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 The signing of SB308 repealed Georgia's 140 year old Public Gathering statute, expanded the number of places a license holder could carry and expanded the number of people qualified to get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

Discussion of SB 357

March 3rd, 2020

There has been media coverage and politician statements that GCO has circulated misinformation about loss of a GWL for conviction of carrying in a place of worship (both now and if SB 357 passes).  We believe the issue is more nuanced than that.  Under both current law and SB 357, if a person with a GWL is convicted of carrying in a place of worship, there is no possible jail time but there is a fine of up to $100 and the loss of a GWL if EITHER of the following are true:

  1. The person has not been free of all restraint or supervision in connection with the conviction for at least five years.  If the person is sentenced to pay a $100 fine, and the person pays the fine on the day the fine is imposed, then this condition will never be true and will not trigger a loss of GWL.  But, if the person is unable (or unwilling) to pay the $100 fine on the day the fine is imposed, the court will almost certainly put the person on probation until the fine is paid.  That means the person would be under “supervision.”  Even if only for one day of probation, this would result in a loss of GWL for five years.  In addition, if the person is put on probation and does not pay the fine, it is conceivable his probation would be revoked and he would be jailed.  This would be “restraint,” and again would trigger a five-year loss of license.
  2. The person has not been free of “any other conviction “ for at least five years. The law does not say for what the conviction has to be.  As it’s worded, a conviction for speeding would be “any other conviction.”  That means the person would have to have a completely blemish-free record for five years preceding the date of application.  It might be that the legislature intended for “any other conviction” to be another conviction for carrying in a place of worship, but that is not what the law says.

So, while is true that a loss of GWL does not necessarily accompany a conviction for carrying in a place of worship, it is a definite possibility.

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SB 224 Passed in Senate Judiciary Committee!

March 3rd, 2020

But, the work is not over as we now need to contact more elected officials and press for passage in the Senate of SB224.  We also want to continue to push for a hearing on SB449.

Thanks to you, our members continue pressure on the Senate Judiciary Committee, last evening SB 224 by substitute, was passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and now heads to the Senate Rules Committee awaiting assignment to the Senate Floor where it will either pass the Senate on to the House or will be defeated on the Senate floor.  The explanation of the substitute bill is further down this email.

It should be noted that when Chairman Stone asked Senator Heath how this bill would harmonize with SB357, Senator Heath responded that he was a sponsor of SB224 and would like to see it passed and if it does pass, he would withdraw SB357 and support SB224.  Senator Heath also mentioned that there is a so-called Second Amendment Group that has opposed every good gun bill in the last several years and asked if there were any Georgia Gun Owners members in the audience.  Crickets!

The vote came at about 8:15 PM last evening and was a 5 to 3 vote along party lines.  And, the three Democrats that voted against passage of the bill were none too happy.  In fact, Senator Elena Parent sent out the following tweet – ” GA Senate Judiciary cmte just passed a truly horrific gun bill (SB 224) out of committee. Guns in churches & courthouses, felons & other convicts allowed to have a variety of firearms, & changed definition of aggravated assault to make brandishing a firearm A-OK. Etc.”  Anyone with any understanding of the bill will recognize the tweet for what it is – a total misdirection of what the bill actually does.

We need to all contact the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow thanking them for their support of our bill. That is, the members listed below who voted for our bill.

Senator Jesse Stone
Capitol Office
325-A Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Atlanta, GA 30334
Office: (404) 463-1314
Fax: (404) 463-1381
District Office
827 N. Liberty Street
Waynesboro, GA 30830
Office: (706) 554-5223
Fax: (478) 237-9211

Senate Judiciary Committee
Cowsert, BillVice​-Chairman
Capitol Office
121- F State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Office: (404) 463-1366
Fax: (404) 657-9887
Secretary
Capitol Office
109 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Office: (404) 656-0089
Member
Capitol Office
110-C State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Office: (404) 656-3943
Fax: (404) 463-2279
Capitol Office
421-D State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Office: (404) 656-0045
Fax: (404) 651-6768
Capitol Office
121-H State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Office: (404) 463-1383
Capitol Office
109 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Office: (404) 656-7454

We need to continue to contact Chairman Jesse Stone requesting a hearing on SB449, along with your Senator if he/she is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

=================​

We also need to turn our efforts towards getting SB224 out of the Rules Committee and on to the Senate Floor for a vote by contacting Rules Committee Chairman Jeff Mullis and any of your Senators who sit on the Rules Committee.  Those members can be found here.

