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 The signing of SB308 repealed Georgia's 140 year old Public Gathering statute, expanded the number of places a license holder could carry and expanded the number of people qualified to get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:

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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HB 875 Safe Carry Protection Act Filed

January 28th, 2014

This is a great bill that will go a long way towards the restoration of the Second Amendment.  We request you support this bill.

HB 875 Safe Carry Protection Act can be found here.

The next step is for the House to read it on the floor of the House and assign it to a committee for a hearing.  As soon as the bill is assigned to a committee, we will notify you to start making contact with your elected officials and the members of the committee and let them know you support this bill.  We will also notify you of the committee hearing date as soon as we are notified of the hearing.  Please understand that these meetings are often called on a moments notice and we have no control over that.  We will notify you as soon as possible but we cannot guarantee that it will be in time for you to make arrangements to attend.

HB 875 is sponsored by State Representative, Rick Jasperse (R-11) and co-sponsored by State Representative and House Rules Committee Chairman, John Meadows (R-5).  The bill has a full page of sponsors in the House of Representatives.

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.

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Here is what is in House Bill 875:

Churches / Bars

  • Removes churches and bars from the off limits list and treats them like every other piece of private property in GA in that the property owner has the right to eject a person from their property.

Government Buildings

  • Allows firearms in government buildings that are not restricted or screened by security personnel during the hours the building is open for business.

Public Housing

  • Require public housing to allow tenants to have firearms in their dwellings unless required by federal law or regulation.

Changes to school safety zones:

  • Licensed holder who is carrying on elementary school shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
  • Any licensed holder who violates post secondary school safety zone shall not be arrested but shall be fined not more than $100.00. 
  • For a person who is not a license holder the penalty is not more than $10,000.00 and imprisonment for not less than 2 nor more than 10 years or both.
  • A duly authorized official of a school can authorize a person to carry a weapon in a school safety zone, at school function or on a bus or other transportation furnished by the school
  • Allows local school system to allow teachers and administrators to carry in school safety zones and determine what training the school will require.  Those selected to carry will remain unknown to the public.

Licensing:

  • Removes fingerprint requirement for license renewals
  • Provides for issuance of GWL to a person who is at least 18 years of age who has completed basic training in the armed forces and is either actively serving in the military or has been honorably discharged from the service.
  • Allows a person who has had his/her GWL revoked to be issued a GWL if the revocation was more than 3 years of the date of his or her application.
  • Restricts any person who has been adjudicated mentally incompetent to stand trial or who has been adjudicated not guilty by reason of insanity at the time of the crime
  • Allows GWL applicant the right to sue if they feel they are wrongfully denied a GWL and to recover their costs and reasonable attorney fees if they are the prevailing party.
  • Prohibits any person or entity from creating or maintaining a multijurisdictional data base of information regarding persons issued GWLs.

Airport Carry:

  • Codifies airport carry in non sterile areas.  If a person knowingly enters airport screening with a weapon will be guilty of a misdemeanor unless it is with intent to commit a separate felony offense.

GWL When Carrying

  • Requires carrying of GWL when carrying a weapon or for exempt persons, proof they are exempt.
  • A person carrying a weapon shall not be subject to detention for the sole purpose of investigating whether such person has a weapons carry license.
  • If a person is caught carrying a weapon without a GWL the fine in court will be $10 if GWL is produced and was valid at the time of the arrest.
  • Defense of self or others, shall be an absolute defense to any violation of off limits places.

State Preemption:

  • Preemption law more clearly defined in our favor.  Includes firearms and other weapons.  Clarifies that no agency, board, department, commission, or authority of this state other than the General Assembly, by rule or regulation shall regulate firearms or other weapons in any manner.  Municipalities may still regulate whether or not you may discharge a weapon within their boundaries.
  • Gives the right of any person who has been aggrieved as a result of a violation of 16-11-173 may bring action to enforce this statute shall be entitled to equitable relief.

Mental Health:

  • Requires GA Courts to notify FBI if a person has had involuntary commitment to mental institution, been adjudicated mentally incompetent to stand trial or has been found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Declared Emergency:

  • No one, while acting during or pursuant to a declared state of emergency, shall:
    • Temporarily or permanently seize, any firearm or ammunition which was not prohibited by law at the time immediately prior to the declaration of a state of emergency
    • Prohibit possession of any firearm or ammunition or any component thereof or
    • Prohibit any license holder from carrying any weapon if such carrying was not otherwise prohibited by law at the time immediately prior to the declaration of a state of emergency;
    • Require the registration of any firearm.
  • Strikes firearms and ammunition and components from the Governor’s Emergency Powers Act.

General:

  • Codify into law some common law prohibitions that prohibit a person from being arrested if they go to a prohibited location to save someone’s life.
  • Clarifies that private property owners my eject a person from their property but may not criminalize carrying.

Again, we will notify you of any movement of the bill and keep you notified in a timely manner.

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General Assembly Update 01/24/14 – Campus Carry Dropped from New 2nd Amendment Bill

January 24th, 2014

As you have probably heard on the news yesterday, the new bill will not include campus carry which is a disappointment to GCO.  However, when you see the bill and understand the good that is in the bill, it will be hard to stay disappointed.  Rumor is that the new bill will be introduced in the House on Monday.  The bill contains all the good things from SB101 and HB512 with the exception of campus carry as well as some other issues GCO has been fighting for since our inception.

As soon as the bill is released, we will put out an update to let you know what is in the bill.  As we have said all along, please wait until the language is complete and you are informed of the language before calling about specifics on the new bill.  It is fine to keep in contact with your elected officials and ask that they support gun rights but it is totally unnecessary for you to bombard them will calls that are without merit.

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.  In some of the items below, you will find information to help you fight all our opponents.  That includes those claiming to be 2A supporters to those who we know to be gun prohibitionists.

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General Assembly Update 01/17/14

January 17th, 2014

The General Assembly has reconvened and is beginning to hear bills.  One gun control (SB280 - which would repeal Georgia’s Stand Your Ground Law) bill has been introduced and it is expected that a new gun bill will be introduced soon.

The new bill is not finalized yet there are those spreading rumors as to the dire consequences of passing the new legislation.  There is no bill.  There is no finalized language and your rights are not on the table for anyone to negotiate away.  Everyone needs to take a deep breath and wait until the bill is dropped and see what is in it before people start opposing it or any language in the bill.  As soon as the information is available, we will publish a link to the bill so that you may view it and understand what is in the bill.

Obviously, SB101 and HB512 are, at least for the time being off the table.  We don’t expect them to move anywhere due to the new bill that is being offered.  The new bill will start the process over with committee hearings.  We have been told that it will move quickly with little to no delay.

Please wait until the language is complete and you are informed of the language before calling about specifics on a gun bill.  It is fine to keep in contact with your elected officials and ask that the support gun rights but it is totally unnecessary for you to bombard them will calls that are without merit.

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, etc. get you nowhere very quickly and hurt, rather than help our cause.  In some of the items below, you will find information to help you fight all our opponents.  That includes those claiming to be 2A supporters to those whom we know to be gun prohibitionists.

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