Was HB 60 Sound Public Policy, an Overreach, or a Simple Election Ploy?

March 25, 2014 15:23 pm

by Jon Richards · 18 comments

Is it “the most extreme gun bill in America,” or is it “the most comprehensive pro-gun bill” in recent state history?

The final day of the 2014 legislative session produced House Bill 60, the gun bill that, among other things, allows permit holders to carry in bars and churches. This morning’s New York Times wonders how much further pro-second amendment legislation can go:

More than a year after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut elicited a burst of gun-control legislation, the Georgia bill shows just how far the counterreaction has spread as lawmakers, mainly in Republican-controlled states in the South and West, pass laws allowing weapons in all corners of society while strengthening so-called Stand Your Ground laws.

Critics say the victories may come at a price as pro-gun legislation pushes up against the limits of public opinion.

“I do think they’ve overreached,” said Laura Cutilletta, senior staff attorney at the San Francisco-based Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The Georgia bill, she said, is “so extreme and people do have such a strong reaction to it. I don’t think over all it’s a victory for them.”

The Times goes on to detail some of the things the bill does, and gives examples where other states have sought to implement additional pro-gun legislation.

View from Brookhaven March 25, 2014 at 4:36 pm

“This morning’s New York Times wonders how much further pro-second amendment legislation can go:”

I assume the NRA or Georgia Carry has a list of places still off limits that they’ll want addressed in future “most pro-gun ever!” legislation.

GotUrBack March 26, 2014 at 8:06 am

I think your assumption, at least about GeorgiaCarry is probably spot on!

Will Durant March 25, 2014 at 5:19 pm

I’m really not feeling more safe since a law officer no longer has a right to stop a person solely for carrying to simply ask you to produce your permit. I don’t see that this imposes on a person’s rights any more than having to produce an ID to enter a bar, etc. What this clause does give us is a future GetOutOfJailFree card for defense attorneys to use on behalf of those illegally carrying or law officers having to contrive means to detain a suspicious person that happens to be carrying a gun. This isn’t good legislation as it adds ambiguity to already ambiguous situations for a police officer.

GotUrBack March 26, 2014 at 8:01 am

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that a motorist cannot be stopped just to see if the person is licensed to drive. Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648 (1979). The court reasoned that if there is no indication the person is committing a crime, the 4th Amendment is violated by stopping the person.
More on point with guns, the Supreme Court ruled in Florida v. J.L., 529 U.S. 266 (2000) that there is no firearm exception to the 4th Amendment, meaning a person cannot be stopped just for carrying a gun unless there is some other indication the person may be committing a crime.

Because there is no firearm exception to the 4th Amendment, in order to justify detaining a person for carrying a firearm (to see if the person has a license), an officer would have to be able to articulate what facts and circumstances led the officer to believe the person had committed, was committing, or was about to commit a crime. In Sheriff Sills’ example, stopping someone he describes as a “thug,” with no additional information as to what makes the person a thug, just because the person possessed a firearm, would violate the person’s 4th Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

In Georgia a GWL is and element of the crime. An officer is justified in detaining a person with a firearm only if there is probably cause or the officer has RAS that a crime has been committed.

In essence, if a law enforcement officer is now stopping a person who is carrying just to check to see if he has a license then he is violating the carrier’s civil rights. This just codifies what is already a right.

oscardagrch March 26, 2014 at 8:38 am

How do you explain police checkpoints?

mountainpass March 26, 2014 at 8:51 am

As I understand it the courts have ruled that they must be done for a purpose. Most are conducted as “DUI Checkpoints.” And all cars must be stopped, not selected by stereotyping as Sheriff Sills suggests.

Does Sheriff Sills detain hispanic folks to see if they are legally here?

This is a basic civil rights issue.

GotUrBack March 26, 2014 at 9:17 am

Right on point!

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 25, 2014 at 5:22 pm

The fact that this pro-Second Amendment gun rights expansion bill has the flowered panties of the facist plagiarizing gun grabbers at the New York Times in a such a huge wad means that the Georgia Legislature must have done something right.

Though, there should be no doubt that the gun-grabbing far-left will (unsuccessfully) attempt to use this bill as a political football to rally voters (particularly suburban housewives) over to their side in November.

Although, it will be extremely-difficult for the gun-grabbing far-left to rally voters over to their side in Georgia with many Democrats (including presumed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter) also having voted for the bill and with presumed Democratic senatorial candidate Michelle Nunn openly proclaiming to be such a staunch supporter of gun rights.

Sorry, gun-grabbers, it seems that you lose once again… :(

Oh, and BTW, great work, Mr. Richards. You’ve done a great job as a front page contributor here at Peach Pundit, keep up the good work!

seenbetrdayz March 25, 2014 at 6:39 pm

I think people have reached a point where the fear tactics of the gun-grabbing far-left don’t work anymore, especially considering that other states have much looser gun restrictions and serve as examples that the world doesn’t end if people exercise their rights more freely.

