The NRA Went Down to Georgia

Not too long before Charlie Daniels came up to Charlotte to play for the NRA Convention, a controversy erupted in the State of Georgia over NRA’s action on two recent bills which are currently awaiting the signature of Governor Sonny Purdue. It took me a while to blog about this, because the issues are complex. It takes time to research the statutes, read the both bills, the amendments and changes. All this while trying to find out how the lawmaking process in Georgia works, trying to understand Georgia Law, and getting NRA’s side of what happened.

The accusation, which appears to be leveled by, and appears on goes something like this:

The NRA was actively sabotaging SB 308 all night tonight. I witnessed this firsthand. They tried to amend it with something that they believed would draw a Governor’s veto. When that failed, they began telling lies about the bill to politicians and the press. I could not believe what I was seeing. I was spending hours running around correcting NRA lies about the bill.

Then Senator Steve Thompson took the well and said what everybody knew, that the Senators had “cover” to vote against the bill, in spite of GCO’s letter letting them know we are tracking their vote, because “The NRA opposes this bill.”

Except that NRA was supporting this bill from the beginning, as early as March by public record, they even released this letter to the bill’s sponsor to me showing their support for the bill from the beginning. Currently they are urging Purdue’s signature on the bills as finally passed. If this is what NRA opposition to a bill looks like, I’d hate to see what support would be by this standard. Chaining the Governor to a desk with only their bill and a pen, in the hopes that he’ll sign before deciding to gnaw off his leg? The fact is, NRA has supported this bill from the beginning. So what really happened? Here’s what my research into this matter has revealed.

When SB308 went into conference, the conference committee’s first report stripped the airport language out of the bill, which made NRA none too happy, and they asked that it be put back in. Despite the fact that detractors have pointed out that both bills contain language to fix the airport problem, what they seem to have overlooked is that SB308 strikes the portion of the law that SB291 amends with the airport language. If you pass SB291, and pass SB308 without the airport language, you don’t clearly get airport carry in the final result.

The second conference report still did not contain the airport language, and included language from the Georgia Realtors Association, but no one wanted to say what that language was. Given that GRA had caused problems on the parking lot bill of last year, this was cause for concern about their language being in the report. NRA asked that the language be removed. It was not, and NRA did not discover what the language was until the conference report actually came out.

Now the key bit of information here is that when you’re dealing with reports from a conference committee, you can’t propose amendments. It’s not just a matter of asking them to stick something back in. All you can do is demand that the report be voted against, reconvene the conference committee, and get them to vote on a new report. That’s easy to do when you have time, but this was all happening on the last day of the session. The second report wasn’t issued to Senators until 9:25pm. It has to be on their desks for a least an hour before there any action on the bill. Adjournment was at 12am, and then the session would be over for this legislative year. That meant a very frantic push to try to find out what was in the bill, what changes were made, the impact of those changes, and whether or not they were bad enough to warrant demanding Senators vote down the conference report, which very well could have killed the bill for the session. I’m going to guess that while NRA was evaluating the language, they were making preparations for having to kill the bill if the language turned out to do something awful. But in the end they made the judgement call that it was good enough, and supported the bill moving forward to final passage. This would have seemed very confusing to someone who did not have a clear picture of what was going on, which presented some of the anti-gun Senators with opportunity to spread a little FUD around.

So basically, what Georgia’s “no compromise” group is complaining about, at its root, was that NRA seemed willing for a while to kill the bill rather than compromise. I am completely fine with legitimate criticism of NRA — they do make mistakes — but so much of the criticism out there is barely researched nonsense. is striking me as one of these groups trying to boost itself up by tearing others down. I hope I’m wrong about that, because SB308 is not a perfect bill. There will be more legislating that needs to happen next session. I sincerely hope that acts in good faith when that time comes. We do better when we work together rather than trying to tear each other up.

63 thoughts on “The NRA Went Down to Georgia”

  1. “ is striking me as one of these groups trying to boost itself up by tearing others down.”

