ATLANTA, Ga. (WJBF) — A new Georgia law is now in effect which means you don’t need a permit to carry a handgun. It went into effect on Jan. 1 but comes with some controversy.
“It causes me great concern,” Rep. Teri Anulewciz, D-Smyrna said. “There are so many shootings on roads and highways throughout Georgia because road rage has gotten to a point where people will just brandish their weapon that they have with them in their car, they’ll start shooting people.”
Gov. Brian Kemp signed Senate Bill 319 last year but guns would still be banned in places like airports and government buildings. Opponents of concealed carry say adding guns to the streets would increase crime and violence.
“I think having the accessibility to this important public safety tool is extremely important in Georgia, especially with the uptick in violent crime that we’ve seen in Atlanta and some of our other larger cities,” Rep. Randy Robertson, R-Columbus said.
Supporters say it would instill fear in criminals because their victims may have a gun but critics say it could allow guns into the wrong hands.
“What do you know when you’re walking down the aisle in the supermarket and you see someone with a gun,” Anulewicz asked. “You don’t know if they because they are shopping and they think something might go down at the Kroger or are there because they are going to be the cause of something going down at the Kroger? I imagine it’s equally fraught for law enforcement.”
Supporters say it would allow Georgians to protect themselves without carrying a piece of paper for approval and that the government should not infringe on constitutional rights.
“If the owners of a fast food restaurant, if the owners of a hardware store, if the owners of Target say ‘we do not want firearms carried in our stores,’ they have a right to do that,” Robertson said. “That’s their private business.”
To request a permit, you have to be 21 or older, or 18 if you are in the military, a Georgia resident and U.S. citizen and have no drug or felony convictions.