Georgia residents can now carry guns into bars, nightclubs, school classrooms, and certain government buildings that lack security personnel or devices – with a license to carry, of course.
Patrons can thank the measure, effective Tuesday, that critics call the “guns everywhere” and “most extreme gun” bill.
The legislation also provides religious leaders the option to “opt in” to allow guns on their worship premises, and grants access to permit-holders to carry guns into Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints in airports without penalty.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal in April signed the pro-gun measure into law after it was approved by the Republican-controlled Georgia General Assembly, msnbc previously reported.
Opponents view it as a disturbance for places of worship, establishments that serve alcohol, and school campuses where parents expect their children to remain safe. Supporters laud the measure’s protection of their Second Amendment rights. Though they are pleased with the legislation, many of them wish its guidelines treated religious establishments similar to bars, nightclubs, and municipalities.
Similar bills have gone through legislative offices around the country, including in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. But this sweeping measure became controversial for placing the new rules all in one law. And it has left many residents confused.
The law, part of the “Safe Carry Protection Act,” once contained a bill from both the House and Senate. The Senate version offered fewer allowances for guns in certain places. A lack of transparency among legislators left residents and organizations puzzled about which measures were included and which were removed from the changed bill. Ultimately, House lawmakers took out language that would reduce the penalty for a permit-holder caught carrying a gun on a college campus from a misdemeanor to a fine.
House legislators passed a similar bill last year, but it failed in the state Senate. Georgia had the highest number of gun deaths per capita among the 50 states that same year, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Gov. Deal, a Republican, previously supported loosening gun restrictions and holds an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association. He plans to run for re-election on Nov. 4.