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Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has signed into law a controversial bill that expands gun rights and spells out where citizens can take their guns. The bill has been criticized by gun control advocates as the “guns everywhere bill,” while gun rights advocates have praised it.
House Bill 60 passed in the Georgia state legislature just before the end of the latest session, notes the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It allows Georgians to take their weapons into schools, bars, churches and even government buildings. Some analysts say that it can also allow felons to use the “stand your ground” defense to claim self-defense.
“People who follow the rules can protect themselves and their families from people who don’t follow the rules,” Deal said Wednesday. “The Second Amendment should never be an afterthought. It should reside at the forefronts of our minds.”
According to CNN, the bill was supported by GeorgiaCarry, which considered it “meaningful pro-gun legislation.” Americans for Responsible Solutions, though, called it “extremism in action.”
Deal signed the bill at a picnic gathering in Ellijay in northern Georgia. Hundreds were there, including many wearing National Rifle Association buttons and openly carrying handguns. Deal has been endorsed by the NRA, which gave him an “A” rating while he was in Congress.
“Roughly 500,000 Georgia citizens have a permit of this kind, which is approximately 5 percent of our population,” Deal explained, CNN noted. “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.”
The bill goes into effect on July 1.
image via Facebook from Gov. Nathan Deal