TSA security checkpoints at all airports including Hartsfield-Jackson International, the busiest airport in the world. Provision assigns the same penalty (misdemeanor, same as traffic ticket in Georgia) for non-license holders and license holders should they not “immediately leave the restricted access area upon notification.”
Said Andy Pelosi, director of the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, “For two years running we have vigorously opposed all efforts to force loaded, concealed handguns on Georgia’s public universities and technical colleges. Now, HB 875 decriminalizes carrying a loaded, concealed handgun on campus. While carrying a loaded, concealed handgun is technically still unlawful, this provision is a backdoor way of allowing guns on campus with minimal consequences. A “slap on the wrist” penalty of a civil offense, a $100 fine, coupled with not allowing law enforcement to arrest carriers of concealed handguns is sending the wrong message. If you break the law, it’s no big deal.”
Kathryn Grant, state director, added, “Regarding other provisions of the bill, we continue to take exception to arming K-12 staff, as we feel that these individuals are charged first and foremost with educating young people and their tactical training will never rise to the level of certified and trained law enforcement. Other provisions, including attempts to force concealed firearms in houses of worship, bars and government buildings, flies in the face of common sense and will only serve to decrease public safety while placing religious leaders and business owners in uncomfortable positions of excluding worshipers and patrons. Finally, the TSA union has already clearly stated that they oppose arming their personnel and the last things that should happen at the world’s busiest airport (Hartsfield-Jackson International) is to expand the areas in which people can carry concealed firearms with little consequence. We call on the Senate to put the brakes on this overreaching bill.
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The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus was founded in 2008 to urge colleges and universities to band together to oppose the gun lobby’s agenda to push guns onto college campuses. To date, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and more than 365 colleges and universities in 41 states have joined the Campaign. Click to view list.
Kathryn Grant, email: [email protected]
Andy Pelosi, email: [email protected]