    That statement would be an incorrect assessment. GCO has worked very hard, doing things the right way in correcting Georgia’s Jim Crow based carry laws. GCO has labored long in these efforts, and I for one certainly appreciate them as the official NRA State Affiliate, the Georgia Sport Shooting Association, is on the ropes as far as legislative activity. I support both, but it is GCO that has made an impact in state politics, more so than the NRA. Nor, in any GCO communication (at least the official ones), has there been any denigration of the NRA.

    I’m going with Occam’s razor on this one. Some simple coordination between the NRA and GCO does not seem to have occurred, for whatever reason. Yes, it was a mad dash at the end that all of us were watching, and it wouldn’t surprise me that under the stress of Getting Things Done, some wires got crossed and nerves frayed.

  2. Sebastian, I appreciate your insights and your activism to promote gun rights. But in this instance you are just wrong. I am an NRA Life Endowment member. But I wish that the NRA would just stay out of Georgia when it comes to pushing legislation. They screwed Georgia over last year by killing pro-carry legislation so that they could pass their parking lot bill. No one in Georgia gave a rat’s ass about their parking lot bill. Georgia gun owners and carriers wanted specific changes to carry laws. And we were on the way towards getting them until the NRA decided their parking lot bill was more important. Why? Because that was the bill du jour for the NRA. That was what they were pushing around the county so that they could show that they are doing something.

    Your comments about GCO are also incorrect. If anything I would say from the beginning that GCO didn’t have an opinion about NRA. If they did they kept it to themselves. They just went about their business of pushing for pro-gun legislation, defending gun owners in legal matters, and suing local government and the state government when they did not follow the law regarding carry. It was only when the NRA tried to put themselves in the middle of everything than someone related to GCO made negatrive statesments about the NRA. Seeing what I have seen over the last 2-3 years I can put it this way, I will take Ed Stone’s word on what happened long before I take the NRA’s word or your after the fact research on what happened.


  3. I thought I remember NRA pushing the bill to fix the carry laws after they got the parking lot bill. I also would not say that no gun owners in Georgia “give a shit” about it.

    I’m not a proponent of parking lot legislation, and I’ve made that clear on here. I get a lot of gun owners coming on to disagree with me on that one.

    Does GCO have the clout to push bills on its own? What’s it’s membership? Does it have a PAC? Can it send me volunteers? These are questions politicians are going to ask, and NRA can answer. What’s GCO’s answer?

    Maybe the can, but these are things you need to ask before asking NRA to leave your state

  4. Sebastian,

    There is no dispute about the NRA supporting SB 308 earlier. They did. The letter you linked is for an earlier version of the bill. The issue is over them not supporting the bill the evening of the last day of the session. They indeed did not. Now that it passed anyway, without NRA support, the NRA is publicly asking their members to urge the Governor to sign it. Good.

    None of that has anything to say about their conduct on April 29, Thursday evening. The fact is that they did not support SB 308 that evening, and it passed without their support.

    I have seen every issue that they had with the bill, and the drafts of the bill (that were circulated to the NRA well ahead of time, so please do not drink the Kool Aid they are selling about not seeing the language), and, ironically, the one thing they did not have an issue with was a “stop and i.d.” law that somebody inserted into a draft. This provision would have been a brand new statute that called on police officers to detain and i.d. anybody carrying a gun, and, if the person did not have a license, make an arrest. If the person had a valid license, then he could later produce it at trial and receive a small fine. Of course, this is after being jailed and God knows what else. Seeing this new provision as a blatant Fourth Amendment violation and a license to harass law abiding carriers, GCO fought hard and was successful in urging removal of that provision. The NRA, though, was ok with it. Not a peep.

    Their concerns about realtor language are a smokescreen, as the language clearly stated “except for 16-11-135,” which is the parking lots language the NRA passed here. It was the third time that the language was inserted into SB 308 in unnecessary places, redundantly, just to mollify them and make sure that they would not claim the bill trampled on their parking lots law. Yet the NRA is claiming it anyway, and you are repeating it. Read the bill. It is available online.

