AG Clarifies Gun Bills

May 29, 2014 15:21 pm

by Eric The Younger · 16 comments

Today the AG announced a few clarifications regarding the two Gun bills that passed this session, HB 60 and HB 826.

The confusion arose from these two bills containing conflicting language regarding the code section that governs where an individual can carry a firearm. Some folks are under the impression that the passage of these two bills left an “accidental” campus carry provision. Here’s a full rundown of what this all means.

HB 826 amended the code section by striking language that specifically allowed permit holders to carry while picking up or dropping off their students at a school (k-12) as well as leave their weapon in their car should they have business to attend to in the school, like a parent teacher conference.

By striking all of that language, this effectively allowed carry by permit holders to carry on the real property of any school. That includes K-12, Colleges/Universities, and tech schools.

HB 60 however, left this language intact, and had amendments that made it clear that it was the legislatures intent to keep these restrictions.

Both of these bills passed and were signed by the Governor which leads to an interesting quandary: What is one to do when two bills from the same session are signed into law, yet are contradictory? Conveniently enough there is a legal precedent for dealing with this issue in Georgia. The bill that was signed last is the bill that takes priority. In this case that would be HB 60. Because of this legal principle, there is no accidental campus carry and the language that was struck by HB 826, is put back into code.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

blakeage80 May 29, 2014 at 3:54 pm

So, HB 60 Actually RESTRICTS some gun rights! It’s at best the ‘guns almost everywhere’ bill. Excuse me, I’m a little bitter because my church has a private school on the premises.

tmoore912 May 29, 2014 at 5:09 pm

“Every effort must be used to make all acts stand, and the later act will not operate as a repeal of the earlier one, if by any reasonable construction they can be reconciled.” GA. Supreme Court Gray v. McLendon, 134 Ga. 224, 230, 67 S.E. 859, 863.

Eric The Younger May 29, 2014 at 5:15 pm

“If they can be reconciled”

Stefan May 29, 2014 at 9:54 pm

The court is going to work hard to make some of the HB 826 language stick. There may be a way to save a lot of c(6)’s language and incorporate it into 127.1.

Clearly it won’t be recorded as such. The question is what GeorgiaCarry decides to do about it.

Michael Silver May 30, 2014 at 7:19 am

Based on GeorgiaCarry.Org’s past, you can be 110% certain they are going to fight the Deal/ Olens’ gun-prohibitionist interpretation in court.

This isn’t the first time GCO has challenged Gov. Deal and AG Olens in court. In 2010, GCO sued the state over the Constitutionality of the criminalization of carrying firearms in church. Deal and Olens argued in defense of gun-control and continued state control of religion and private property (http://www.georgiacarry.com/state/places_of_worship/)

In the next couple of months, we are going to see Gov. Deal and AG Olens side with leftist academics and once again fight to preserve gun-control. So much for the Republican brand.

blakeage80 May 29, 2014 at 5:27 pm

This is why judge and lawyer are careers.

Dash Riptide May 29, 2014 at 11:51 pm

Don’t be coy. Can I carry into the delivery room or not?

blakeage80 May 30, 2014 at 9:07 am

If my wife had a firearm in the delivery room….

Left Turn Only May 30, 2014 at 8:21 am

This happens every session but goes largely unnoticed unless the Acts affected are controversial. Legislative Counsel, on behalf of the General Assembly’s Code Commission, identifies conflicts, reports them, and recommends the solution before the new Acts are worked into the Code.

FormerRepub May 30, 2014 at 9:21 am

If a church has stated that guns are NOT allowed, then could someone be breaking the law if they do carry a gun into that church? It would seem churches would be required to inform the public of what they will and will not allow.

The Last Democrat in Georgia May 30, 2014 at 10:43 am

From what I understand, the portion of the Gun Rights Expansion law that permits firearms to be carried into churches is an “Opt-in” provision, meaning churches that do not want to allow firearms in their buildings are not required to post signs informing the public that no firearms are allowed.

The law appears to be setup specifically to allow churches that want to permit firearms to be carried to do so, but the churches that do not want to allow firearms to be carried into them are not required to act either way.

FormerRepub May 30, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Thank you for your response. I have read that someone could be fined up to $100 for carrying a firearm into a church which has decided not to allow them. I assume they could be charged with a misdeamnor from what I have read of the actual law. My real personal interest is that I do not want to be a member of a church that allows guns nor do I even wish to even visit one that does. Unless a church has publicly stated they will not allow guns, then I guess the public is to assume that church does permit guns.

