ATLANTA, Ga. (Dec. 5, 2018) – A “Constitutional Carry” bill prefiled for the 2019 legislative session would make it legal for Georgians to carry a firearm without a license, fostering an environment hostile to federal gun control.

Rep Matt Gurtler (R-Tiger) prefiled House Bill 2 (HB2) on Nov. 16 to let anyone who is legally allowed to own a gun carry it without paying for a state-issued license. Currently, Georgia gun owners must pay about $75 – depending on the county probate court – to register with the state and pass a background check before being issued a license to carry a handgun in public.

It reads, in part:

“[s]ince objects or instrumentalities in and of themselves are not dangerous or evil, in a free and just society, the civil government should not ban or restrict their possession or use.”

The bill seeks to repeal numerous sections of state law related to places or situations in which a weapons permit is required for a person in order to possess a firearm. It also seeks to repeal two provisions in state law

  • A ban on carrying a firearm other than a handgun in a park, historic site, or recreational area
  • A requirement that residents who carry a handgun on those premises have a weapons carry permit

“As it stands now, law-abiding Georgians are taxed millions of dollars annually for exercising their God-given natural rights of self-defense,” Gurtler said. “Under the (U.S) Constitution and in accordance with our Founding Fathers, ‘shall not be infringed’ is a no-compromise statement.”

EFFECT ON FEDERAL GUN CONTROL

While permitless carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, the widespread passage of permitless conceal carry laws in states subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway.

The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”

Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.

State actions such as passing HB2 would lower barriers for those wanting to the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourages a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.

WHAT’S NEXT

HB2 will be officially introduced when the 2019 regular session begins Jan. 14, 2019. It will then receive a committee assignment, where it will need to pass before the full House can consider it.

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