The NRA apparently does not want its members to know what is in a gun related bill pending before the General Assembly. SB 101 was amended to do the following things.
- Campus carry on public colleges, except dorms and athletic events;
- Campus carry on private colleges if the president adopts a policy permitting it;
- Government building carry where there is no security screening or courthouse (and permitting a way to avoid arrest once you see security screening);
- Church carry if the church permits carry;
- Removal of fingerprints at renewal time (saves time and $45);
- Broader preemption both as to governing entities (boards, agencies, housing authorities) and weapons (everything in the broad school definition);
- Changing the general right to "forbid" firearms on private property to a restatement of criminal trespass;
- 18-20 carry for honorably discharged vets;
- Some level of school security enhancements by personnel already at schools;
- Express statutory ban on centralized Georgia weapons carry license databases;
- Airport carry trying to make the state prove intent to bypass the metal detectors; and
- Clarifying that the unsecured area of an airport is not a government building or otherwise off limits.
In response, the NRA sent its members an email titled "Georgia: Pro-Gun Provisions Removed in House Committee" claiming that the House committee that amended the bill had removed the provisions in SB 101 that would "preempt the ban on firearms in federal housing," "enhance reciprocity," and remove state licensing for firearms dealers.
The first provision overlooks number 6 in the itemized list above. SB 101, as amended, clearly preempts any housing authorities from banning firearms. Notice that the NRA used the words "the ban on firearms in public housing," as if there was one. There is not. John Monroe, Vice President of the grassroots advocacy group, GeorgiaCarry.Org, said that he was aware of only one firearms ban in public housing in Georgia, and that was only historical. "They dropped the ban after we sent them a letter informing them that we would sue them if they maintained a ban on firearms."
As to the other two provisions, they were indeed dropped from the bill. What is curious about the NRA's letter, however, is the things it did not say. Apparently, the NRA does not deem college campus carry important enough to inform its members about. The same can be said for carry in government buildings. Neither provision was mentioned in the NRA's email message, which gave the impression that the legislators had made the bill worse.
Most ironic is the NRA's silence on the airport carry language in SB 101. This language mimics what the NRA was seeking back in 2010, when the Governor vetoed the NRA's bill, SB 291, and the mere threat of that veto caused the NRA to start unsuccessfully lobbying against the passage of SB 308, the bill that repealed the public gathering law in Georgia. You can read more about that sordid history here.
Even the removal of fingerprinting at renewal time for licensees fails to merit a mention in the NRA's email message, in spite of the fact that this will save Georgia applicants $45. This oversight by the NRA is perhaps understandable, however, given that it was NRA lobbying that inserted the fingerprint requirement at renewal time into Georgia law.
Look at dozen items in the itemized list above again, and, if you are an NRA member, ask yourself why the NRA is refusing to tell you about these important and substantial amendments to a pending bill.
SB 101 is headed to a conference committee with three days left in the legislative session. The three Senator conferees are Ginn (47), Loudermilk (14),and Staton (18), and the three House conferees are Meadows (5), Jasperse (11), and Powell (32).
Please review the list of items above and encourage these conferees to improve and pass this important legislation. The NRA is not urging its members to do this, and this bill is facing a lot of opposition from the presidents of Georgia colleges and the Board of Regents.
The final legislative day is anticipated to be Thursday, so do not wait.