A gun bill returns with a vengeance | Political Insider blog

9
Feb

A gun bill returns with a vengeance | Political Insider blog

Two weeks ago, a gun bill that had lingered in the state Capitol’s gearbox for more than a year finally cratered over the issue of allowing concealed weapons on public university campuses.

But it is a testament to the influence and stamina of Second Amendment enthusiasts involved that a new, second draft is no mere shadow of its predecessor.

Oh, no. House Bill 875, under the sponsorship of Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, not only includes a backdoor entrance for guns on university campuses, but would give concealed weaponry an unprecedented, protected spot right next to you – in bars, churches, libraries, senior centers, aquatic centers, at zoning hearings and city council meetings.

buttonsLast month, Capitol lawyers determined that university presidents couldn’t choose, campus by campus, where hidden, permitted weapons could be toted – killing an effort at compromise over the issue.

H.B. 875 simply decriminalizes the matter. Licensed carriers caught with concealed weapons on public campuses would not be subject to arrest, and would only face a civil fine of up to $100.

That’s a pin prick compared to the cost of speeding through a school zone.

Bars and houses of worship would be new territories for concealed weaponry, too. A state prohibition now applies to both. Under H.B. 875, establishments of both kinds would be able to prohibit weaponry – as would all owners of private property. But it would be a matter of criminal trespass that they would have to enforce themselves.

Some of the biggest names in Georgia religion argued against H.B. 875 this week: Catholic Archbishop Wilton Gregory, Rabbi Peter Berg of The Temple synagogue in Atlanta, and the Rev. Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church.

All were overshadowed by Mike Griffin, new spokesman for the Georgia Baptist Convention, who endorsed the measure on behalf of his denomination, its 3,600 churches and 1.3 million members.

“It’s a sanctity of human life issue, as far as I’m concerned,” Griffin said at a committee hearing on Thursday.

via A gun bill returns with a vengeance | Political Insider blog.

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