First day of 'guns everywhere' law in GA sparks convenience store showdown

On July 1, the state of Georgia enacted the Georgia Safe Carry Protection Act -- also known as the "guns everywhere" law -- which allows licensed gun-owners to bring their weapons to churches, bars, government buildings and other places where they were previously prohibited.

The Valdosta Daily Times reported Tuesday evening that the new law had already pitted two armed citizens against each other in a standoff at a local convenience store.

“Essentially, it involved one customer with a gun on his hip when a second customer entered with a gun on his hip,” Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress told the Daily Times.

Around 3:00 p.m., a customer entered the Enmark store on Park Avenue with a gun holstered to his hip. Another customer, who was also carrying a holstered weapon, approached the first man and demanded to see his ID and gun permit.

As he demanded the first customer's ID, the second man pulled his own gun from its holster, but pointed it at the floor. The first customer protested that he isn't legally required to show any ID or permits.

Still holding his gun, the second customer demanded again to see the other man's permit and ID. The first customer, undeterred by the unholstered weapon, paid for his purchases and exited the store, then called police.

When police arrived, they arrested 62-year-old Ronald Williams for disorderly conduct related to pulling a loaded weapon inside a place of business. Police took Williams' gun and remanded him to the Lowndes County Jail.

Chief Childress told the Daily Times that not even he and his officers have the authority to demand to see gun owners' permits under the new law.

“This is an example of my concern with the new gun law," he said, "that people will take the law into their own hands, which we will not tolerate."

[image of angry, middle-aged white men via]