    Nothing in SB 308 interferes with the parking lots law. In fact, SB 308 makes it legal to carry in many more parking lots than current law.

    I am not asking the NRA to leave Georgia.

    I am not asking anybody to leave the NRA.

    BUT – I am not going to sit around and pretend like they were supporting SB 308 on the last evening of the legislative session. They did not.

    I am glad to see that they are supporting it now.


  5. GCO has been involved in SB308 since day one. The primary goal of SB308 was to eliminate the confusing public gathering language. It was later amended early (which the NRA supported) with the airport language. The NRA has been very specific to support their LC 29 4230S version of SB308.

    It’s nice the NRA supported a bill, but to have them actively sabotage a bill to remove a Jim Crow law is unnerving. You may think it’s nice to have the NRA as a friend, but like in domestic abuse cases, women still love their abusive boyfriends and husbands. GCO’s leadership and lobbyists have seen NRA’s abusive behavior and it was well demonstrated in Georgia’s General Assembly just before SB308 passed with an overwhelming majority.

    In no way is GCO trying to puff it’s chest by denigrating the NRA. It’s the former NRA members who are tired of the NRA’s abuses which are speaking out and leaving the NRA.

  6. Thank you Matthew, thank you Ed Stone. I will become a life member of GCO. I will probably let my NRA membership expire. GCO knows whats best for Georgia. If the NRA can contribute, fine. If not then they should simply stay out of the way.

  7. If I remember correctly (via the GPDO forum) NRA had been approached to team up on the issues but GCO was met with silence.


    The above link will take you to an article I wrote about the events of 4/29. I make no assertion that I am a completely neutral observer as I clearly am not one.

    I didn’t write the article based on GCO’s version of what happened. I wrote it based on my own observations and those of people that were on the floor of the General Assembly that night and that are not part of GCO.

    Whether the NRA-ILA made a knowing attempt to sabotage SB308 is debatable, but the actions of the individual lobbyist representing the NRA-ILA clearly were detrimental to the passage of SB308.

    As for “no compromise” and GCO, where exactly did they compromise? The airport language was already covered SB291, and the governor indicated that he would veto it. Splitting the legislation was clearly the right call. SB308 exponentially improves the carry laws in Georgia. GCO didn’t get everything that it pushed for, but they don’t get a vote in the General Assembly. They didn’t compromise; the sponsors in the General Assembly did, just as they should have. They got what they could get, and it is an improvement. Had they not done so, presuming the provisions will become law, we would be left with vague terms such as “public gathering” that have no definition and leave both the citizen and the peace officer in a legal vacuum.

    I clearly have my issues with GCO and am not bashful about sharing them, I also recognize and am not bashful about stating that in Georgia they clearly are far more effective than is the NRA-ILA.

  9. Here’s what the bill’s sponsor had to say about the events. Maybe he’s drinking the kool aid too?

    Thank you for your e-mail regarding SB 308.

    SB 308 passed on the 40th and last day of our session. The last day is very busy and since it is a do or die day for legislation, emotions and anxiety are at a heightened level.

    The day began with the restaurant association expressing with SB 308. That was unexpected and it took more than three hours to work those concerns out and get the bill on the House floor for a vote. After the bill passed the House the work began on a conference committee report.

    A conference committee takes into account the respective language passed in the Senate and the House versions, but the committee also takes into consideration input from other stakeholders. In this case, the Governor’s office and the NRA were among those giving input on a bill for final passage.

    It takes time to try to work out individual questions and concerns. Attorneys are consulted and language has to be written. The first draft of a conference committee report was available about 4:00 pm. Stakeholders began reviewing and providing input on any areas they had questions or concerns.

