Catoosa County residents respond to new permitless carry bill

Law signed into effect by Governor Brian Kemp on Tuesday

CATOOSA COUNTY, Georgia (WDEF) — On Tuesday, April 12, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed Senate Bill 319 into law, allowing Georgians to immediately exercise permitless gun carry in the state.

This makes Georgia the tenth state to legalize a concealed carry law in the past two years.

Governor Kemp said the bill “makes sure that law-abiding Georgians can protect themselves without having to have permission from your state government.”

However, in the eyes of some state residents, this right was already theirs.

“I believe the Second Amendment’s plenty enough [of] a carry permit for anybody,” said Catoosa County resident Jacob O’Neal. “The permit does help with the background checks but I think it is a step in the right direction. They’re trying to make more of a stance on gun control clear. You have the right as an American citizen to own a gun and the government does not have the right to take that away from you.”

Catoosa County Commissioner Chuck Harris says the new bill allows any Georgian with “no criminal background or intent” to not be punished for carrying a gun.

Like O’Neal, Harris also said this right is guaranteed in the US Constitution. But he also believes the governor made the right decision.

“The Second Amendment is a Constitutional right and I think by that, I’m in agreement with Governor Kemp,” Harris said. “I think it’s something that was overdue and I’m glad that the governor went ahead and did it.”

Harris also believes that the bill’s passing makes Georgia safer, saying law-abiding citizens are the only ones harmed by gun control.

He brought up the age-old saying, “when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”

“The people that have the idea of criminal mischief, they don’t bother with [carrying] permits and things, so it’s really the law-abiding citizen that was held to a different standard,” Harris said. “I feel like this is a good, even playing field that takes away that hindrance for a citizen that just wants to exercise their Constitutional right.”

With elections coming up next month, one of Kemp’s challengers, Senator David Perdue also said he was “glad” that Kemp signed the bill.

Governor Kemp, like O’Neal and Harris, was quoted saying this is a right given to us by the Constitution, “not the government.”

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