Georgia Republican state legislator Rep. Charles Gregory (R-Kennesaw), has introduced four new bills for the 2012 legislative year, all of which loosen current restrictions on guns. The measures, according to the blog Georgia Progress, which come less than a week after the national tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, would put more guns into circulation and lower barriers currently blocking firearms sales.
"Rep. Charles Gregory is going to fit in well with Georgia's tin foil hat caucus," said activist Bryan Long of Better Georgia. "His views are extreme and out of step with Georgia voters."
His policies, Long said, would put more guns in schools and on college campuses and strip the rights of churches, businesses and bars to prohibit firearms on their premises, making the state "worse than the wild west, where a bar owner could at least tell customers to check their guns at the door."
Better Georgia did a survey in March of this year (.pdf) that said 66 percent of Georgians, regardless of political affiliation, are against loosening concealed carry regulations in the state in any way.
"Americans want sensible gun laws," Long said. "Georgians want to ban assault weapons. His bills are going the wrong way."
Newly elected state house member Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens), who will be sworn in on January 14 told Raw Story that with regards to gun safety laws, "Denying that there is a problem is the biggest problem we have."
Frye said he felt that Gregory could have chosen a better time to introduce the House bills.
"Producing that kind of legislation only a few days after the tragedy occurred was not the most positive thing he could have done," he said. "We need to look at our mental health care situation in the state and in the nation. That's where the real problem lies."
"The idea that people have, that 'The government is going to come to my house in a tank and take my guns' and storm households," he said, "is absolutely ludicrous."
Gregory's HB26, called the Georgia Constitutional Carry Act of 2013, would allow Georgias to carry firearms in public parks, historic sites. It also would allow anyone not prohibited by law from owning a handgun to carry a gun with them at all times, thereby eliminating the need for a concealed carry permit.
HB27, the Restoring Gun Rights During State of Emergency Act of 2013, would prevent the governor from being able to restrict the buying or selling of guns during a so-called State of Emergency, meaning that at times of high fear and unrest, guns will be freely distributed to the populace.
HB28, the Restoring Private Property Rights for Places of Worship Act of 2013 would repeal the current ban on firearms in places of worship, like churches, mosques and synagogues.
And HB29, Georgia Campus Carry Act of 2013, would allow individuals to carry guns on any public or private college campus in the state.
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