ATLANTA, Georgia: The Georgia Senate has passed an election year bill along a strict party line that would remove the need for a permit to carry a firearm in public.
Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R-Dallas), sponsor of the bill during the Senate debate, said, “Criminals do not care about having a carry permit.”
Constitutional carry would eliminate the need for a government permit to carry firearms.
However, convicted felons and those considered to have a mental illness will still not be allowed to carry weapons.
According to Republicans, the bill will help Georgians defend themselves against violent crime.
During the debate, Anavitarte told his colleagues, “It is the young mom who just heard on the radio in her car there was another carjacking at her neighborhood gas station.”
“What about folks who might have mental problems, folks involved in family violence?” asked Sen. David Lucas.
“Senator, if you are a law abiding citizen, you can carry your weapon,” Anavitarte answered.
During the debate, state Sen. Elena Parent (D-Atlanta) said,
“The real irony of this bill is that it directly protects criminals.”
Critics noted that Georgia courts denied at least 5,200 gun permit applications last year, but backers of the bill said gun laws have not changed significantly in Georgia since 2014, yet crime has risen.
Backed by Gov. Brian Kemp, Republicans passed constitutional carry in the state senate on a party line vote.