New Georgia Law Will Allow Guns in Schools, Churches, and Courtrooms

Wednesday afternoon, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed a new gun law that, among other things, will allow Georgians to legally carry firearms into churches, schools, airport common areas, bars, courtrooms, and government buildings.

The Safe Carry Protection Act will prevent the state from keeping a database of licensed gun owners and eliminate the fingerprint requirement for renewing weapons carry licenses.

According to a state analysis obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the new law could also allow felons to use the state's "Stand Your Ground" defense to shoot someone to death.

Unsurprisingly, Gov. Deal downplayed that analysis. "There are always opportunities for people to use any piece of legislation as a political tool if they don't like it," he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "But there was bipartisan support for the bill. The main story that should come out of it is the final product is significantly different from earlier versions. And some of the more...interesting parts were removed."

Under the law, which goes into effect July 1, gun owners in Georgia will be allowed to bring their firearms into a bar unless the owner asks them to leave; previously, the owners had to give permission before the gun owner entered the bar. Licensed gun holders will be able to carry their firearms into churches, if the church leaders agree; before the law, bringing firearms in houses of worship was illegal. And gun owners will be able to carry their weapons into government buildings and courtrooms, including those where there is no security.

Local school boards will be allowed to vote to let school faculty bring guns into the school. From NBC News:

The staff members will apply to the school board, and they will go through training that includes "judgment pistol shooting," "marksmanship," and a review of Georgia's laws about shooting people to defend yourself and others. If a teacher doesn't want to carry the gun at all times, he or she will have to store it in a safe or lock box. Previously, a licensed owner could bring a gun to school if an "authorized official of the school" gave permission.

And if killing animals with a gun in the state of Georgia was just too loud for you, good news: Under the new law, you'll be able to use silencers while hunting.

[Image via AP]