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North Georgia Republican files bill to allow permitless carry of guns

A North Georgia Republican is getting a head start on what could be flurry of proposals to expand access to guns.

State Rep. Matt Gurtler, R-Tiger, filed legislation to let anyone who is legally allowed to own a gun carry it without paying for a state-issued license.

Felons and people who were involuntarily committed to a mental institution within the past five years are not allowed to own guns in Georgia.

Currently, Georgia gun owners must pay about $75 — depending on the county probate court — to register with the state and pass a background check before being issued a license to carry a handgun in public.

“As it stands now, law-abiding Georgians are taxed millions of dollars annually for exercising their God-given natural rights of self-defense,” Gurtler said. “Under the (U.S) Constitution and in accordance with our Founding Fathers, ‘shall not be infringed’ is a no-compromise statement.”

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While chances of Gurtler’s legislation, House Bill 2, making it through the Legislature are less than slim — he has a reputation in the House as often being the lone Republican dissenter on many of the party-backed initiatives, making him a bit of a pariah in his own caucus — some form of the proposal could gain traction next year.

Gov.-elect Brian Kemp has said he supports permitless carry of weapons and has vowed to “support the Second Amendment.” Kemp was endorsed by gun rights groups Georgia Carry and the National Rifle Association.

Stay on top of what’s happening in Georgia government and politics at ajc.com/politics.

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