GeorgiaCarry.Org is Georgia's No-compromise
Voice For Gun Owners.

GCO Believes...

The Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights doesn't just apply in certain locations or to special people favored by the government. The right of the people to keep and bear arms applies everywhere and to all of us without qualification. "Shall not be infringed" means SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.

Prior to July 1, 2008, the State of Georgia had many restrictions on where and how a law abiding citizen could carry a firearm. Coupled with a law so vaguely and poorly written that determining where one could legally carry was extremely difficult, many citizens never bothered to obtain a Georgia Firearm License to exercise their rights.

GeorgiaCarry.Org was incorporated on February 9, 2007 and from the beginning, we have fought against the powerful interests who seek to burden the exercise of our second amendment rights. Our first action was to sue Georgia's Probate Judges to force them to follow the law. We sued them to force them to issue license within a certain time frame as opposed to issuing them when they so desired. We also took them to court to remove their requirement of applicants to supply their Social Security numbers and employment information in order to obtain a license. Next, we took on Cities and Counties to force them to repeal their local gun bans, in violation of Georgia's Preemption Law (OCGA 16-11-173).

Working with Georgia State Senator John Douglas (R17) and State Rep. Tim Bearden (R68) in 2008, we began the process of expanding the number of places Firearms Licensees can carry, including restaurants that serve alcohol, public transit and parks. GCO filed an Amicus Brief in the Heller v. DC court case documenting the racist origins and intent of gun control.

In 2009, working with Senator Mitch Seabaugh, we took yet another step in restoring our 2A rights. In 2010, SB308, Senator Seabaugh's "Common Sense" gun bill was passed in the General Assembly and signed into law on June 6, 2010 by Governor Sonny Perdue. The signing of SB308 repealed Georgia's 140 year old Public Gathering statute, expanded the number of places a license holder could carry and expanded the number of people qualified to get a license by removing the life time prohibitions for misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions.

Much more needs to be done and GeorgiaCarry.Org will not stop until our nation's forefather's promise of "shall not be infringed" is achieved. If you share our belief that the Second Amendment doesn't have an asterisk, then join us in the fight for our Liberty.

Latest Information:

Senators Jesse Stone and Hunter Hill Severely Weaken HB875

March 13th, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, the Senate Judiciary Non-Civil Committee met without inviting the sponsor of HB875 and introduced a substitute bill to severely weaken the bill.  The substitute which changes churches to opt in with the permission of the owner of the church, gives preemption to local governments on carry into government buildings and adds family violence battery (which means if you touch your wife and she does not want to be touched, you have committed family violence battery) was introduced by Senator Hunter Hill. These changes are not acceptable to GeorgiaCarry.Org nor are they acceptable to the NRA.

This move appears to be another step in the assurance of the appointment of a judgeship to Senator Stone.

The vote was a 3-3 tie until Senator Stone voted to break the tie.

The only Senator who spoke up for the Second Amendment and voted against the substitute was Senator Josh McKoon who stated his displeasure with the weakening of the bill. Every Member of GeorgiaCarry.Org should contact Senator Josh McKoon and email thank him for standing up for them and the Second Amendment.

This is exactly why GCO worked with the House to get HB60 passed to the Senate as we were certain Jesse Stone and his committee would introduce this type substitute to a very good gun bill that would render it almost useless in advancing the Second Amendment in GA.  The Senate now has a good gun bill (HB60) and a very weakened gun bill (HB875) that insures they will have to decide whether they are Second Amendment Proponents or Second Amendment Opponents.  Their vote in the next couple of days will be evidence of where they stand.

What is the current status of each of the bills?

HB875 will now go to Senate Rules Committee with the possibility of going to the floor for a vote.  HB60 is still on the floor and available for a Senate vote whenever the Lt. Governor sees fit to bring it to the floor.

What do we do now?

Continue to Contact Officials

Now, we need you to continue to contact the Governor Nathan Deal, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, President Pro Tempore David Shafer and your Senator in that order.  We need you to call, write, FAX and email the above people if at all possible.  We would like to see everyone’s email box and voice mail full if they are not already full. We need to send the following message to everyone in those positions:

Simply tell them, “I am a “member of GeorgiaCarry.Org and I want this bill passed as it passed the House.  There is no reason for the State of Georgia to continue to deny my God given constitutionally enumerated rights to self-protection.  It is time the Senate passes a good gun bill that allows law-abiding citizens such as myself to protect myself wherever I might be.  Please pass HB60 as it was amended and passed by the House.”

