Georgia voters roundly disapprove of lawmakers’ expansion this year of the state’s gun laws despite being more likely to believe gun ownership helps protect people from becoming victims of a crime, according to a new poll conducted for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The poll, conducted by Abt SRBI of New York, is the first time Georgians have weighed in on the expansion since legislation passed the state Legislature in March and Gov. Nathan Deal signed it in April. The results come only weeks ahead of the May 20 primary election and affirm an AJC poll in January that showed voters strongly opposing what was then one of lawmakers’ signature proposals.
Among respondents in the new poll, 59 percent gave House Bill 60 a thumbs-down. The legislation, which goes into effect July 1, expands the list of places where Georgians may legally carry firearms to include schools, bars, government buildings and, for the first time, churches.
The results come even as 57 percent of Georgia voters said they believe owning a gun helps protect people. Thirty-five percent said gun ownership puts people’s safety at risk. A majority, 55 percent, also said they or someone they live with owns a gun.