Guns at Churches, Bars? Cherokee Legislators Say Yes
Georgia State House members who represent Cherokee County all voted in favor of sweeping changes designed to ease gun regulations in Georgia.
The Georgia House of Representatives by a 2 to 1 margin on Thursday passed a bill that would relax gun regulations in the state, and Cherokee's Republican state legislators in the lower house voted in lockstep in favor of those changes.
House Bill 512, which passed with a 117-56 vote, would allow gun owners with a valid Georgia weapons carry license to take firearms in bars, churches, some areas of colleges and universities and onto some unsecured government properties.
State Representatives Mandi Ballinger of Canton, Michael Caldwell of Woodstock, John Carson of Marietta, Calvin Hill of Hickory Flat and Scot Turner of Holly Springs, all voted in favor of the legislation.
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The bill was approved on what's called Crossover Day, which stipulates all legislation must past one body of the assembly before it can move forward with a chance of becoming law.
Ballinger said the bill "expands the rights of Georgians to exercise their Second Amendment rights."
"Private property owners should be allowed to decide for themselves whether or not to allow guns on their property and not have that decision made for them by government mandate," she stated in a press release on Thursday.
The bill allows gun owners to carry on some areas of public colleges and universities, but still restricts guns from residence halls and competitive sporting events. It allows private universities to determine if they want to allow guns on campus.
Turner, who is also in his first term as a state legislator, voted for the legislation because "it significantly increases the ability of our citizens to exercise their Second Amendment Rights while being respectful to the rights of property owners."
Hill noted the legislation was a "culumination" of several pieces of bills the State House had been working on and was supported by a coalition that included Georgia Carry, the bill's chief sponsor State Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper) and the office of Gov. Nathal Deal.
Hill also said he believed the bill has a good chance of passing the Georgia Senate.
“I cant see why it wouldn’t at this point," he said. "It’s a very good, solid bill."