    The NRA provided some input on areas they felt needed to be looked at, just like the other stakeholders. We looked at the input we received and where necessary, changes were made. The state’s attorneys and the Attorney General’s office did not agree with all the suggestions that were received.

    Since the last day is do or die, the level of stress is very high.
    When someone feels there is language in a bill that might harm the bill’s ability to obtain the Governor’s signature, the sense of urgency is at a high level to make sure the issue is communicated.

    A final bill draft was finally produced around 8:30 pm. Unfortunately there was not the time for additional in-depth discussion on the merits of certain interpretations. Since a conference committee bill has to be on the desk for one hour before it can be voted on, we were out of time. The session ends at midnight of the 40th day. By the time the bill was printed to be passed out and placed on all Senator’s desks, it was 9:23 pm. The bill was taken up for final passage and voted on at 11:03 in the Senate and 11:04 in the House.

    It is unfortunate that the process produces such a frantic ending to our session. There are numerous bills that are under at risk for not being passed and that raises the stress level for almost all members of the General Assembly and all of the lobbyists involved. The NRA was supportive of SB 308 and were just trying to ensure we had the very best language and that we didn’t cause the bill to be vetoed.

    The NRA has expressed their support for the bill privately and publicly and are currently lobbying the Governor to sign SB 308 along with another good bill that passed this session, SB 291.

    The last night produces high drama and tension. This year’s session was not different. The fact is SB 308 and SB 291 both have passed and are on the Governor’s desk for signature. Our focus and our efforts need to now be on urging him to sign both.

    Thank you for your e-mail and feel to let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

    Mitch Seabaugh
    Georgia State Senate, District 28
    (404) 656-6446
    mail – at –

    And this matches up very closely with what I heard from NRA, so I’m not drinking any kool aid, so much as the various things I’ve been able to find don’t match up to GCO’s assertion that NRA did not support this bill.

    It also begs the question why Georgia’s “no compromise” gun rights group is OK with compromising on the airport carry issue? You don’t get airport carry if you pass SB308 as is because SB308 guts the section the other bill amended with the airport language.

  10. Maneuvering in the smoke-filled rooms is a complicated game, and politics is the art of the possible. Looking in from outside, it can be difficult to understand some of the tactical maneuvering. NRA-ILA is a relatively tactically conservative group, too, preferring advancing slowly and surely (and falling back the same way) to bravura leaps both ways.

    But turning your back on them in a huff is no way to change their attitude.

  11. Scott:

    I’m still trying to figure out how you were abused. How is trying to get airport carry abuse? You don’t get it with the way the bill is now because the first bill is amending a subsection that the second bill removes.

    You might not care about parking lot carry, but other NRA members do, which I find out every time I post something negative about Parking Lot carry. So I can understand why NRA would be concerned about language from the GRA.

    So again, how is this abuse?

  12. Since you asked direct questions I will answer:

    Does GCO have the clout to push bills on its own?
    Yes. This has been demonstrated.

    What’s it’s membership?

    Does it have a PAC?
    I believe that they do but I am not able to locate the info at the moment.

    Can it send me volunteers?
    Yes. Members volunteer all the time. One of GCO’s biggest themes to members is to get to know your state representatives personally.

    You may scoff at 5,000 members, but most of those are active in gun rights. Does the NRA have 5,000 active members in Georgia? Personally, I would say the answer to that is no they do not. I have no data to support it, it is just a feeling from being local and on the ground – there are more active GCO members in Georgia active NRA members.

    Keep in mind while I write this I am drinking coffee out of my NRA 125th anniversay coffee mug.

    The best case scenario would be for NRA to be the enforcer and muscle and not ever open their mouth about legislation. Let local people who know what local gun activist want shape and push legislation. Then the NRA can be the muscle if required.