Senator Jeff Mullis

​​Capitol Office

453 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Office: (404) 656-0057
Fax: (404) 651-6768
​​​District Information
212 English Avenue
Chickamauga, GA 30707
Office: (706) 375-1776

Please contact Chairman Mullis and your Senator if he/she is on the committee.

=================​

Continue Contacting ​Lt. Governor, Geoff Duncan
​We need to contact the Lt. Governor requesting a floor vote on SB224.  His contact is below:

We also need you to ​keep contacting Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan and requesting the Senate move SB449 by Hearing it in the Senate Judiciary Committee.  His contact information is below:
Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan
240 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA  30334
Phone: 404656-5030
​Email:   geoff.duncan@ltgov.ga.gov  ​

Please continue to contact the Lt. Governor, requesting him to bring SB224 to a floor vote.

=================​

Begin Contacting Senate Pro Tempore, Butch Miller requesting he bring SB224 to the Senate Floor for a vote.  His contact information is below:

Senator Butch Miller, Senate Pro Tempore

    Capitol Office

321 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Office: (404) 656-6578email: butch.miller@senate.ga.gov

District Information

2420 Browns Bridge Road
Gainesville, GA 30504

=================​

Continue to contact Speaker David Ralston and tell him you want a good gun bill introduced in the House similar to SB 224. His contact information is:

Capitol Address
332 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
404.656.5020 – Office
404.656.5644 – Fax
District Address
PO Box 188
Blue Ridge, GA 30513
706.632.2221 – Office
706.632.6193 – Fax
​And as always, be brief, to the point and courteous in both your written word as well as you​r​ phone calls
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The reason we are against SB357 – Carrying Firearms in Places of Worship

February 25th, 2020

SB357 addressed some concerns of the church concerning carrying in churches. This bill would allows churches to operate more like private property but would not strike them from the off limits places, therefore not classifying them as private property. It would continue with the provision of up to $100 fine for caught carrying in a place of worship.

The fundamental issues is that churches should not be treated differently from any other private property owners.  It is a violation of the state constitution for the state to spend money in aid of churches.  By having a special process for churches (including criminal laws that ordinary private property owners cannot use), the state is spending money via law enforcement in aid of churches.

​This bill is worse than what we presently have in place.  If a church presently allows anyone with a license to carry​ in church, they must allow everyone to carry.  This bill allows them to selectively pick and choose who can and cannot carry.  Therefore, there is a very high probability that most churches that presently allow carry will drop that provision and allow only the chosen ones to carry.

We are told that churches feel they are sitting ducks and need this provision.  We do not disagree on that point.  But, should this bill become law, and the churches who now allow you to carry decide that only a chosen few can carry, you too would become a sitting duck as well since they would be allowed to pick and choose who can and cannot carry.  We agree that private property owners have to power to do that presently but there is no penalty associated with carrying on private property.

However, churches are somehow “special private property owners” which should not be the case.  If the General Assembly and the churches want churches to have the provisions of private property owners, the churches should be stricken from the prohibited list and remove the $100 penalty for being caught carrying in a church.

Funny how the churches will cry separation of church and state but lobby heavily to keep the government’s presence on this one issue. Funny how the General Assembly will ignore private property rights and go along with the churches.

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Begin Lobbying Now!

January 23rd, 2020

This session of the General Assembly has started and hearings on legislation will begin in a couple of weeks or less.  In an effort to let our legislators know what we expect of them this year, we need to begin work now in contacting the members who can help us and get the ball rolling.  It is time to start lobbying NOW!

This is an election year and the majority party, although acutely aware that their offices will be on the line in November of this year, need to be reminded that you, I and other Second Amendment supporters put them in office and they need our support to continue to remain in office.  As always, please remember to be courteous in our contact with them in discussions whether it is face to face or by written word.

