Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is expected to sign legislation Wednesday deemed "the most comprehensive pro-gun reform legislation introduced in recent state history" by the NRA.
The bill expands the scope of public places where licensed gun-owners are allowed to carry their weapons. Bars and some government buildings without security will now be fair game.
The so-called “guns everywhere bill” would also allow religious leaders to decide if people can bring a gun into places of worship. School districts could also allow some employees to carry a gun under certain conditions.
The bill also eliminates a fingerprinting requirement for those who want to renew their licenses.
While Democrats argued that expanded freedom for gun-owners would not make society safer, and could lead to more deaths, they were drowned out by the GOP-dominated House.
Colin Goddard, a survivor of the 2007 campus shooting at Virginia Tech, told Georgia Public Broadcasting that the expansion of “stand your ground” alarmed him. It would waive criminal prosecution of felons who use an illegal weapon for self-defense purposes.
“The stand your ground expansion is truly a new type of stand your ground as we know it,” Goddard said. “To expand it in such a way to remove all carrying or possession offenses is really unprecedented.”
Jerry Henry of GeorgiaCarry.org said he doesn’t think gun sales will increase because of the changes, and that other states have much freer gun laws.
“I don’t think people are going to look at it and say, ‘Oh Georgia just passed a new law and I’m going to move over there because it’s so much easier.’ I don’t think we’re going to see that,” he said. “Arizona, Wyoming, Alaska, Vermont – they all have Constitutional Carry."