Atlanta, GA – A Georgia lawmaker said he has pre-filed legislation in an effort to allow law-abiding citizens to carry firearms without a permit.
State Representative Matt Gurtler argued that citizens should not be required to obtain a permit because the United States Constitution has already given them the right to bear arms, WAGA reported.
"This is only for law-abiding citizens who want to be able to conceal or open carry a pistol in the state of Georgia," Gurtler clarified.
If passed, Georgia would become one of approximately 13 “Constitutional Carry” states.
Gun owners who want to carry their weapons outside of the state would still be able to purchase a permit under the new legislation.
"If you'd like to have reciprocity with other states, you'd still have to get your Georgia weapons license and pay that fee, that tax, and you'd have that reciprocity," Gurtler said.
Georgians convicted of felonies and those who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility within the past five years are banned from owning firearms, and the legislation does not seek to change those prohibitions, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Gurtler argued that the current requirements force law-abiding citizens to pay an unnecessary tax in order to exercise their rights under the Second Amendment.
“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.”
He filed similar legislation last year, but said he expects the measure to succeed during the next session with the support of Governor-elect Brian Kemp, WAGA reported.
“We’re just glad that we actually have a governor now that’s gotten behind this,” Gurtler said. “We’re just thrilled that he does support constitutional carry.”
State Representative Mary Margaret Oliver strongly opposed the legislation, and said the state should be imposing more gun restrictions instead.
"More gun relaxation of carrying guns, more guns, more places, more days with no review, no background checks, it's not what Georgia voters want," Oliver told WAGA.