As you are aware, we introduced SB 224 last year and we want it to pass this year. SB 224:

  • Would change the definition of a Courthouse to the portion of the building occupied by the superior court and containing rooms in which superior court proceedings are held.
  • Strike churches from the off-limits location
  • Remove misdemeanor​- controlled substance convictions as a disqualifier for a GWL
  • Change the definition of a firearm to exclude antique firearms
  • Allow carry of knives in non-sterile areas of the airport with a GWL
  • Force the sale of confiscated firearms by law enforcement
  • Repeal Code Section 38-2-301
  • Protect private property owners from being sued for allowing firearms in their businesses
Begin Contacting the Lt. Governor, Chairman Jesse Stone and your Senator on the Senate Judiciary Committee:
​We need your help to ensure passage of SB 224. We need you to start contacting Jesse Stone, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and request a hearing for SB 224.  We also need you to start contacting Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan and request the same thing.  Their contact information is below:
Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan
240 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA  30334
Phone: 404656-5030
You can email the Lt. Governor but going to this page and filling in the form.  It is easier to call and will get more notice.
Senator Jesse Stone
Capitol Office
325-A Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Atlanta, GA 30334
Office: (404) 463-1314
Fax: (404) 463-1381
District Office
827 N. Liberty Street
Waynesboro, GA 30830
Office: (706) 554-5223
Fax: (478) 237-9211
Also, if your senator is a member of the Judiciary Committee listed below, please contact him as well and request their support in obtaining a hearing for SB 224!
Senate Judiciary Committee
Cowsert, BillVice Chairman
Capitol Office
121- F State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Office: (404) 463-1366
Fax: (404) 657-9887
Secretary
Capitol Office
109 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Office: (404) 656-0089
Member
Capitol Office
110-C State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Office: (404) 656-3943
Fax: (404) 463-2279
Capitol Office
421-D State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Office: (404) 656-0045
Fax: (404) 651-6768
Capitol Office
121-H State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Office: (404) 463-1383
Capitol Office
109 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Office: (404) 656-7454
We need you to start today and continue to call daily until we get a hearing scheduled.  ​
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GCO Vice President John Monroe answers questions on GA HB435

October 24th, 2019

GCO has received many inquiries from members of other organizations, wanting to know why we oppose HB 435 (the Red Flag Law Bill). They say their organizations just oppose the bill without providing any analysis they can use to discuss the bill. So, we are providing the following analysis as a public service.

HB 435 provides a mechanism for someone (the “petitioner”) to petition a superior court to seize another person’s (the “respondent’s”) firearms and ammunition. That should be the first “red flag.” The respondent’s property is being taken without just compensation, in violation of the 5th Amendment.

The petitioner can be any law enforcement officer (“LEO”) or anyone who ever lived with the respondent in the same dwelling. This means college roommates and other casual acquaintances that once shared housing can file petitions. The petition can be filed in the county where the respondent resides or in the county where the petitioner’s law enforcement agency is located. In other words, the venue does not have to be in the county of the respondent’s residence, in violation of the state constitutional provision requiring that a person be sued in his own county. The petitioner can be in Valdosta and the respondent can be in Blue Ridge, and the petitioner can file in Lowndes County (Valdosta). Guess who has to drive five hours to defend himself?

The petitioner has to swear under oath that the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself or others by possessing a firearm. The petitioner has to identify the quantities, types, and locations of firearms and ammunition the respondent possesses (but there is no downside to the petitioner if the petitioner is wrong as long as the petitioner is not lying).

The petitioner has to attempt to notify a person who lived or formerly lived with the respondent, but has no obligation to attempt to notify the respondent himself. A hearing must be held within 14 days of filing the petition, so the respondent has only two weeks to find and hire a lawyer (perhaps hundreds of miles away), meet with the lawyer, prepare a defense, arrange for witnesses, and show up and put on the defense.

In the meantime, the petitioner could have requested an “ex parte” order, meaning the court could issue a “risk protection order” without notice to respondent. The standard for the ex parte order is very low, there only has to be “reasonable cause” to believe the respondent poses a significant danger to himself and others. This standard is below even “probable cause,” which at least would require that it is more likely than not that the respondent poses a danger. If the judge finds reasonable cause, the judge is required to issue an ex parte order.

An ex parte order requires the respondent to surrender all firearms and ammunition to a law enforcement agency. The agency can seek a search warrant if it wants to. The respondent has no opportunity to make alternative arrangements. The property is seized. After seizure, the respondent can request that the property be transferred to a third party.

At the 14-day hearing, the standard becomes higher. There must be clear and convincing proof that respondent poses a significant danger to himself or others. The respondent has no opportunity for discovery or any ability to know in advance what the evidence against him is. He has no meaningful opportunity to prepare for the hearing.