    The four biggest concerns for local people are:
    1. Removing the public gathering language
    2. Carry in restuarants that serve alcohol
    3. Carry on public transportation (i.e. MARTA)
    4. Carry on college campuses

    I can now carry on MARTA and in restuarants that serve alcohol. Why? Because of GCO. I can 100% promise you that without GCO that would not be true. If it were left to the NRA it would still be illegal for me to carry on MARTA and in restuarants that serve alcohol. Those two restrictions had been in place for many, many years. Over those many years why were they never repealed? Why was there never even a serious attempt to repeal them? Why did it take a small, upstart group to get them repealed?

    Now, if the governor signs SB308 we might actually be out from under the public gathering law. How many years has that law been around? 100? We would not even be having a discussion about repealing the public gathering law if it wasn’t for GCO. We haven’t gotten campus carry yet, but SB308 does remove some restrictions which is a start.

    We may never know exactly what happened on April 29th. At some point it is a he-said-she-said situation. But make no mistake, in the last three years GCO has done far more for Georgia gun owners than the NRA or NRA-ILA has done in the last 10.

    In a nutshell, you are barking up the wrong tree.

  13. Where was the NRA for decades while the citizens of DC & Chicago were denied the right to keep and bear arms? Not until someone else filed suit did the NRA get involved.

    Why do you think that is?

    Decades passed and the NRA did absolutely nothing!

  14. You may scoff at 5,000 members, but most of those are active in gun rights. Does the NRA have 5,000 active members in Georgia? Personally, I would say the answer to that is no they do not. I have no data to support it, it is just a feeling from being local and on the ground – there are more active GCO members in Georgia active NRA members.

    NRA claims tens of thousands of members, and I could swear I remember being involved in passing all those bills you mention.

    I am not at all against state level groups doing things. I’ve been working closely with a state level group that’s basically similarly situated to GCO. I have little doubt that GCO has done some fine work.

  15. Well, all this explains why the Georgia NRA lobbyist was being openly mocked on Armed American Radio awhile back. Seriously, if you have an issue with how the sausage is made, keep the discussion in the kitchen. Publicly trashing the NRA as GCO has been doing is not cool.

    I’ve been thinking about joining GCO since I use to live in Georgia and go back from time to time, but this is the second incident that gives me pause.

  16. GCO is not bashing the NRA. GCO members who are (or former) NRA members are bashing the NRA.

    Sebastian, you forget the primary function of SB308 was to repeal the public gathering law, not fix airport carry. And if the language wasn’t perfect to NRA’s liking, why sink the rest of the bill? That behavior is reprehensible.

    BTW, I take advantage of the parking lot law in my state thanks to the NRA, but HB89 was another sausage making deal conflating GCO legislative wish list and the NRA’s wish list. HB89 was about much more than parking lots.

    If all politics are local I’d advise you to relocate to Georgia and join in for the good fight. Your location in PA puts you at a great disadvantage in understanding Georgia’s carry laws, GCO’s legislative efforts and NRA-ILA activities.

  17. Sebastian, you forget the primary function of SB308 was to repeal the public gathering law, not fix airport carry. And if the language wasn’t perfect to NRA’s liking, why sink the rest of the bill? That behavior is reprehensible.

    It seems to be it’s just not compromising. Wouldn’t Georgia’s “no-compromise” group be in favor of that? Either you believe in compromise or you don’t.

    The thing is, I agree with NRA for fighting for the airport language, and I can’t blame them for not wanting to set a precedent for weakening the parking lot bill. I wouldn’t want the bill to die either, but explain to me how you get issued addressed out of conference without making noises about killing the bill? You can’t offer amendments. It’s either an up or down vote on the conference report. In the end, NRA is supporting the bill, but I can’t blame them for trying to get a better bill. Why is Georgia’s “no-compromise” group blaming them for essentially not being willing to compromise.

  18. Or just visit. You were just a hop away a week ago. I’ll even buy the pizza at Christo’s while viewpoints are discussed.

  19. Where did GCO compromise? The airport carry was already passed in SB291? Why did it need to be passed again in SB308?

    I’m pretty sure GCO actively supported SB291.

