Law Enforcement Split on Georgia’s New Handgun Laws

After a recent rash in mass shootings in the United States, many believed that laws restricting the sale, availability, and use of firearms were inevitable.  But, contrary to those expectations, major legislation on a national level was impossible to pass through the Congress, leaving states to craft their own legislation.

While many states have reacted by restricting firearm availability, the state of Georgia recently reacted in the opposite direction, by increasing the number of locations where its citizens can carry firearms.  Not only has the passing of the law been controversial among the state’s residents, it has also revealed deep divisions in the state’s law enforcement community.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal recently signed a law which will allow guns to be carried in many locations where they were previously banned, including in some schools, bars, and churches.  Many of the state’s sheriffs believe that the law will unnecessarily increase the number of firearms being carried in the state, and will likely lead to increased danger for civilians and law enforcement officials alike.  In fact, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper reports that several prominent sheriffs lobbied the state’s governor to veto the bill after it had passed the state’s legislature.  In addition to expressing fears that the new law will lead to greater injury and death, they also expressed concern that the rules could result in a flood of lawsuits and a hampering of police work.

However, other sheriffs believe that the new law is a step in the right direction, with one even calling it long overdue.  These sheriffs maintain the position that law abiding citizens should be able to carry their guns throughout the state, and that those who follow the law should not be scrutinized unfairly.  In their opinion, those who obey the law should be able to protect themselves from those who do not.


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