A respondent may request, one time, a hearing to vacate an order. The hearing is held 14-30 days after petitioner is served (i.e., the petitioner gets more notice for a hearing to vacate than the respondent gets for the initial hearing when he does not even know there is a case against him). At the hearing to vacate, the burden is on the respondent to prove by clear and convincing evidence that he does not pose a danger to himself or others (i.e., he must prove a negative).

A risk protection order can last up to 12 months, but it may be extended indefinitely with successive 12-month orders.

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GCO Wins Appeal Against Chatham Probate Judge

October 24th, 2019

The Georgia Court of Appeals has ruled in GCO’s favor and reversed a superior court ruling that a probate judge may not be sued in his individual capacity for a declaratory judgment. In the case, the judge of the Chatham County Probate Court was sued because he was taking months to issue GWLs. The court’s opinion may be found here.

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GCO Challenges Falcons Gun Ban

October 24th, 2019

In the wake of GCO’s win at the Supreme Court of Georgia against the Atlanta Botanical Garden, GCO has challenged the Atlanta Falcons over its ban on carrying guns in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. A copy of the letter to Falcons General Counsel Mike Egan can be found here.

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Court of Appeals Remands Campus Carry Case

October 10th, 2019

The Georgia Court of Appeals has remanded the “campus carry” case to the Superior Court of Fulton County without a decision on the merits. In the case, a group of UGA professors sued former Governor Deal in his individual capacity to block “enforcement” of the law that partially decriminalizes campus carry. The superior court dismissed the case and the professors appealed. GCO filed an amicus curiae brief at the Court of Appeals. While the case was pending, former Gov. Deal’s term ended and Gov. Kemp took office. The professors attempted to substitute Gov. Kemp for Gov. Deal as an appellee by just providing notice of the substitution. The court of appeals has concluded that further proceedings are necessary to determine if and how such a substitution can take place when a government official is sued in his individual capacity. A copy of the Court’s order can be found here.

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Supreme Court Restores Botanical Garden Case

October 8th, 2019

Today, the Supreme Court of Georgia restored (for the second time) GCO’s lawsuit against the Atlanta Botanical Garden. The case, filed in 2014, challenges the policy of the Garden of disallowing GWL holders from carrying while at the Garden. State law prohibits lessees of public property from banning weapons. A copy of the decision may be found here.

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Statement on MCDV and Red Flag Laws

August 8th, 2019

There has been a lot of discussion in recent months about passing so-called “red flag” laws or misdemeanor crime of domestic violence (“MCDV”) laws in Georgia. This article will examine the benefits or lack thereof of both.

MCDV Laws

Congress passed a MCDV law in 1996, making it generally illegal for anyone to possess a firearm or ammunition who had been convicted of a MCDV. Exactly what crimes constitute MCDVs and the extent of the ban are beyond the scope of this article, which focuses on passing state-level laws in Georgia. We will begin, however, with some of the flaws in the federal law.

The general public has a long-standing notion that misdemeanors are relatively minor crimes and felonies are relatively serious. Conviction of a misdemeanor generally has short-lived ramifications and after the sentence is served there is little impact on the person’s life. Felony convictions, on the other hand, are understood to have long-term impacts on life even after the (relatively longer) sentence is served. The federal MCDV law thus has the ironic provision that a person is too dangerous to possess a firearm but not too dangerous to be part of our free society.

It comes as a surprise to many, therefore, to learn that a MCDV conviction can result in permanent loss of a fundamental constitutional right, the right to keep and bear arms (“RKBA”). It is even more of a shock to learn that the battery conviction in 1995, before the MCDV law was even passed, has that result. Fundamental notions of fairness also lead a person to believe that a change in charge from battery – domestic violence to simple battery would remove the possible RKBA loss. That belief is incorrect. Under the federal MCDV law, it does not matter what the state calls the crime. If it meets the federal MCDV definition, it counts as a MCDV whether the state calls it domestic violence or jaywalking.

Another surprise to many is that, despite the word “violence” in the name, no violence is actually necessary. The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that it is sufficient if there is “unwanted touching,” the common law definition of battery. Theoretically, a hand on a shoulder, when unwanted, is sufficient to convict for a MCDV.

The RKBA ban for a MCDV violation is permanent (i.e., for life). There is a provision in the MCDV law to remove the ban, but it requires some odd participation by the state of conviction. First, the state has to have in place some loss of a civil right as a result of the MCDV. The civil rights that can be lost generally are the right to sit on a jury, to vote, to hold public office, and RKBA. In Georgia, no civil rights are lost as a result of a MCDV conviction (Georgia following the majority of states in believing that misdemeanors should not result in loss of civil rights).

