On Wednesday, Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law House Bill 60, legislation that protects law-abiding, licensed Georgia citizens' Second Amendment rights.
"For decades now I have staunchly defended our Second Amendment rights as both a legislator and as governor," said Deal. "This legislation will protect the constitutional rights of Georgians who have gone through a background check to legally obtain a Georgia Weapons Carry License. Roughly 500,000 Georgia citizens have a permit of this kind, which is approximately 5 percent of our population. License holders have passed background checks and are in good standing with the law. This law gives added protections to those who have played by the rules – and who can protect themselves and others from those who don't play by the rules. Our nation's founders put the right to bear arms on par with freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Georgians cherish their Second Amendment rights, and this law embodies those values."
Jann Oldham, who flies into and out of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport several times a year, doesn't like the idea that someone other than a police officer could be carrying a gun as she walks through the airport.
"I just don't think that's a good idea at all," Oldham said.
The bill will let licensed owners carry guns into any part of Georgia municipal airports that are not behind security checkpoints.
Oldham supports the Second Amendment, just not in the airport.
"In an environment like this, we already have security. What's the point?" Oldham asked.
Kellie Seibel feared the legislation could open the doors to more gun violence like last year's shooting at Los Angeles International Airport that left a TSA officer dead and several people wounded.
"This would be a perfect opportunity for someone to who wants to take revenge out on a group of people or any type of terrorist activity," Seibel said.
The legislation also permits school districts to authorize an administrator to carry a gun and it will let houses of worship and bars to decide whether to allow guns through their doors.
Jerry Henry, executive director of GeorgiaCarry.org, said the law will strengthen Second Amendment rights and let innocent civilians protect themselves before police have a chance to react.
"It will allow them to defend against bad guys with guns," Henry said. "It will allow me to take control of the situation."
When asked if the legislation will make Georgians safer, Henry answered, "It's not going to make it any less safe."
Atlanta already allows guns into Hartsfield-Jackson. The new legislation codifies that ability into state law and extends the right to airports around Georgia.
The law will go into effect on July 1.
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