Lawmakers on a Georgia legislative subcommittee unanimously approved a bill on Wednesday that would allow any concealed carry licensee in the country to legally carry their firearms in the state, sending the bill on to a full House committee for a vote and expected approval.
HB787 would establish a system of universal reciprocity in the state, replacing the individual reciprocity agreements Georgia already has with 32 other states across the country. The bill’s sponsor says the legislation will make Georgia a more attractive destination for gun owners.
House Bill 787, sponsored by Canton Republican Rep. Mandi Ballinger, said the purpose of the legislation is to make it easier for travelers to bring their guns into the state.
“It would be good for hunting and fishing, as well as some other, kind of, pro-Second Amendment folks,” she said. “It doesn’t it doesn’t expand our licensing here in the state of Georgia.”
It’s unclear if anyone who has brought a gun from a state that Georgia does not have an agreement with has been prosecuted unless he or she already was charged with other crimes.
Gun control advocates warned that allowing people from states that may have loose licensing laws could endanger Georgians.
“Weakening reciprocity laws is just not a good practice,” Rast said. “This will only make it more difficult for local Georgia law enforcement to help keep our communities safe.”
It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that Moms Demand Action is opposed to expanding reciprocity, though Rast is wrong when she says passage of the bill would make it harder for law enforcement to protect their communities. Concealed carry holders are more law-abiding than the general population, so if Rast is really concerned about people coming in from out-of-state to commit acts of violence, she should probably be demanding the state’s borders be closed to everyone but concealed carry licensees.
HB787 now heads to a vote in the full House Public Safety Committee, and must be sent to the state Senate by March 12th to remain viable this session. At the moment, it looks like HB787 is in pretty good shape, but if you’re a Georgia gun owner now would be a good time to contact your state representative and urge them to support the measure.