  20. The section of law SB291 amends is gutted in SB308. Go look at both. SB291 amends section 16-11-127 (e) with the following: “A person licensed or permitted to carry a firearm by this part shall also be permitted to carry such firearm, subject to the limitations of this part, in an airport in any area in which the possession of firearms is not regulated by the federal government.”

    In SB308, that section is struck. There is no 16-11-127 (e) in the version that SB308 amends. If Purdue signs SB291 you will get the airport issue fixed. If Purdue signs SB291 and SB308, SB308 will strike the airport language out, and you won’t get it.

  21. Sebastian, GCO supported SB291 and SB308 from the start and through the finish. Only the NRA’s support was waning when airport language wasn’t in SB308. Show how GCO compromised on anything? GCO didn’t have a seat at the conference committee. You are conveniently ignoring the true motive of SB308 and losing sight of the forest for the trees.

  22. @ Sebastian,

    I am not a GCO member. In fact, many say that I have an axe to grind when it comes to GCO. While I have problems with their organizational structure that led me to not be a member, and while I believe that many of their tactics actually hamper their efforts, an examination of the facts clearly shows that GCO has been far more effective here in GA in just three or four years of existence (not sure of actual start date) than the NRA has done in decades.

    As I said in a previous comment, I’m not drinking GCO’s koolaid. I spoke to non-GCO affiliated people that were there in the General Assembly that night who told me what the NRA-ILA’s lobbyist’s actions were. I blame the lobbyist individually and will continue to do so until I am shown proof that he was acting under specific directions to take the actions that he took. I will also say that the NRA-ILA’s immediate response was weak,

  23. I can understand about thinking these other things are more important than airport carry. But look at it this way. You got SB291 passed with airport carry. Presumably a fair amount of work went into getting politicians to sign up to support that measure.

    What kind of message do you think it sends to the powers that be if you push another bill that repeals the airport carry provision, and don’t even put a fight to get it in there, and keep it in there?

    It’s one thing for it to pass with a huff about the airport language being stripped. But why would it be a good idea to just pass a bill that undoes a previous effort? You guys are the ones missing the forest for the trees. You do something like that you might never get the airport carry issue fixed.

  24. The NRA already had their airport carry PASSED in SB 291. Perdue had hinted that he would veto 291. The NRA then tried to get to get it into SB 308. When GCO said no, the NRA threw their little tantrum. During debate on April 29, Nan Orrock asked Sen. Seabaugh why was the NRA not supporting SB 308. Seabugh had to answer the question. Instead of saying the real answer of no, he had to give a political two-step answer. Wouldn’t it have been easier for Sen. Seabaugh to say, “The NRA 100% supports SB 308! Next question?” The debate speaks volumes about the truth.

    See it for youself here…

    Go to April 29, 2010 Senate Session Pt. 3.

    Then go to about the 3:41:00 mark.

  25. If all politics are local I’d advise you to relocate to Georgia and join in for the good fight. Your location in PA puts you at a great disadvantage in understanding Georgia’s carry laws, GCO’s legislative efforts and NRA-ILA activities.

    It’s possible I’m misunderstanding the effect of SB291, and SB308. If someone can explain to me how I’m wrong, I’m wiling to concede that’s not the case.

  26. The airport carry issue was actually “fixed” in HB 89 from a couple of years ago. The Atlanta airport refused to comply. GCO got back in the trenches and even took the city of Atlanta to court on it. Judge Shoob legislated from the bench and agreed with Atlanta and against the people who actually wrote the bill. Where was the NRA then? Nowhere to be found as usual.

  27. Sebastian….Nothing is REPEALING airport carry. We currently do not have airport carry.

    If both 291 and 308 are signed into law we get airport carry.

    If 291 is signed in and 308 is vetoed we get airport carry.

    If 308 is signed and 291 vetoed we do not get airport carry. But airport carry is NOT repealed as we never had it.

    So nothing is or will be repealed.

