Atlanta - Gov. Nathan Deal plans to sign sweeping gun reform legislation this week.
The bill, which passed on the final night of the legislative session, allows carry permit owners to take their firearms into more places including churches that allow them. Pastors or congregations would have to “opt in” or else it would still be illegal for guns to be on the premises.
Jerry Henry, executive director of GeorgiaCarry.org, calls it a first step, but would have liked to see churches “opt out” of the law instead.
“If the church didn’t opt in, then I break that law the minute I walk into that door,” he tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.
But under the new law, those carry permit holders who bring their guns to churches that don’t allow them only face a $100 fine rather than jail time.
Permit holders would be able to bring their guns into bars as long as the owners didn’t object.
Also under the law, those renewing a weapons carry permit would no long have to be fingerprinted and any permit holder who unknowingly brings a gun to the airport would be able to turn around once they have gone through security and put the gun away without being arrested.
It also allows silencers on hunting rifles.
While Henry calls the bill a good first step, he will continue to push for even more including guns on college campuses.
“We still got a plan; there’s still things that we would like to do—like to see changed--and we will continue to work on that path,” he says.
Deal will sign the bill on Wednesday in Ellijay, which is in the district of House Speaker David Ralston and near other legislators who sponsored the bill. It takes effect July 1.