Kemp signs Georgia constitutional carry into law

AP Photo/John Bazemore

For years, constitutional carry has been the goal for Second Amendment advocates and pro-gun politicians alike. Now, in 2022, lawmakers passed the measure.

All that lacked was Governor Brian Kemp’s signature.

Earlier today, Kemp did just that.

 Gov. Brian Kemp on Tuesday afternoon signed a law that allows Georgians to carry handguns without a license.

Senate Bill 319, commonly called the Georgia Constitutional Carry Act, became law in a signing ceremony held at Gable’s Sporting Goods in Douglasville. Kemp said he chose that location because it was where he bought one of his daughter’s first handguns.

Supporters, including those who attended the signing, believe the law reinforces the constitutional right to keep and bear arms and to protect family and property without the red tape and costs associated with obtaining a gun permit.

“We want all Georgians to be able to rightly defend themselves,” Kemp said during a news conference right before the signing. “SB319 makes sure law-abiding Georgians, including our daughters and your family, too, can protect themselves without having to get permission from your state government. The Constitution of the United States gives us that right — not the government.”

So, what does this mean? Well, for one thing, permits are no longer required. Since Georgia has been a permissive open carry state, it means anyone can carry, openly or concealed, and the law went into effect as soon as Kemp signed the bill into law.

Further, as violent crime has skyrocketed throughout the nation–Georgia hasn’t escaped it in the least–now folks here can take steps as they need to protect themselves.

Under the old permitting system, people would have to go to the county probate court, fill out the application, get fingerprinted by the sheriff, then wait six weeks or longer before they could bear arms as the Constitution promises.

Yeah, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, either.

Now, granted, the permitting system still exists. People will still make use of it for reciprocity purposes, which is fine because no one actually needs one in the state anymore.

Georgia Democrats claim that the law will make it easier for criminals to carry guns. They argue that without a permit requirement, the police won’t be able to stop the bad guys.

Of course, looking at the homicide rate in Atlanta last year, it seems pretty clear that police weren’t able to stop much of anything even with a permitting requirement.

That’s because criminals have never resisted carrying a firearm because they didn’t have a permit, either in Georgia or anywhere else. Constitutional carry won’t change their behavior in the least.

And, frankly, criminals know good and well how to hide their firearms so the police won’t see them.

Plus, state law makes it so police can’t ask to see a permit anyway, so really, how much has changed? In that regard, not a whole lot.

So, we get constitutional carry here in Georgia. I’m inclined to put my gun on and leave my wallet behind, just to make a point. I won’t because I don’t want to be a test case, but I love that I can now do so without an issue.

Thank you, Gov. Kemp, for keeping your promise on constitutional carry.