Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal today signed into law a wide-ranging gun bill that has critics howling and proponents applauding.
House Bill 60, or the Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014 — which opponents have nicknamed the “guns everywhere bill” — specifies where Georgia residents can carry weapons. Included are provisions for taking guns into some bars, churches, school zones, government buildings and certain parts of airports.
GeorgiaCarry, which lobbied for the bill, calls it “meaningful pro-gun legislation,” despite it being watered down from the group’s perspective. Still, the group has lauded the legislation, which will go into effect July 1. Americans for Responsible Solutions opposed the bill, calling it “extremism in action.”
Can Arkansas be far behind? Some locally related thoughts:
* Every Arkansas Republican candidate who responded to a recent rightwing candidate survey, with one ambiguous exception, flatly declared support for unpermitted open carry of guns. At least one of them acknowledged there was controversy over whether the legislature unwittingly approved open carry in what was thought to be a technical correction bill in 2013. But he said he was for open carry in any case. NO regulation of guns — NONE — now seems to be part of the GOP Bible in Arkansas.
* The gun nuts who stage periodic strap-on marches in hopes of forcing open carry in the state are hopeful a pending case in Northeast Arkansas will soon produce a definitive ruling.
* I’m not much of a believer in government by plebiscite. But I wonder. Since the people who seem to want guns everywhere in Arkansas are generally the same people who’ve pushed government into bedrooms and doctors offices with ballot initiatives, why not go to the ballot with a “guns everywhere” referendum? I think the results might be surprising.