A broad expansion of gun rights that Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law Wednesday has divided the state’s law enforcement community, leading some sheriffs to warn that the changes endanger police officers and will lead to more bloodshed.
House Bill 60 has prompted a behind-the-scenes lobbying effort by some prominent sheriffs who urged Deal to veto the bill. In records obtained through Georgia’s sunshine laws, they express fears that the new rules will herald a flood of lawsuits and hinder police work. At worst, they say, it could lead to more injuries and deaths of peace officers.
The measure’s supporters, though, reject those criticisms. At least one outspoken sheriff called the changes overdue, saying they send an unequivocal message to law enforcement that law-abiding gun owners shouldn’t be unfairly scrutinized. And Deal said it allows those who follow the rules to protect themselves from those who don’t.
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