Georgia Senate passes Constitutional Carry Act: Why some Columbus residents are worried

The bill ditches the requirement for a permit to carry a concealed weapon in public.
Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 12:22 AM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - As cities across the nation grapple with an uptick in violent crimes, gun laws are being revamped.

More than 20 states do not require permits to carry guns and Georgia could join them soon, as a constitutional carry bill moves through the state legislature.

This past weekend in Columbus, nearly 10 people were shot within 48 hours, including a Muscogee County Sheriff’s Deputy.

Some say if this bill passes, it could put even more lives in danger.

“That permit-less, it’s going to cause more problems for the police, yeah, and E.M.S,” said Columbus resident, Eric Glover.

With the Georgia state Senate passing the Constitutional Carry Act, some say if this becomes law, it’s a move that could be deadly.

The legislation ditches the need for Georgians to have a permit to carry a concealed firearm in public.

“Now, anybody can carry one and everybody don’t have the right state of mind to have guns. Period,” added Glover.

Currently, if you want a weapon, you must visit your county’s probate court or sheriff’s office, provide fingerprints, submit a background check and pay a $75 fee.

“I think you should have a permit,” said Norman Casler. “Everybody should. That way they’ll make sure that everybody is qualified to be carrying a gun.”

Casler is among several Columbus residents who do not support this bill. While out shopping at the Piggly Wiggly on River Road, where a man was recently shot. Casler says he’s often scared to go out.

“I’m here with my granddaughter and we shop here at the Piggly Wiggly all the time and kind of concerned about our safety,” said Casler.

However one state lawmaker says there’s no need to panic because there would still be checks and balances to get a gun.

“The background check is what keeps convicted felons and others from being able to legally purchase weapons,” said Georgia District 129 Senator, Randy Robertson.

Robertson, a former longtime Muscogee County sheriff’s deputy, says this legislation will simply increase the wait time to obtain weapons by three days which is the time to complete a background check.

“I think we find that most of the firearms used by gang members and other criminals in our community are obtained illegally,” said Robertson.

That Republican-backed bill is headed to the House for a final vote. Robertson, a Republican himself, is also a former president of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Stay with News Leader 9 for the latest updates with this legislation.

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