Supporters say the right to bear arms is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. They say people, not guns, are responsible for rising crime.
“Let’s stop blaming an inanimate object,” said Sen. Randy Robertson, R-Cataula.
The state would still issue concealed-carry permits to allow Georgians to take advantage of gun carry “reciprocity” with other states. Such agreements allow gun owners to carry concealed handguns in states that offer the same permissions.
SB 319 passed by a vote of 34-22. The measure now goes to Gov. Brian Kemp, who has said he supported passing legislation to allow handguns to be carried without a permit.
The measure quickly drew praise and condemnation.
“This is a great day for gun owners, as fully half of the states in America will have restored the constitutional right to bear arms without government infringement or taxation on that right,” said Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights.
Democratic Party of Georgia spokesman Max Flugrath said Kemp’s approval of the bill “would ignore law enforcement’s warnings that it would put officers in greater danger — all in an effort to gain the support of special interests and extremists” as Kemp seeks reelection.
The General Assembly also sent another firearms measure, Senate Bill 479, to Kemp on Friday.
The House voted 96-64 to require prosecutors to charge someone who already was convicted of a felony and later was arrested with multiple firearms to be charged with a separate offense for each weapon.