DOUGLASVILLE, GA – A “constitutional carry” bill was signed into law on Tuesday by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, which will now allow residents of the state to carry concealed firearms without a license – with a few minor restrictions – going forward.
The Georgia Constitutional Carry Act – also known as Senate Bill 319 – was originally passed in the state legislature on April 1, and immediately allows permitless handgun carrying – without a background check – except by convicted felons or individuals who have received treatment for certain mental health issues within the past five years.
Kemp, a Republican, noted that he was signing the bill into law to allow Georgia residents the opportunity to “to protect themselves without having to have permission from your state government. The Constitution of the United States gives us that right, not the government.”
“People don’t have to carry if they don’t want to,” Kemp said.
With Kemp’s signing of the bill, Georgia has become the 25th state to allow permitless handgun carrying; however, background checks will still be required of residents when buying a handgun, reports say.
Georgia State Republican Senator and bill co-sponsor Jason Anavitarte applauded the signing of the bill into law as a win for “law-abiding citizens” throughout the state.
“Today was a victory for the safety, security and constitutional rights of hardworking Georgians,” he said. “This bill is about self-protection and self-empowerment. It’s about disincentivizing criminals and empowering law-abiding citizens to defend themselves and their families.”
However, Democrats who were opposed to the bill held a protest on Tuesday, with State Senator Donzella James pointing out that 5,000 of the people who applied for permits in Georgia in 2021 were rejected, and claimed that this measure will now allow those individuals easy access to firearms.
“Yes, I believe in the Second Amendment,” she said. “But why are we spreading the access to guns to everyone?”