Passed with 34 Republicans voting yes and 18 Democrats voting no, House Bill 218 , “Act to amend Code Section 16-11-126,” allows out-of-state folks to legally carry concealed weapons if they are licensed in their home state. Because it is super annoying to not be allowed to drive with all of your guns into another state of the union and realize that that state has its own set of laws governing public health and safety. But that is not all: Republicans in the state Senate added some amendments to this bill, allowing “probate judges to process gun carry licenses and license renewals online,” versus having to appear in court in person. Such a drag! They also added a law that would prohibit the governor from “closing weapons manufacturers or shooting ranges during a public emergency.”
As Northwest Georgian News reported, “Coincidentally, the legislation’s main sponsor, Republican Mandi Ballinger, is from Cherokee County, where the suspect lived and where the first group of victims were located.” When first pushing the bill, Ballinger explained that “Nobody has lower standards than Georgia for a concealed carry permit.” State Sen. Elena Parent argued that the legislature’s time would be better spent studying gun violence rather than loosening up gun laws. “We don’t have to see three establishments shot up and eight people dead in our state, to be followed six days later by 10 more people dead. We don’t have to live in fear of the next mass shooting. We don’t have to bear this huge number of grieving families.”
Republican state sen. Bo Hatchett gave this rousing speech, “This is a Second Amendment protection bill that further recognizes Georgia’s commitment to protect its citizens and their Second Amendment rights.” All indications are that gun sales have surged during the pandemic, so it isn’t like anyone is even close to taking away anyone else’s guns these days. And since it has been forever since the United States even truly considered common sense gun legislation, there remains no plan to take away anyone’s guns.