Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed SB 319 into law on Tuesday afternoon, officially marking Georgia as the 25th state to sign permitless gun carry – referred to as “Constitutional carry” – into law.
“SB 319 makes sure that law-abiding Georgians, including our daughters and your family too, can protect themselves without having to have permission from your state government. The Constitution of the United States gives us that right, not the government,” Kemp said ahead of the signing.
The bill was first introduced more than a year ago, but only passed on April 1. It was sent to Kemp’s desk on April 7.
The bill strikes from existing law the requirement of a “valid weapons carry license issued pursuant to Code Section 16-11-129” to carry a gun, and instead replaces the text with “lawful weapons carrier.” It further defines “lawful weapons carrier” as “any person who is licensed or eligible for a license … and who is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a weapon or long gun.”
Georgia residents may still obtain a weapons carry license to carry in reciprocal states that recognize other state gun licenses.
Kemp also signed HB 218 which allows Georgia to recognize the right to carry of those who have weapons carry licenses from other states.
Constitutional carry was signed into Indiana state law on March 21, Ohio on March 14, and Alabama on March 10.
Nebraska, Louisiana, and Florida could soon follow, as Nebraska and Louisiana are currently voting on constitutional carry bills of their own, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called for a special session to be held to pass a constitutional carry bill.
Second Amendment advocacy groups celebrated Georgia’s passing of constitutional carry on Tuesday.
Erich Pratt, Senior Vice President of Gun Owners of America, said in a statement to American Military News, “This is good news for Georgia. Concealed carriers are the safest segment of society, and Constitutional Carry states are some of the safest in the nation. Given today’s tragic news in New York, it’s a shame the Big Apple doesn’t have permitless carry, as well. Because more than likely, someone there could have easily stopped today’s tragic shooting.”
Georgia 2nd Amendment foundation (GA2A), who was in attendance during Kemp’s signing, said, “We were honored to stand with Gov. Kemp, state lawmakers, & fellow 2A supporters today for the signing of SB319. GA is now joining 24 other states that no longer require law-abiding Americans to secure a license to exercise their fundamental, 2nd Amendment Rights.”
Firearms Policy Coalition praised Kemp and the Georgia legislature for their efforts “to advance liberty,” adding, “Georgia has proven instrumental in the fight to restore the fundamental human right to self-defense.”
Wayne LaPierre, CEO and executive vice president of the NRA, celebrated the milestone of half of all states adopting constitutional carry. “Half the nation recognizes the Second Amendment protects law-abiding citizens’ right to self-defense as an inherent and inalienable right. NRA members have led this extraordinary brick-by-brick effort in building and expanding America’s self-defense laws and we are not done!” he said in a statement.