If, for example, Georgia law contained a provision that a person loses the right to hold public office upon conviction of a MCDV, then also contained a provision for restoration of the right, the federal RKBA would also be restored upon such state right restoration. To date, no Georgia legislator has proposed that he give up his right to hold public office at the same time you lose your RKBA.

This brings us to the potential enactment of a state-level MCDV law in Georgia. Such laws have been proposed for a couple sessions now, by both Democrats and Republicans. Rep. (now Sen.) Brian Strickland (R. – McDonough) and Sen. Jen Jordan (D. – Atlanta) are two current legislators who have introduced such bills. No bills have been passed by either house of the legislature. There are several reasons why they are a bad idea.

First, MCDV bills serve no purpose. There is not a single legitimate study showing that domestic violence improved in the 20-plus years since the federal MCDV bill was passed. If the bills do not do anything to reduce domestic violence, that begs the question, what is the purpose of the bills? What they really do is just deprive people of fundamental constitutional rights with no legitimate goal achieved. They are feel-good measures that make their sponsors look like the sponsors are trying to do something to curb domestic violence.

Second, state-level MCDV bills mostly mirror the federal law. That is, they do nothing to change the landscape, while chewing up limited legislative resources in the process.

Third, it is questionable whether a state-level MCDV bill would pass muster under Georgia’s RKBA, which is not co-extensive with the federal RKBA.

In reality, firearm homicides are not significant public safety issues. More Georgians die every year by suicide, auto accidents, and medical malpractice than by firearm homicides. If no single legislator thinks domestic violence is serious enough to risk his or her own right to hold public office, it is not serious enough to take away the public’s primary means of self-defense.

Red Flag Laws

Red flag laws have been passed in 17 states and the District of Columbia. They go by different names, but the basic premise is that a person’s family members or the police may petition a court to seize the person’s firearms on the grounds that the person is, at least temporarily, a danger.

Note the similarity in illogic with MCDV laws. A person is dangerous. Very dangerous. So dangerous that he cannot be trusted with firearms to the point that society should deprive him of his fundamental constitutional right to protect himself. So dangerous that his life is worth less than everyone else in the general public who retains the RKBA. But, not so dangerous that he should be confined.

Somehow, the logic goes, he is too dangerous to have a firearm, but he can be trusted with a motor vehicle (responsible for several times more homicides per year than firearms). He also can be trusted with kitchen knives, swords, archery equipment, fireworks, gunpowder, gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, ammonium nitrate, fuel oil, and a whole host of other substances and devices that are inherently dangerous or easily adapted to cause destruction of property and bodily injury.

Aside from the abject uselessness of such laws, they are unfair and unconstitutional. They result in the seizure of personal property without compensation. The person generally gets little notice of the proceeding and little opportunity to present a defense. There generally is no discovery, so that the person does not know what evidence will be brought against him. There generally is no right to a jury trial. There is, in sum, generally no right to due process.

The sanction of seizure of person property is harsh, and unheard of in any other non-criminal context. When a person is determined to be unfit to operate a motor vehicle, does the sheriff go seize all his cars? Of course not, and no one would think for a moment that such a result is just. The person can, after all, just be told he may not drive. He is never told he may not possess a motor vehicle. He is free to keep his car and get his friends, neighbors, or relatives to drive him where he needs to go in his own car. If the same person is found unfit to shoot a gun (what kind of evidence would be needed for this conclusion?), why must his guns be seized? Cannot he get his same friends, neighbors, or relatives to go out with him or stay in with him, protecting him with his own guns?’

If, however, a person is validly determined to be too dangerous to possess firearms at all (but not so dangerous as to make him give up paring vegetables), there simply is no basis for the wholesale seizure of his guns. The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that a person who forfeits his RKBA by, for example, conviction of a felony, is entitled nonetheless to the economic value of his property. Outright seizure of his firearms is unconstitutional if it is not part of his sentence. He retains the right to sell or dispose of his firearms as he sees fit, provided it is done in a fashion where he is not able to possess or re-possess them.

There is no logical reason to believe that victims of red flag laws should not have the same right, and that is if the due process and Second Amendment violations can be worked out.

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