The Last Democrat in Georgia May 30, 2014 at 3:00 pm

“I have read that someone could be fined up to $100 for carrying a firearm into a church which has decided not to allow them. I assume they could be charged with a misdeamnor from what I have read of the actual law.”

…The $100 fine for a permit holder that gets caught with a firearm is actually a reduction from the previous penalty which was much more severe and imposed a much-higher felony-level penalty on offending permit holders if I recall correctly.

It should also be noted that the $100 fine and relatively low misdemeanor-level penalty only applies to those who possess Concealed Carry Permits, if I’m correct. People without permits that get caught illegally carrying firearms in places where they are not allowed still face some very-stiff penalties from what I understand.

“My real personal interest is that I do not want to be a member of a church that allows guns nor do I even wish to even visit one that does. Unless a church has publicly stated they will not allow guns, then I guess the public is to assume that church does permit guns.”

One probably should not automatically assume that a church permits guns inside its building just because it has not publicly stated they will not allow guns.

There are so many tens-of-thousands of churches in the state of Georgia that the vast majority of churches probably have not and will not take a position on the Gun Rights Expansion law either way.

Some churches (a relative handful or very-few) probably will take a position on the gun law, but an overwhelming majority of churches probably will not take a position either way just because there are so many different churches (…liberal, conservative, urban, suburban, exurban, rural, white, black, Asian, Hispanic, multi-racial/multi-ethnic, etc). In any case, you shouldn’t worry about it because most churches probably will not care as the law is pretty much written so that pro-gun churches can allow firearms in their buildings, the law is NOT written to make gun-free churches allow firearms in their buildings against their wishes.

joe May 30, 2014 at 3:45 pm

” Unless a church has publicly stated they will not allow guns, then I guess the public is to assume that church does permit guns.”

The exact opposite is true. The law requires that the church opt-in, otherwise, you cannot carry. It is much easier to do nothing than it is to opt-in, so most in most churches nothing will change, except the penalty/fine will be much less.

rightofcenter May 30, 2014 at 10:53 pm

You are 180 degrees wrong. Unless a church expressly permits guns, you should assume that it is illegal to carry a gun into a church. Because it is .

Michael Silver May 31, 2014 at 7:45 am

Former Repub ->If a church has stated that guns are NOT allowed, then could someone be breaking the law if they do carry a gun into that church?

MS-> Its the other way; if a church says guns are allowed then Licensees can carry there. Its best to assume no guns are allowed since the default is to punish licensed gun-totters for carrying in church.

Former Repub ->It would seem churches would be required to inform the public of what they will and will not allow.

MS-> I agree but we are alone in that. There was great opposition from the Moral Monday crowd about having to post no-guns stickers on doors of churches. Governor Deal sided with them and devised Opt-In. The concept was churches could ignore talking about security so as not to upset their congregants. The default is that carry in churches is banned unless you know differently (i’m not sure how you’d know).

Former Repub -> I have read that someone could be fined up to $100 for carrying a firearm into a church which has decided not to allow them. I assume they could be charged with a misdemeanor from what I have read of the actual law.

MS-> Yes, its a $100 fine (see line 217 of the HB60) but someone who committed blasphemy by carrying in church will also likely lose their license for 5 years and potentially be exposed to Criminal Trespass as well. I mention Criminal Trespass (CT) as private property owners, churches, could use CT as a way to enforce their gun bans. Gov. Deal’s Opt In concept basically criminalizes people who oppose their church’s teachings. Like the representative of the Episcopal Church screamed in the Senate Committee hearings, it “BLASPHEMY” that must be punished by the state.

Former Repub ->My real personal interest is that I do not want to be a member of a church that allows guns nor do I even wish to even visit one that does. Unless a church has publicly stated they will not allow guns, then I guess the public is to assume that church does permit guns.

MS-> Its flipped. If the church doesn’t say anything about guns, then guns are banned by default. This law change only affects LICENSED background checked Georgians (roughly 8% of the population). These people are law abiding and responsible.

Licensees honor the property rights of others and won’t go where we are not welcomed, ie those with gun-free signs. What you’ll see after every gun law change is businesses buy no-guns stickers for their doors. After a month, those stickers are quietly removed because businesses start to see reduced sales as gun-totters go where we are welcome and the posted stores are targeted by robbers.