Utah allows campus carry and the apocalypse has not occurred there. There’s a remote rural high school in Texas which allows staff to carry firearms and no teacher has ‘gone off’ on any kids yet. Indiana allows homeowners to defend themselves against violent, unannounced home invasions by SWAT teams who watch too many episodes of The Shield, and yet the streets have not run red with the blood of police officers. In New Hampshire, gun laws are so lax that cops only stop you if you aren’t carrying a gun, lol. Then there’s our own Kennesaw, GA, which ought to be as violent as a Quentin Tarantino movie on synthetic bath salts, according to gun-grabber predictions when the city first required every home to have a gun, and yet enjoys a much lower crime rate than cities with much stricter gun laws, on a per-capita basis.

I could go on and on covering the opposite, ill-effects that gun-bans have had on cities like Chicago, NYC, D.C., but I don’t expect anyone’s mind to change based on facts. Instead we can keep ignoring the 500/year murder rate that Chicago claims to its name, all the while claiming that gun control saves lives.

Jon Richards March 26, 2014 at 8:04 am

Thank you, TLDIG. And for further evidence the Times is upset about HB 60, consider this morning’s editorial about the bill.

Larry Harkins March 25, 2014 at 5:30 pm

At the end of the day, HB 60 was nothing more than a cover bill for Deal and incumbents fearful of getting hit on the gun issue. Deal and Cagle managed to cut it down enough so they wouldn’t look “too radical.” They cut out the church and campus portions. The NRA is notorious for swooping in during election years and claiming credit for passing a bill that gives their guys protection. Read here if interested:

http://madisonproject.com/2014/03/the-nra-protects-incumbents-not-second-amendment/

MattMD March 25, 2014 at 9:24 pm

Does HB 60 reduce the charge of carrying on a college campus from a felony to a misdemeanor? I always thought a felony charge was a bit much.

Harry March 25, 2014 at 9:27 pm
GotUrBack March 26, 2014 at 8:04 am

The charge for carrying on campus with a license is a misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to $1,000 fine and / or up to one year in jail. The penalty for carrying on campus without a license is a felony, punishable of a minimum of 2 years and not more than 10 years and / or a fine of up to $10,000.

Harry March 26, 2014 at 9:40 am

Thanks for the correction.

GotUrBack March 26, 2014 at 7:59 am

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that a motorist cannot be stopped just to see if the person is licensed to drive. Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648 (1979). The court reasoned that if there is no indication the person is committing a crime, the 4th Amendment is violated by stopping the person.
More on point with guns, the Supreme Court ruled in Florida v. J.L., 529 U.S. 266 (2000) that there is no firearm exception to the 4th Amendment, meaning a person cannot be stopped just for carrying a gun unless there is some other indication the person may be committing a crime.

Because there is no firearm exception to the 4th Amendment, in order to justify detaining a person for carrying a firearm (to see if the person has a license), an officer would have to be able to articulate what facts and circumstances led the officer to believe the person had committed, was committing, or was about to commit a crime. In Sheriff Sills’ example, stopping someone he describes as a “thug,” with no additional information as to what makes the person a thug, just because the person possessed a firearm, would violate the person’s 4th Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

In Georgia a GWL is and element of the crime. An officer is justified in detaining a person with a firearm only if there is probably cause or the officer has RAS that a crime has been committed.

In essence, if a law enforcement officer is now stopping a person who is carrying just to check to see if he has a license then he is violating the carrier’s civil rights. This just codifies what is already a right.

Michael Silver March 26, 2014 at 10:02 am

Let’s be clear. Sheriff Stills is stopping people solely because they are black and Hispanic. He may pick on some white guys to make his policy appear even-handed but his true intent is racist and an excuse to search people.

If Stills’ people are allowed to stop everyone they imaginatively think have a weapon on them (concealed or open), we will have created a new crime of Walking While Mexican. It will be amazing how often the Sheriff’s people see guns … guns on you … guns on me. This is no different than abhorrent Stop and Frisk policy in New York City.

The Sheriff needs a copy of the Bill of Rights with the Second and Fourth Amendment circled and a reminder the Constitution is what he swore to uphold not ignore.

Michael Silver March 26, 2014 at 10:09 am

One more thing. The Sheriff’s argument that gun-toters are a threat to his officers is false and a bold face lie.

Look at the facts. Today there are more people carrying guns everyday throughout the US and yet the number of officers killed with firearms is the lowest since 1887.

EIGHTEEN EIGHTY SEVEN!

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/12/31/32-officers-killed-by-gunfire-nationwide-last-year-lowest-since-1887/

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