As negotiations on the Georgia legislature’s “Guns Everywhere Bill” continue in the back rooms of the State Capitol and a midnight deadline approaches for lawmakers to act before the legislative session ends, a targeted Georgia campaign by Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), an organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and retired combat veteran and astronaut Captain Mark Kelly to support responsible gun ownership, continues to ramp up pressure on lawmakers, Governor Deal, and Lieutenant Governor Cagle to stop extreme provisions in the legislation, including sections that would allow guns into our children’s classrooms, airports, and other sensitive areas.
An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll recently found that more than 70 percent of Georgians are opposed to the bill’s central provisions.
This week, provisions originally included in HB 875 were added to another legislative vehicle, HB 60, which passed the Senate quickly and with little deliberation close to midnight on Tuesday, stoking fears of backroom dealing and raising concerns that the Senate did not have the time to adequately understand and consider the package. The bill is now again being considered by the House.
“The bill is extremism in action; it moves Georgia out of the mainstream,” said Pia Carusone, Executive Director of Americans for Responsible Solutions. “Since the Georgia House first passed this expansive legislation, thousands of Georgians and tens of thousands of Americans have said loud and clear that they are tired of the gun lobby advancing its extreme agenda at the expense of their families’ safety. Georgians oppose the bill’s extreme provisions, and now their elected officials are hearing about it every day. We hope they don’t send the bill to Governor Deal while their constituents sleep.”
Close to midnight Tuesday, the Georgia Senate passed HB 60, an amended version of HB 875, which is now being considered by the House.
Lawmakers have until midnight tonight to agree to the bill and send it to Governor Deal, assign a conference committee to determine final language, or not consider the legislation.
Since the Georgia House passed HB 875, ARS launched a campaign to stop consideration of the bill, including:
- Mobilizing 2,598 Georgians to call and more than 1,300 to email Governor Nathan Deal and Lt. Governor Cagle to pressure them to stop the bill;
- Alerting more than 20,000 Georgia ARS members to the public safety concerns the bill raises;
- Delivering a petition signed by 8,750 ARS members in Georgia asking the Senate to stop consideration of HB 875;
- Gathering 50,000 signatures of ARS members from around the country on a petition opposing the legislation, which would ease access of guns into Atlanta’s airport, the world’s busiest; and,
- Releasing an ad, titled “Guns Everywhere,” to educate Georgians on what their state legislature was trying to do: http://bit.ly/1hyv6Ga.
HB 875 has already passed the State House and would allow K-12 teachers, administrators, staff, students aged 18, or anyone authorized by a local school board to carry firearms anywhere on school grounds; decriminalize campus carry; allow people to carry guns in houses of worship and bars, unless the organization specifically opted out (forcing acrimonious debates in churches over gun policy); allow guns in state and local government buildings, libraries, city council meetings, and senior centers; and it would decriminalize the act of attempting to bring a gun into the TSA-secured areas of Georgia airports, thereby impacting not only Georgia residents, but also the tens of millions of people from around the country and the world who pass through Georgia airports every year.