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Kemp looks forward to signing bill that eliminates requirement for gun permit

Backers of constitutional carry said guns are only dangerous in the hands of the ill-intentioned.

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp plans to sign a bill that passed the legislature Friday eliminating the requirement for a gun permit. Republicans passed the election year measure over the objection of Democrats.  

The bill has been an election-year priority for Republicans.  And it has plenty of Democratic detractors. The bill has been one of this year’s most contentious measures.

Constitutional carry would:

  • eliminate the need for a government permit to carry a firearm in public.
  • it would still be illegal for convicted felons to carry weapons 
  • as well as anyone adjudicated to have a mental illness.

Detractors insist the bill will make cities more dangerous.

"There’s a narrative about crime, especially in Atlanta," said Sen. Elena Parent (D-Atlanta).  "Lets talk about why it’s a problem. Part of the reason – a not small part, I contend – is because everyone has guns."

Currently, state law requires a license to carry firearms.  There’s an application in probate court, a background check and a fee of up to $75. Those permits would still be available – and useful for gun owners who want to carry guns into other states that recognize Georgia permits.

Backers of constitutional carry said guns are only dangerous in the hands of ill-intentioned.

"Let's stop blaming an inanimate object," said state Sen. Randy Robertson (R-Columbus).   "I’ll tell you why violent crime is up. It’s because mothers, fathers, churches, educational institutions and others have abandoned their responsibility to raise responsible adults."

Kemp and his GOP opponents, Sen. David Perdue, both pushed lawmakers to pass the bill.  Their Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams, opposes the bill and calls it "criminal carry."

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