It is imperative that you let these people know that you want to see HB60 passed as it was amended and passed the House.  Be short and to the point in all communications with your senator.  As stated in the past and we continue to state, please show your elected officials respect when contacting them in any manner. Threats of never voting for them get you nowhere very quickly and hurt, rather than help our cause.

Contact Information for Governor Nathan Deal

Address:

The Office of the Governor
State of Georgia
203 State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334

Address for mail:

206 Washington Street
Suite 203, State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334

Phone: 404-656-1776

Fax: 404-657-7332

In order to email the Governor, you must go here and fill out the form:

====================

Contact Information for the Lt. Governor, Casey Cagle

Office of the Lieutenant Governor

240 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone: (404) 656-5030
Fax: (404) 656-6739

In order to email the Lt. Governor, you must go here and fill out the form:

====================

Contact Information for President Pro Tempore, David Shafer

Capitol Office

321 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone: (404) 656-0048
Fax: (404) 463-5220

District Information

P.O. Box 880

Duluth, GA 30096

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HB60 Becomes the New Safe Carry Protection

March 11th, 2014

HB60, having passed both chambers was returned to the House this morning for the House to agree to a change that was made in the Senate Judiciary Non-Civil Committee and was subsequently passed as a substitute bill in the Senate.  In order for the bill to go any further in the process, it was necessary for the House to agree or disagree and go to a conference committee.  They also had the option of amending HB60 one time and sending it back to the Senate, which is the option they took.

The House agreed to the Senate changes in HB60 and offered an amendment to HB60 to include the addition of most of the language in HB875.  The only noteworthy language change is the removal of the $100 fine for carrying on campus.  Carrying on campus will revert to present law.  The rest of the bill is basically intact as HB875 passed the House originally with some clerical changes that needed to be made.  This amendment basically makes HB875 no longer in play and puts HB60 as the Safe Carry Protection Act.

The House voted to send the amended bill back to the Senate by a 119-51 vote.  After the bill passed, there was a motion to transmit the bill to the Senate immediately and that passed as well.  The bill is now on the Senate Floor.  The next action must come from the Senate.  The Senate now has the same options the House had earlier today.

What do we need you to do now?

Continue to Contact Officials

Now, we need you to continue to contact the Governor Nathan Deal, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, President Pro Tempore David Shafer and your Senator in that order.  We need you to call, write, FAX and email the above people if at all possible.  We would like to see everyone’s email box and voice mail full if they are not already full. We need to send the following message to everyone in those positions:

Simply tell them you are a “member of GeorgiaCarry.Org and you want this bill passed as it passed the House.  There is no reason for the State of Georgia to continue to deny your God given constitutionally enumerated rights to self-protection.  It is time the Senate passes a good gun bill that allows law-abiding citizens to protect themselves wherever they might be.  Please pass HB60 as it was amended and passed by the House.”

It is imperative that we let these people know that we want to see HB60 passed as it was amended and passed the House.  Be short and to the point in all communications with your senator.  As we have stated in the past and continue to state, please show your elected officials respect when contacting them in any manner. Threats of never voting for them get you nowhere very quickly and hurt, rather than help our cause.

Contact Information for Governor Nathan Deal

Address:

The Office of the Governor
State of Georgia
203 State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334

Address for mail:

206 Washington Street
Suite 203, State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334

Phone: 404-656-1776

Fax: 404-657-7332

In order to email the Governor, you must go here and fill out the form:

====================

Contact Information for the Lt. Governor, Casey Cagle

Office of the Lieutenant Governor

240 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone: (404) 656-5030
Fax: (404) 656-6739

In order to email the Lt. Governor, you must go here and fill out the form:

====================

Contact Information for President Pro Tempore, David Shafer

Capitol Office

321 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone: (404) 656-0048
Fax: (404) 463-5220

District Information

P.O. Box 880
Duluth, GA 30096
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PolitiFact Finds Americans for Responsible Solutions Statement Mostly False

March 5th, 2014

Americans for Responsible Solutions on Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 in press release said, “Georgia Lawmakers are now considering passing the most extreme gun bill in America.”  American for Responsible Solutions is the gun prohibitionist organization started by Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords with the help of at least one 6 figure donation from the personal fortune of Ex New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg who is funding, not only this organization, but also the “Moms Demand Action”, “Georgia Gun Sense”, “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” to name a few.