    Again I ask, why did the NRA wait until someone else made a move in DC & Chicago if they are so worried about the rights of the people?

  28. Citizen T:

    I am not arguing that GCO is a worthless organization that doesn’t do good work. All I am criticizing GCO for here is giving another pro-gun organization, namely NRA, a black eye when it doesn’t appear to me to deserve one over this issue. Working with a group similarly situated to GCO, I understand what things they can do well, and what things they can’t, and I will definitely say GCO is doing more good things than PAFOA right now.

    Ron Gibson:

    You’re not reading the bills correctly.

    Go look at the sections carefully and tell me how the end result is airport carry. I’ve said it before, but I’ll repeat:

    The section of law SB291 amends is gutted in SB308. Go look at both. SB291 amends section 16-11-127 (e) with the following: “A person licensed or permitted to carry a firearm by this part shall also be permitted to carry such firearm, subject to the limitations of this part, in an airport in any area in which the possession of firearms is not regulated by the federal government.”

    In SB308, that section is struck. There is no 16-11-127 (e) in the version that SB308 amends. If Purdue signs SB291 you will get the airport issue fixed. If Purdue signs SB291 and SB308, SB308 will strike the airport language out, and you won’t get it.

    I know you don’t have airport carry right now. But if Purdue signs SB291, it amends 16-11-127 (e) with language that allows airport carry. SB308 then comes along and strikes 16-11-127 (e) from the law, and does not replace it in the new language. I don’t see any way but to conclude that SB308 strikes airport carry from the law. When they go to revise Georgia’s statues, there won’t be any airport language in there.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but if I’m wrong, I’d like to understand how it’s not the case.

  29. Again I ask, why did the NRA wait until someone else made a move in DC & Chicago if they are so worried about the rights of the people?

    For DC, because when the Parker case originally started to move, we did not have five justices on the Supreme Court who would vote for an individual Second Amendment? We were very lucky with that case. Gura put together a fantastic case, and he’s a damned fined attorney, but from what I’ve heard O’Conner was not friendly toward the issue, and I would point out we won Heller by a single justice.

    As for Chicago, NRA filed a parallel case almost immediately after Heller was handed down. The Court took Gura’s case and made NRA a party to it, which caused some issues, but hopefully it all works out in the end.

  30. Read section 1-2(g) further down:[quote](g) Notwithstanding Code Sections 12-3-10, 27-3-1.1, 27-3-6, and 16-12-122 through 16-12-127, any person with a valid weapons carry license may carry a weapon in all parks, historic sites, or recreational areas, as such term is defined in Code Section 12-3-10, including all publicly owned buildings located in such parks, historic sites, and recreational areas, in wildlife management areas, and on public transportation; provided, however, that a person shall not carry a handgun into a place where it is prohibited by federal law. [/quote]
    Is this what you’re looking for?

  31. That’s the relevant section… if you go find that in SB308, you’ll notice it’s struck through. What I’m suggesting happens is that SB291 amends that section, and SB308 strikes it out. The language is not replaced in the part SB308 replaces the struck out section with.

  32. @ SEB,

    SB308 doesn’t repeal anything from SB291.

    SB291 passes airport carry into law. SB308 removes the “public gathering” language and replaces it with a list of specifically off limits places. SB308 also changes the Georgia Firearms License to the Georgia Weapons License allowing for the concealed carry of knives, etc.

    Both bills are an improvement and stand on their own without harming the other. What the NRA-ILA lobbyist tried to do was reinsert the airport language into SB308 even after the governor said that he would veto it.

    Now, if the governor vetoes 291, we still get 308. If the airport language were in 308 and the governor vetoed it we would lose everything.

  33. I don’t see a conflict. SB291 is an amendment to 16-11-127 adding the underlined text. 16-11-127 becomes the underlined portion in SB291 if my understanding is correct.

  34. Seabaugh’s letter also matches up with what GCO says happened too.

    Did the NRA have concern for the bill? Yes.

