[4/3/17] The restoration of Second Amendment-protected rights in the states is happening so quickly that it’s hard to keep up. On Friday, the Georgia legislature sent a bill to Governor Nathan Deal that would allow concealed handguns on public college campuses, with some exceptions built in to appease Deal, who vetoed a similar but stronger measure last year. Jerry Henry, executive director of GeorgiaCarry.org, a pro-gun rights group, was realistic: “It’s not the bill that we wanted but it’s the bill we got. It gives [us] a foot in the door.” If Deal signs the bill, Georgia would become the 11th state with this kind of campus-carry law.
Georgia legislators also sent to Deal’s desk a bill that improved a number of the state’s existing gun laws, including giving individuals moving to the state from “reciprocal” carry agreement states a 90-day “grace” period to obtain a Georgia Weapons License (GWL) while continuing to carry legally using their previous state’s license. That bill also explicitly prohibits any probate judge from “suspending, extending, delaying, or avoiding” the process of approving a GWL application made by a citizen of the state.
In addition, it would protect firearms instructors from civil liability for any injuries caused by the failure of one of their students to use a firearm safely.
A third bill sent to Georgia Governor Beal would allow Virginia concealed handgun permit holders to enjoy “permit reciprocity” with Georgia.
The next day, multiple pro-gun and pro-hunting bills moved ahead in Virginia, including a measure that would allow any law-abiding person to carry a firearm in any state, county, or municipal park or other recreation area. Another bill would allow law-abiding Virginians to carry a firearm onto school property while dropping off or picking up students. Still another would protect shooting ranges from frivolous lawsuits and noise complaints as long as they are operating lawfully. This bill is a direct pushback against anti-gun groups that have filed such lawsuits and complaints in attempts to shut those ranges down.
Last week, North Dakota became the 14th state to allow constitutional carry, just weeks after New Hampshire passed similar legislation. Other constitutional-carry bills are pending in Alabama, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.