This is just one example of the type of misinformation the gun prohibitionist are telling to keep you from exercising your God Given and Constitutionally enumerated Second Amendment rights.  GeorgiaCarry.Org has spent an enormous amount of time combating this and a copious amount of misinformation being spread in the media and to the General Assembly members.

The AJC article can be found here.

There was also a WSB TV story about the same finding that can be found here.

The only complaint GeorgiaCarry.Org has with the finding is it should be classified as “Pants on Fire”!

 

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GCO Responds to Association of County Commissioners of Georgia’s Concerns

February 23rd, 2014

An article from Jim Galloway in the AJC pointed out several points of interest from the Associated County Commissioners of Georgia in their opposition to HB  875.  The article can be found here and GeorgiaCarry.Org’s response to each is posted below for your benefit to help you inform the public to the truth about their “concerns”.  GeorgiaCarry.Org’s responses are in red.

ACCG Concerns with HB 875

Allowing Weapons in Government Buildings:

The legislation allows for weapons to be carried by a licensed holder in any government building where there are no restrictions or screening by security at the entrance. Since many county government buildings are not restricted and do not have security, this means that weapons would be allowed to be carried into most county buildings during regular business hours including libraries, offices of the tax assessor,  meeting rooms for zoning and tax hearings, and other facilities unless security is provided.

Many of the locations listed already are not off-limits for carrying weapons by weapons carry license holders.  For example, libraries are not included in the current definition of “government buildings,” and meeting rooms for zoning and tax hearings may not be as well.  The overriding policy in the bill is that if the government chooses not to provide full-time security for the building, that is the local government’s choice.  But then weapons carry license holders will be permitted to provide their own security for themselves and their families.  What in any government building that is currently unsecured, not restricted and do not have security keeps weapons out of these building as things currently stand?  One could deduce that the buildings are currently OK with the county leaders but would require them to be secured if GWL holders are allowed to enter unencumbered.  If things remain as is, only law abiding citizens would be denied access to these unsecured buildings as they are the only portion of the citizenry that obeys the law when it comes to carrying firearms.

Providing security in all county government buildings is a costly expense that would have to be shouldered by the taxpayers of the county for the benefit of a few.

This is not correct.  Nothing in the bill mandates providing security.  If the county chooses not to secure its buildings, that is a local government choice.  But if the government does not provide security, the citizens should be free to provide their own.  It also is not clear who the “few” are that will be benefited by security.  Isn’t every employee and visitor benefited by security?  Again, if security is not necessary at this point in time, why would it have to change other than to deny law-abiding citizens their second amendment rights of self defense?

Absent providing security, allowing weapons in government buildings exposes the county to greater liability and may increase insurance premiums for those counties with the additional cost being shouldered again by the taxpayer.

Is there any data to back this up?  Given that the vast majority of privately-owned but publicly-accessible buildings do not prohibit weapons (banks, grocery stores, retail stores generally), the logical conclusion is that their decision not to prohibit weapons has no effect on their insurance premiums.  We can find no legal support for the notion that government has greater liability if it does not prohibit weapons.  A better argument can be made that government has greater liability when it prohibits weapons yet fails to provide full time security.  A very weak argument as many corporations allow carry on their premises and they are not burdened with costly liability insurance premiums when they follow the state law.  Does anyone not know what it could cost the state as well as the local government should some citizen who was denied their right to self protection and killed in an unsecure building owned by the local government?

ACCG Recommendation: The decision to allow weapons in county buildings, and which ones, should be made by county commissioners — those elected by and accountable to their respective communities.

This would result in a patchwork of government buildings that do and do not allow weapons, leaving citizens with little ability to know where they can and cannot carry.  It is much better to have a state-wide policy that applies to everyone.

Inability to Detain Persons Carrying a Weapon:

The legislation prohibits the person carrying a weapon from being subject to detention to ensure they are licensed to carry the weapon.

