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Gun Legislation

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press



The U.S. House of Representatives is trying to roll back an Obama-era rule that sought to restrict firearms access to some people suffering with mental illness.

Meanwhile in Georgia, lawmakers are working to close a gap in an existing state law on gun possession for those with serious mental illness.

John Lewis talks with members of the community at June 29 town hall meeting on gun violence.
Kate Sweeney / WABE

After last week’s House-floor sit-in by Democrats seeking a vote on gun control measures, what’s next?

That was the question on the minds of some 200 people at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on Wednesday for a town-hall meeting on gun violence.

Democratic Congressman John Lewis, a veteran civil rights activist, helped organize the June 22 sit-in.

At the town hall, he said that was just the beginning. /

The Georgia law know to many as the "Guns Everywhere" law does not allow weapons on college campuses, but some are trying to change that.

Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, sponsored the 2014 measure. Initially, it called for allowing guns on campuses.

But that provision was rejected as the bill moved through the legislature.

Jasperse is now sponsoring, along with Republican Rep. Mandi Ballinger of Canton, a new bill that would allow licensed gun owners to carry their weapons at public universities and colleges.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press

Shock and sadness.

Those were among the reactions reported by Atlantans following Wednesday's fatal shooting rampage in San Bernardino, California.

Authorities are investigating, but some people think it may have been an act of terrorism.

“I think that whenever an individual uses violence to incite fear that’s a way to incite terror, and so I would say that a lot of the kind of mass shootings we’ve seen over the past months and years in the United States are a kind of terrorist attack,” Atlanta resident John Blevins said.

Georgia's New Gun Law Is In Effect

Jul 1, 2014
Infographic on Georgia's new gun law
Robert Aaron/WABE

Georgia's revised gun law, allowing guns to be carried in many places where they were previously prohibited, went into effect today.  It allows guns to be carried in airports, government buildings, bars, restaurants and even churches -- if the particular church agrees to "opt in" and allow guns.

Below is an infographic showing some of the changes and provisions in the new law. For more detailed discussions, we've assembled a compilation our earlier articles.

New Gun Law Takes Effect Tuesday

Jun 30, 2014
TSA agents at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport confiscated this pistol Wednesday morning.  In 2012, Atlanta led the nation in the number of seized weapons.
Courtesy: TSA

Starting tomorrow, the law opponents have referred to as the “guns everywhere” bill goes into effect. Among other things, the law allows permitted gun holders to carry firearms in bars, some churches and government buildings without security.

A Georgia gun rights group says those with conceal carry permits can soon legally take their weapons into school safety zones as a result of a bill recently signed by Governor Nathan Deal. But last week, Attorney General Sam Olens and Governor Deal said another gun bill overrides provisions in that law that would allow for campus carry.

Deal, Olens Weigh In on Campus Carry

May 29, 2014
Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens

After receiving a number of questions about whether licensed permit holders can carry guns on school campuses, Governor Nathan Deal and Attorney General Sam Olens weighed in today.

Bishop Rob Wright of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta
Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta

Georgia’s new gun law, HB 60, allows permit holders to carry concealed weapons into a church—but only if the church specifically allows it.  Some local religious leaders who oppose the law, however, are taking no chances.

Opponents Speak Out Against Gun Bill Signing

Apr 23, 2014
Michelle Wirth/WABE News

Today, Governor Nathan Deal signed a sweeping bill to expand gun rights in Georgia. Opponents have dubbed it the “guns everywhere bill” and protested the signing during a press conference held at a church near the Georgia Capitol.

Deal Signs Controversial Gun Bill

Apr 23, 2014
In Ellijay, Gov. Deal, signed the new gun legislation into Georgia law on April 23, 2014.
Jonathan Shapiro/WABE

Gov. Nathan Deal Wednesday signed into law a sweeping gun bill attracting national attention.

House Speaker David Ralston introduced Deal at the bill signing ceremony in Ellijay. He did so before a friendly crowd of at least 200, several of whom were openly carrying.

“This is the apple capitol of Georgia and, yes, it’s a community where we cling to religion and guns,” said Ralston.

