Rep. Tim Bearden, D. 68, wrote a letter today to you, the GCO member, thanking you for your support of HB 89 during the legislative session. GCO believes its members owe a great deal of gratitude to Rep. Bearden in return.
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At approximately 3 p.m. on May 14, 2008, Gov. Sonny Perdue signed HB 89 into law. The bill, sponsored and advocated by GCO, is the most important pro-gun legislation in the history of Georgia. When the bill takes effect on July 1, 2008, it no longer will be a separate crime, for people with firearms licenses to carry a firearm into a restaurant that serves alcohol, on public transportation, or in state parks. The bill also relaxes car carry restrictions for people eligible for firearms licenses and tightens the time frames for issuance of firearms licenses by probate judges.
The author of the bill, Rep. Tim Bearden worked tirelessly to see it passed, and GCO thanks him for his unwavering support. Sen. John Douglas championed the bill in the senate. Both legislators recently received GCO’s Legislator of the Year and Senator of the Year awards, respectively. GCO congratulates the leadership and members of both the senate and the house for shepherding this important legislation, and the governor for signing it into law.
GCO also wishes to thank its many members who attended public hearings (that Maureen Downey of the AJC claims never occurred) and media events, and who contacted their legislators and the governor in support of the bill. Without the support of GCO members, this “dangerous bill” that makes Georgia “become less safe” (according to Ms. Downey) never would have been possible.
Senator John Douglas and GCO’s President Ed Stone have both written letters urging him to sign HB 89. Those letters can be viewed here:
Also a new reason to urge the Governor to sign HB 89 is that the Department of the Interior has now published a proposed rule change for the National Park Service to allow concealed carry in National Parks and Wildlife Refuges as long as the state allows carry in their own parks and refuges. Since HB 89 would allow GFL holders to carry in State Park, then the only thing needed is for Gov. Perdue to sign HB 89 for GFL holders to be able to carry in National Parks when the proposed rule change goes into effect.
The proposed rule change is as follows for National Parks:
“A person may possess, carry, and transport concealed, loaded, and operable
firearms within a national park area in the same manner, and to the same
extent, that a person may lawfully possess, carry, and transport concealed,
loaded and operable firearms in any state park, or any similar unit of state
land, in the state in which the federal park, or that portion thereof, is
located, provided that such possession, carrying and transporting otherwise
complies with applicable federal and state law.”
On April 24, 2008, Mayor Franklin of the City of Atlanta, Georgia held a press conference to oppose enactment of HB89. Mr. Will Adams, a GeorgiaCarry.Org member listened to the press conference and transcribed it. The transcript is here.
In addition to Mr. Adams fine work, Mr. Andrew Mitchell, a GeorgiaCarry.Org Member composed this excellent Counterpoints video. This Counterpoints video can be veiwed at Google Video: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2566480899153418287&hl=en
GeorgiaCarry.Org wishes to thank Mr. Adams and Mitchell for their hard work.
Here is Governor Perdue’s contact information:
> Be Polite
> Be Precise
> Don’t Be Long Winded
> If You Call, Know What You Want To Say Before Dialing (suggest writing it down even)
> Use Multiple Methods Of Contact; Do Not Use The Same Message
> Encourage Other Gun Owners To Contact The Governor, But Remind Them To Be Polite (Make Friends, Don’t Burn A Bridge)
Methods To Use
Web Form E-Mail:
Snail Mail (USPS):
The Office of the Governor
State of Georgia
203 State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
As always, please exercise extreme courtesy and self restraint in dealing with Gov. Perdue’s office.
Thanks to your efforts, HB 89 was passed in two landslide votes!
HB 89 is on its way to the Governor to sign. Beginning July 1, it will no longer be a crime for GCO Members to bear firearms in restaurants that serve alcohol, State Parks (and the buildings thereon), Wildlife Management Areas, and on mass transit. This victory would not have been possible without the diligent efforts and leadership of GCO members Sen. John Douglas and, of course, Rep. Tim Bearden.
After the bill passed, Rep. Tim Bearden stated that your contacts made a difference on Friday when the situation appeared bleak.
You may watch Sen. Chip Rogers field hostile questions during the debate and final vote at the following link.
Please urge your legislators to pass both HB 257 and HB 89!
The Senate passed a version of HB 257 yesterday that includes authority to carry a firearm in restaurants and on mass transit, two decades old Georgia restrictions that interfere with a GCO member’s daily life.
We thought you would be interested in reading two news items just released.
(1) Another gunfight may be brewing in the Senate
Alice Johnson, the lobbyist representing Georgians for Gun Safety, smells a gunfight in the air.
She notes this morning that the Senate Rules Committee has put H.B. 257 on today’s calendar.
The bill adds constables to the list of law enforcement and judicial personnel permitted to pack heat in public buildings.
“The bill opens up the ‘public gathering’ section of the Georgia firearms code, and is a likely vehicle for language previously proposed by Rep. Tim Bearden in H.B. 89 and H.B. 915,” Johnson reports.
Sen. Mitch Seabaugh (R-Sharpsburg) asked for the bill last night, which makes it likely he would act as floor director for any amendments.
Parks have been the main target for those looking to lengthen the list of places where permitted owners can carry concealed.
The question is whether the National Rifle Association has any voice left in the Senate willing to re-start the fight over the right of employees to keep weapons in their cars parked on company lots.
GCO says anything that has Alice upset must be good for GCO.
(2) Giving Gunowners the Right to Carry Concealed on MARTA
Today’s coming gunfight in the Senate could get interesting.
We’re hearing the deal that’s been cut on amendments to H.B. 257 would allow those with the proper permits to carry concealed in restaurants — even those that serve alcohol — and on MARTA.
One scenario theorizes that, once the bill is sent back to the House for its decision on whether to agree or disagree, the NRA-backed portion to allow employees to keep guns in cars parked on company lots will again be added.
But we’re hearing that one Senate Democrat, J.B. Powell of Blythe, will offer an amendment to that effect on the Senate floor, to ensure that the fireworks start that much earlier.
Remember the MARTA bus stop robbery and shooting Monday morning? Why have a law that does not effect crime but disarms GCO members? GCO expects this to be good news for 2008!
HB 89 has been assigned to a joint conference committee to hammer out any differences between the Senate and the House. GCO will be watching as this issue progresses. GCO’s highest priority is repealing Georgia’s ambiguous and overly restrictive public gathering law. These committee meetings will be public, so you can attend, although you will not be permitted to speak at the meeting.