The supreme court has determined that the carrying of a weapon does not constitute probable cause and does not mean that a crime has been committed or is about to be committed.  Why would a local government want to deny that right to a citizen?  It is unconstitutional to stop someone who is seen driving just to see if the person has a license to drive (Delaware v. Prouse, Supreme Court of the United States).  Given that death rates from cars is about 5 times higher than from guns, it is logical to conclude that it would not be constitutional to stop a person seen carrying a firearm just to see if he has a license.  Plus, no license is needed to carry a rifle or shotgun in Georgia, so there would be nothing to check for.

Not every person who carries a weapon is licensed to do so. This bill effectively prohibits law enforcement or security officers from checking whether a person carrying a weapon is properly licensed. Preventing a law enforcement officer from confirming that the person is properly licensed could result in the commission of crime that might otherwise have been prevented.

Criminals are not known to be open carriers of weapons.  They conceal them until they begin their crime.  There is no reason to believe this line of thought is accurate.

ACCG Recommendation:  This provision should be removed from the bill.

Private Right of Action/Attorneys Fees:

The legislation allows any individual or organization, whether or not aggrieved, to sue a county alleging that the county is regulating, or attempting to regulate, firearms or weapons dealers, gun shows, or possession, licensing or registration of weapons via zoning or other local ordinances.

The bill not only allows for a suit to be brought against a county or its policymaking body, but also an individual elected official or employee of the county.

Normally, parties to a legal dispute pay their own litigation expenses and attorney fees.  This bill, by contrast, places the burden of bringing, trying and defending a lawsuit on county taxpayers–whether or not the county has actually violated the law. Since a plaintiff under this law has “no skin in the game”, it opens the door to unnecessary (or perhaps harassing) litigation.

The description of the language is inaccurate.  By its own terms, the bill says “the aggrieved person shall be entitled to….”  A person who is not aggrieved is not entitled to any reimbursement other than typical costs of litigation (that always are recoverable by a victorious party).

ACCG Recommendation:  This provision should be narrowed so that only those who are aggrieved have the right to bring suit.  Furthermore, counties should be able to recover their litigation expenses and attorneys fees as well.

Both state and federal law are rife with fee-shifting provisions, most commonly in the area of suits between citizens and the government.  Congress and legislatures around the county recognize the fact that citizens and government have unequal power when it comes to litigation.  Citizens have to pay attorneys or find attorneys to take cases on contingency.  In cases where the harm does not cause significant damage, such as when governments refuse to follow the law, there is nothing to take on a contingency.  The citizen has to hire an attorney out of pocket or go without the right to which he is entitled.  Governments, on the other hand, generally have attorneys on staff or insurance to pay for defense.  As compared to the average citizen, the government has virtually unlimited legal resources.  Congress and legislatures around the country have sought to balance this inequity by shifting fees to the government when a plaintiff is victorious.  This provides an incentive for attorneys to take cases and for citizens to vindicate their rights.  If the government also had a fee-shifting possibility, then the incentive would be watered down or eliminated altogether.  The prospect of having to pay the government’s defense costs would eliminate virtually all litigation.

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HB 875 Passed Out of House by 119-56 Vote!

February 19th, 2014

HB 875 was voted on the floor of the House today, 02/18/14 and was passed by a vote of 119-56.  This is 2 more Representatives than voted for HB 512 last year.   HB 875 will now be sent to the Senate for action.

First, HB 875 will be read in the Senate and then assigned to a committee.   Although we are not sure which committee it will be assigned to, we believe it will be the Senate Judiciary-Non Civil Committee.  That is the committee HB 512 was assigned to last year.  We will keep you posted on the progress of the bill and let you know when to contact the appropriate committee members and your Senators as well.  If you have not been contacting your Senator, please contact them and let them know you support HB 875.

Thanks to all of you who contacted your representatives and made visits to the Capitol to help get the bill this far in the process.

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GCO Sues Richmond County Probate Judge

February 11th, 2014

Harry B. James III, the probate judge of Richmond County, refuses to issue temporary GWLs upon request. GCO recently wrote Judge James, asking him to begin issuing temporaries. Judge James did not deem GCO worthy of a response, so GCO had no alternative but to sue Judge James for a writ of mandamus, ordering him to issue temporaries to eligible applicants. The letter and complaint may be found here.

