The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee Tuesday added much of its own House Bill 512 onto Senate Bill 101, before sending the reworked legislation back to the Senate for its approval. The committee action will require another vote in the House, but will prevent a debate on the Senate floor.
The House committee kept the SB 101 provision which will allow military veterans who are under 21 and honorably discharged to get a gun carry permit. However, it stripped the part of the Senate bill which would have barred local governments from prohibiting gun owners from living in public housing.
The committee decided to drop House bill language on bars and let the current law stand, which leaves it up to establishment owners to decided if they will allow guns on their property.
The original House wording was changed on church carry and the committee version allows churches to opt in if they want licensed gun owners to carry in weapons.
The committee made no changes to the campus carry section, which would allow gun permit holders, age 21 and older, to carry guns on campus except to athletic events, fraternity or sorority houses and dormitories.
Guns would be allowed in public buildings where there is no security, but courthouses would still be off limits.
The changes reportedly have the backing of House sponsors of HB 512 and Senate sponsors of SB 101.
“While there were a few changes, the vast majority of HB 512 is in SB 101,” said District 18 Rep. Kevin Cooke, R-Carrollton, a member of the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. “I supported the measure in committee, and pending any major unforeseen changes, will be supporting it when it comes back to the House from the Senate.”
James Camp, of Temple, co-founder of GeorgiaCarry.org, the major gun rights organization backing the original HB 512, said Wednesday that he supports the new wording on campus carry and government buildings, but would like to see changes in the language on church and bar carry.
“We want implied permission (to carry), allowing a person to carry unless the owner states otherwise,” Camp said. “Other public places (where gun carrying is allowed) have implied permission.”
Camp said GeorgiaCarry will likely be at the Capitol in the final days to lobby for those language additions.
District 30 state Sen. Mike Dugan, R-Carrollton, said he feels some version of the gun bill will pass, but he declined Wednesday to pledge his approval until he sees the final version from the Senate committee. Both Dugan and District 28 state Sen. Mike Crane, R-Newnan, voted for the original SB 101, which passed the Senate by a 41-10 vote.
Meanwhile, Dugan introduced his first bill in the Senate Wednesday, which sparked a Senate tradition of razzing freshmen senators when they introduce their first piece of legislation.
Dugan signed on as Senate sponsor of House Bill 256, which would add cigar wraps to the list of tobacco related products whose purchase is prohibited to anyone under the age of 18. Cigar wraps is defined in the bill as individual wrappers that are made of reconstituted tobacco leaf. The bill now goes to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature.
Dugan said actually he presented an amendment last week to a bill on video machines in convenience stores.
“That was a more serious bill and they didn’t want to do the traditional freshman senator ceremony for it,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.