Constitutional Carry headed to Kemp after Georgia Senate gives final approval

(AP Photo/John Amis, File)

It took a little longer than some folks were expecting, but the Georgia legislature put its final stamp of approval on Constitutional Carry legislation today, meaning Georgia will soon become the fourth state this year to enshrine the measure into state law.

Second Amendment organizations were quick to celebrate final legislative passage of the law, which, once signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, will make Georgia the 25th state in the nation to recognize the right of legal gun owners to lawfully bear arms without the need for a government-issued permission slip beforehand. NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action were among those praising legislative leaders and 2A activists in the state for all of their hard work over the course of the session.

Today, the Senate voted 34-22 to concur with the House’s amendments to Senate Bill 319, constitutional carry. It will now go to Governor Brian Kemp, who has previously stated his support for constitutional carry. Georgia is now very close to becoming the 25th constitutional carry state, and the fourth to join that group in 2022.

Constitutional carry recognizes the right of a law-abiding adult who is legally allowed to carry a concealed firearm, to do so without first having to obtain government permission. This ensures that citizens have the right to self-defense without government red tape or delays. Additionally, this legislation maintains the existing concealed handgun license system, so citizens who still wish to obtain a permit may do so.

NRA thanks Representative Mandi Ballinger, Senator Jason Anavitarte, Speaker David Ralston, Representatives Alan Powell, Rick Jasperse, and J. Collins, Senate President Pro Tempore Butch Miller, Senator Brian Strickland, all the cosponsors in each chamber, and GA2A for their hard work making this victory possible.

Former U.S. Senator David Perdue had sought to make Constitutional Carry an issue in his primary challenge to Kemp, accusing the sitting governor of being soft in his support and pledging to sign a Constitutional Carry bill into law if elected. Kemp pushed back on Perdue shortly after his comments, telling supporters at a gun shop in the state that the idea “has recently become popular for others as we enter campaign season.” Kemp has held a substantial lead in polling of the Republican primary, and I would expect him to receive another bump once he signs Constitutional Carry into law, which will likely be a highly-publicized event.
Once Kemp puts pen to paper, fully half the country will now adopted Constitutional Carry bills of their own, and we still have the chance to add two more states to the roster before the end of the year. A Constitutional Carry bill is still alive in the Nebraska legislature, and Florida governor Ron DeSantis included Constitutional Carry in his list of priorities for the special session he’s called that will kick off next month.
And of course, all of this comes as the Supreme Court is currently weighing a challenge to New York’s “may issue” carry laws. Eight states, including New York, still refuse to recognize the right to bear arms and treat it as a privilege to be doled out by the state only to those it deems to have a “justifiable need” to carry a gun in self-defense. There are now three times as many states that don’t require any government-issued permission slip before legal gun owners can lawfully bear the arms they’re already keeping, and fully 42 states have laws that declare authorities “shall issue” licenses to anyone that meets their training requirements and isn’t prohibited from owning a firearm (though in the vast majority of “shall issue” states gun owners still have to pay a fee in order to obtain a carry license).
From both an originalist and a “living Constitution” perspective, the right of average citizens to bear arms in self-defense has been recognized throughout our nation’s history, and the recent adoption of permitless carry laws by nearly a dozen states over the past two years is rock solid proof that our fundamental right to keep and bear arms is just as important to Americans today as it was in 1776, 1787, or 1791. Congratulations to Georgia gun owners for today’s historic news, and as a Virginian I hope to one day join you in celebrating the passage of a permitless carry bill… hopefully not long after we flip our state Senate next year.