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HB 875 Passes House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee

February 8th, 2014

The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee Thursday evening, February 6, voted on HB 875 resulting in a 8-4 Do Pass vote.

HB 875 will now go to the House Rules Committee where, when passed, will be sent to the House Floor for a full House vote. We expect the bill to pass the House Floor Vote and be sent to the Senate to be read and assigned to a Committee. This should be done within the next week or so. When the Senate assigns HB875 to a committee, we will notify you who to contact to help get HB875 passed.

Thanks to all who joined us in the committee hearings and a special thanks to those who testified for HB875.  We are looking forward to the challenge of getting HB875 passed in the Senate.

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Liberty County Probate Judge Agrees to Issue Temporary GWLs!

February 8th, 2014

February 1, 2014, GCO Founding Board Member and Attorney Ed Stone informing Liberty County Probate Judge Nancy Aspinwall of the Georgia state statues concerning the issuance of  temporary renewal GWLs to those applicants who qualify and request one.  He also requested she comply with those statutes.  She had refused to issue a temporary license to a GCO Member in January.

February 7, 2014,  Judge Aspinwall informed Ed Stone that she would comply with state statues and GCO’s request.

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Georgia Gun Owners Goes “Chicken Little” On Mental Health Reporting

February 4th, 2014

Georgia Gun Owners has been papering the ether with hyperbole about a new “mental health mandate” contained within HB 875, a gun rights bill sponsored by Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper). The so-called “new” mandate requires courts to notify the GCIC and hence the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) within 10 days of an involuntary commitment. Georgia Gun Owners does not seem to object to the 10-day time requirement (nor to any other provision in the bill besides the “new mental health mandate.”)

What Georgia Gun Owners apparently fails to realize is that current law already requires courts to report involuntary commitments to GCIC. The only thing “new” in the bill is the 10-day time requirement. The “potential” disqualifications you are worried about are not happening today, apparently, so what makes you think they will happen tomorrow? For years, probate and superior courts in Georgia have been reporting the mental health commitments they order – they just have not been required to do so within 10 days. Is there really something terribly wrong with putting a time frame on an important issue like this?

Georgia Gun Owners also is concerned about whether “commitment” means inpatient or outpatient. Under federal law, there is no distinction between inpatient or outpatient commitments. A person who has had either on a involuntary basis is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition. Georgia law cannot undo that. It can only be changed at the federal level. In the meantime, we in Georgia must work within the legal framework we find ourselves. Current law prohibits issuing a GWL to anyone who cannot legally possess a firearm under federal law. Nothing in HB 875 changes that. All HB 875 does is implement a reasonable timeline for reporting.

Georgia Gun Owners argues that current federal law only applies to inpatient treatment. And what bastion of legal wisdom does Georgia Gun Owners use as is source: President Barack Obama. That’s right. Georgia Gun Owners believes that since President Obama has suggested a regulation to say that “commitment” includes both inpatient and outpatient treatment, the current law must not apply to both. Surely the President knows the law, right?

GeorgiaCarry.Org prefers to get its law from the source. In 2006, a federal court ruled that “committed to a mental institution” (which is what the law says) is different from “committed in a mental institution” (which is how the court said the law would be worded if it were to apply only to inpatient treatment. U.S.A v. B.H., 466 F.Supp.2d 1139 (N.D. Iowa 2006). The Court concluded that current law applies to both inpatient and outpatient treatment. GeorgiaCarry.Org understands that Rep. Jasperse may amend HB 875 to change “involuntary commitment” to “involuntary hospitalization.” Of course, no change that Georgia makes will have any effect on federal law, and the feds will remain free to come seize a person’s firearms who has been involuntarily committed to a mental institution on an inpatient or an outpatient basis.

Finally, current law also makes clear that “voluntary admission to a mental institution” does not constitute being “committed to a mental institution.” Thus, Georgia Gun Owners’ concern that veterans or others seeking treatment will be disarmed is unfounded.

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GCO Asks Liberty County Probate Judge to Issue Temporary GWLs

February 1st, 2014

GCO Attorney Ed Stone wrote a letter to Liberty County Probate Judge Nancy Aspinwall to comply with state statutes and issue temporary renewal GWLs to those applicants who qualify and request a temporary. The letter may be viewed here.

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