Saturday Feb 20th, Georgia Representative Rick Jasperse, John Meadows, Alan Powell, Mandi Ballinger, and others have sponsored HB 1060, a gun-rights bill that helps restore our freedoms by doing the following:
1. It gives a grace period for those who are moving to Georgia to lawfully carry their pistol for a maximum of 90 days after establishing legal residency, so long as they possess a carry license issued by a state that is recognized by Georgia. This will give citizens ample time to apply for and receive a GWL (Georgia Weapons Carry License).
Under current law, once you establish residency, your lose your handgun carry rights until you apply for and receive a GWL. In Georgia, long gun carry does not require a license.
Property Rights Vindicated
2. It strengthens property rights of churches and no longer forces them to opt into HB 60, passed in 2014, if church authorities wish to allow certain church members to carry a weapon but not others.
Under current law, a church that does not want to "opt in" might still want to legally allow certain citizens to carry firearms in their buildings, but cannot not legally do so now. A full "opt in" would be required. This new bill fixes that. A win-win! This new bill is a church empowerment bill!
3. It removes the "gotcha" of an automatic weapons penalty, which could mean the loss of a person's GWL for three years upon discovery and conviction of being armed in a place of worship which had not "opted in" to HB 60.
However, if an armed person refuses to leave church property when asked, he would be charged with both trespass and also a weapons violation. Churches should be very happy with this provision of current law that is kept in place by HB 1060.
State Preemption Strengthened
4. It will allow licensed citizens to carry on public property even if there is an event hosted by a private entity, if the public is invited to attend.
With HB 60, the General Assembly addressed this by changing the word "property" to "private property" four times in the weapons code to try and exclude private entities in control of public property from having the authority to ban weapons.
If local governments do not have the authority to regulate the carrying of weapons on public property per state preemption law, there is certainly no authority flowing from local government authorities to any private entity that leases such public property to do so.
However, back in 1963, a Georgia Supreme Court case ruled that public property which was leased was to be considered private property for the purpose of taxation, so apparently HB 60 did not go far enough to correct the issue. It did not give a definition of "private property" - this new bill does.
5. Auction bidders will have the opportunity to buy unclaimed firearms once a year.
6. Firearms instructors will have legal liability protection put in place.
This bill also addresses other issues as well, but I invite you to give it careful read in its entirety to see all it contains, and to make up your own mind as to whether or not it is a good bill.
If you are a Georgian and like this bill, contact your state Representative and Senator and ask them to support it!
Thanks to Georgia Carry for working with our lawmakers to help craft an excellent bill!