Governor to Sign Bill Easing Gun Restrictions

Apr 23, 2014

[Update: Gov. Deal has now signed the gun bill along with several others. More details to follow.]

Governor Nathan Deal will sign a bill today that greatly expands where Georgians can legally carry guns.

A Summary Of What's In Georgia's New Gun Law

Mar 27, 2014
A summary of the provisions of Georgia's new gun law, which Gov. Deal plans to sign this morning.
Robert Aaron, WABE

Web Exclusive.

We have put together a summary of the key provisions of the new gun law that was passed in the waning hours of this year's General Assembly and which is now awaiting Gov. Deal's signature. The summary appears below as an image.

This is not an exhaustive summary of the bill's contents, and we are not lawyers. For more information and for the exact wording, please check the full text of the bill (HB 60) as passed by the Legislature (PDF).

Michelle Wirth/WABE News

The Georgia Municipal Association says a gun bill passed by state lawmakers could be costly for a number of Georgia cities. The Association is also worried the bill could leave cities open to lawsuits. The bill is also drawing some concern from law enforcement officials.

Bill Easing Gun Restrictions Heads to Governor Deal

Mar 21, 2014
Michelle Wirth/WABE News

Unlike last year, House and Senate lawmakers this year reached a deal on legislation to expand gun rights in places like bars, churches, and some government buildings.  The bill now goes to Governor Deal’s desk.

The Georgia House agreed with the Senate Version of the bill during the last hour of legislative session. That led to this announcement by Senator Bill Heath:

“Mr. President I believe that the House has finally come along in representing Georgia’s gun owners and protecting themselves.”

Senate Makes Changes to Controversial Gun Bill

Mar 19, 2014
Michelle Wirth/WABE News

Senators made changes to a House bill that would expand gun rights. 

Under the Senate version, churches would be allowed to opt in rather than opt out of the law.

Senator Tommie Williams spoke in favor of the change.

“One of the things that has concerned me is the faith community and their position.”

Michell Eloy

Gun control advocates Wednesday rallied against legislative efforts to expand areas where people can carry firearms one day after the Georgia House of Representatives attempted to force the hand of the Senate on controversial gun legislation.  

Ga. House Tries To Force Vote On Gun Bill

Mar 11, 2014

The state House is trying to force the hand of their Senate colleagues on sweeping gun legislation.

In a surprise move Tuesday, the House removed a provision that would have reduced the penalty for gun permit holders if caught carrying on a college campus. Then, it attached that bill to a separate piece of legislation and sent it to the Senate for an immediate floor vote.

State Rep. Dustin Hightower, R-Carrollton.
Ga. House of Reps.

The Georgia House approved a controversial bill aimed at easing gun restrictions in a wide range of places, including bars, churches, college campuses, and Hartsfield Airport.

On the House floor, Rep. Dustin Hightower, R-Carrollton, said the bill is about basic constitutional rights. 

“We get asked over and over why do we constantly talk about gun rights and the Second Amendment and my answer is simple - because there are others who are constantly trying to take our rights away,” said Hightower.

Local NAACP Hosts Gun Buyback

Jan 16, 2014
An officer in the Fulton County Sheriff's Department zip-ties an old rifle Thursday at a gun buyback, which was organized by the Atlanta branch of the NAACP.
Michell Eloy

  The Atlanta branch of the NAACP held its first-ever gun buyback Thursday, calling it a nonviolent event in leading up to Monday’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.

On a frigid morning, people lined up in their cars along Central Avenue just west of Turner Field to surrender their firearms to law enforcement officials. One of them, Tommy, who declined to give his last name, handed over his .22 caliber antique rifle.

Denis O'Hayer/WABE News

  On Monday, January 13, 2014, Georgia lawmakers returned to the Capitol for the second half of the 2013-14 session of the General Assembly.  Democrats, who face overwhelming Republican majorities, still hope to get some of their priorities passed into law.  House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta) spoke with WABE's Denis O'Hayer.

Moms Demand Action

  Saturday marks one year since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut.

The incident claimed 28 lives, including the shooter.

One day after the shootings, Shannon Watts founded the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

It started out as a Facebook page, now the grass roots campaign has 125,000 members in all 50 states.