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"Guns everywhere" bill awaits Governor's signature

Bill passed by Georgia legislature would broaden legal locations for firearms.
This toy gun prompted a lockdown at Pointe South Elementary in Clayton County on March 21, 2014.

ATLANTA -- Under the gun bill passed by Georgia's General Assembly, there is a long checklist of where gun owners holding carry permits would be able to carry their weapons legally.

Although you can't carry guns into the state Capitol under the measure, other government buildings across Georgia are fair game.


To get into Municipal Court in Snellville, spectators have to pass through a metal detector. But there is nothing to impede anybody from walking into Snellville City Hall, which is where the court is located. No metal detectors, no rules posted -- nothing to stop somebody from carrying a firearm into the building.

"I believe in the right to bear arms," said Angela Duncan, a municipal court judge in Snellville. She has no problem with the law allowing people with carry permits to carry their weapons into city hall.

"The city is smaller. It's not as big of a target, one would hope," Duncan said. "I'm not as concerned about people who are licensed to carry firearms as those who are not."

READ | Full text of gun bill as passed by state House and Senate

Guns would also be allowed into the non-secure area of Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. The Atlanta airport isn't just the world's busiest; it is also number one when it comes to guns confiscated at security checkpoints.

Under the new bill, a gun permit holder who is caught sending a firearm through security wouldn't be punished. The law would allow the offender to simply take his weapon and leave the airport.

Churches must opt in to allow guns. But anyone caught bringing one into a church without permission wouldn't be arrested. Offenders would face a $100 fine.

"Why do we want to do this?" asks Piyali Cole of Mothers Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which lobbied unsuccessfully against the measure. She says one of the most disturbing sections of the bill: Allowing pistols and long guns into bars.

"We've had several incidents recently where there's been a shootout outside the bar," Cole said. "Now you're just bringing that shootout inside the bar."

Another provision: Even people convicted of some misdemeanors can still get a gun permit.

Gov. Deal hasn't said yet whether he's going to sign the bill. He did say in a press conference this week that he approved of some changes the legislature made to the bill. He has until the end of April to sign it.

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