Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed controversial gun-rights legislation Wednesday that significantly expands the places Georgians can legally carry a firearm.
Called by critics the “guns everywhere” bill, the Safe Carry Protection Act makes it legal with conditions to carry a gun in places like bars, schools, churches and government buildings. The new law goes into effect on July 1.
The new law will allow Georgians and visitors from 28 other states to legally carry a gun into some government buildings that don’t have security screening, USA Today reported. School districts can decide whether or not to allow employees to carry a gun, and religious leaders can decide if they want to OK guns in places of worship.
It also legalizes carrying a gun into bars, unless the owner opts out. Gun owners stopped by airport security can leave with their weapon with no penalty, according to NBC, which said 111 guns were found at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport last year.
The law also allows the use of silencers for hunting on private land.
The controversial legislation had plenty of supporters (National Rifle Assocation and GeorgiaCarry.Org) and opponents (former Rep. Gabby Giffords).
Frank Rotondo, the executive director of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, told NBC he was against the law, saying “Police officers do not want more people carrying guns on the street.”
Deal point out Wednesday that the law applies to registered gun-owners who have “been subjected to the scrutiny of the state.”
The bill had bi-partisan passage, Deal said. State Sen. Jason Carter, the Democratic nominee in the next governor’s race, voted for the bill.