Whether you think COVID-19 spells the end of the human race or think it’s just another version of the flu, the truth is that we’re in the midst of a very real crisis. The disease kills the vulnerable and makes life miserable for plenty of others while it also spreads fairly easily. It’s also precipitated a lot of closures of critical government functions.
Meanwhile, some states tried to get away with shutting down the gun stores, using COVID-19 as a pretext.
However, a lawmaker in my home state of Georgia has a very different proposal.
A state lawmaker in Georgia wants to make it legal to carry a concealed firearm anywhere in the state because of the coronavirus.
“We need to suspend enforcement, especially during the state of emergency, when so many individuals need to be able to defend themselves and their families and their loved ones and their property,” said Republican state Rep. Matt Gurtler, according to GBP Radio.
Under the current public health emergency declared in Georgia, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp can override state laws. Gurtler wants Kemp to suspend enforcement of certain gun restrictions in the state.
That’s actually a very good idea.
You see, there are a ton of new gun owners in the state. Practically none of them bought firearms because they were going to go hunting. They bought them for self-defense.
Many of those firearms are handguns, purchased with the idea of carrying them so they’d be handy should something go wrong. The problem is that Georgia requires a permit to carry a firearm at all, either concealed or openly. There’s no avenue for the lawful carry of a gun without a Georgia Weapons License.
Guess what many people can’t really get right now?
Like many other places, the place you go to get a permit is effectively shut down due to concerns over COVID-19. In Georgia, that’s the probate courts, but the sheriff’s departments are also involved.
Even if they were open, though, it takes time for a permit application to wind its way through the process. Weeks, actually.
By suspending those laws, people will be free to carry their firearms lawfully without needing to wait for a permit that will likely take even longer than they currently do.
According to Gurtler, though, Governor Kemp has pledged to sign such an order, which is a big win for the state. While our homegrown anti-gunners will freak over this and claim this will somehow empower criminals or some other nonsense, the truth is the criminals are already carrying guns without permits. Moreover, they’re generally not allowed to even own weapons since so many of them are already convicted felons. The police know who they are and if they’re found with guns, they’ll still be arrested, same as always.
But the law-abiding citizen will be free to carry a firearm as they see fit without having to ask the government for permission.
No, it’s not constitutional carry. Not really. Constitutional carry would exist after the crisis has passed. Yet despite my hopes, we’re not going to get that right now. This, though, we can.
As a result, my hope is that Governor Kemp will sign the order as soon as possible.