Gun bill passes state House after short debate

ATLANTA -- A House bill which would expand the places where licensed individuals can carry a gun has passed after an emotionalfloor debate.

House Bill 875passed the Georgia House by a vote of 119 to 56 after a two and a half hour debate. The bill now goes to the Georgia Senate.

The vote was mostly along party lines with Republicans favoring it.

"Gun free zones that are created by well meaning laws are gun free to the good guys only," said Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper), who sponsored the bill.

"I think we have far, far more restrictions on our right to keep and bear arms than our forefathers ever intended," argued Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City).

Democratic opponents argued the bill has nothing to do withgun rightsand everything to do with politics.

"This bill is not about Second Amendment rights; this is a bill that is designed to emotionally make people show up and vote in an election," argued Rep. Al Williams (D-Midway).

Other Democrats argued the bill was a "license to kill".

"I don't believe that a gun everywhere is gonna make me safer," said Rep. David Wilkerson (D-Austell).

The billwould expand the places where people at least 21 with a Georgia weapons license can carry a gun. That includes churches and bars that don't mind, as well asairports up to the security checkpoint and some public buildings with no security checkpoint.

College campuses, which killed the bill last year, are not included, but a weapons license holder caught with a gun on campus would only be subject to up to a $100 fine with no jail time.

The bill also allows any public school system that wishes to train and arm any staff members who volunteer.

It also prohibits compiling and releasing a list of weapons license holders as some other states have done.


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