    How much concern? Seabaugh said “the sense of urgency is at a high level to make sure the issue is communicated.”
    Doesn’t the threat of the vote being a grading issue convey that pretty well? I think it does.

    Did GCO say the NRA did not ever support the bill? No

    Does GCO say the NRA does not currently support the bill? No

    GCO said the NRA threatened the bill because the NRA did not like what was done to a certain part of the bill.

    Seabaugh says the NRA supported it, they just wanted to convey the level of urgency they felt about a part of the bill.

    Frankly the only difference I see is that Seabaugh is claiming the the NRA was just bluffing and that they didn’t really mean what they said.

    GCO says that the NRA threaten the version of the bill that did not have the wording the NRA wanted. To GCO, that threat indicated a lack of support.

    Seabaugh says the NRA urgently communicated their disagreement with the version of the bill that did not have the wording the NRA wanted. To Seabaugh, that communication meant that the NRA supported both but would greatly prefer the version with their wording intact.

  35. Bills don’t really stand on their own. There’s a body of law called the Georgia Code. You can find it here:

    Every state has something like this. The federal body of law is the Untied States Code. But either way, each bill amends this particular body of law.

    SB291 amends 16-11-127, section (e) with language allowing you to carry in airports.

    SB308 strikes out that entire section of 16-11-127, and replaces it with different language. NRA wanted the airport language in the bill in order to preserve that, and it was taken out.

    Do you see what I’m saying? SB291 amends a section of law that SB308 strikes wholesale and replaces. If you’re going to have airport carry, it needs to be in the language that replaces the section struck out, otherwise you don’t get airport carry.

  36. Lost amid the bickering is the issue that SB308’s definition of “long gun” will prove problematic. Some people are going to be very surprised (wih handcuffs) when they exercise what they think are some new rights. On balance things improve a lot, but new problems emerge.

  37. GCO said the NRA threatened the bill because the NRA did not like what was done to a certain part of the bill.

    I don’t think that’s in dispute. I agree that NRA probably did threaten the bill in order to preserve the airport language and keep the GRA language out of the bill. They seem to have called that “sabotage” and accused NRA of lying. I’m arguing NRA’s position was completely reasonable.

  38. @ Sebastian

    I am the Chief Deputy of one of GA’s counties, which means I am second in command of all law enforcement in the county, I am a POST instructor, and I wrote the only current POST lesson plan on the carry laws in GA. I really appreciate you letting me know that we have codes in GA…………..

    SB291 allows for airport carry in non-TSA secured areas of the airport. Current law makes even driving through the airport with a weapon in the vehicle a crime.

    SB308 makes the changes that I have already mentioned.

    They stand alone and both change different portions of the carry laws. They don’t cancel each other out.

  39. @ Sebastion

    What the NRA-ILA lobbyist did was threaten members of the General Assembly with bad NRA ratings if they didn’t insert the airport language into 308.

    The airport language passed two days prior, and the governor indicated that he would veto it.

    308 was passed without the airport language. It does not supersede the airport provisions of 291. They would both go into effect.

    If the governor nixes 291, we still get the improvements of 308; however, we would stand to lose them if the airport provisions caused the governor to veto them.

  40. 291 would change the airport provision

    308 changes everything else

    If go into law, the changes made to the overall carry law by both bills go into effect and do not cancel each other out.

  41. So you’re saying 16-11-127 does not get struck out by SB308? Then what does the strike text on 16-11-127 actually do if not strike that from the Georgia Code and replace it with new language?

  42. The governor has to veto the bills to kill them at this point. There isn’t a pocket veto here. He actually has to proactively veto.

    If he does nothing, both bills will go into law. If he vetoes both, they both die, or he could veto one or the other.

    He indicated that he would veto 291. Turning around and putting those same provisions in 308 would have been stupendously stupid.

    It would be great if we get both bills into law, but if I had to choose, I would rather have 308 as I think would everyone else educated on the subject.

  43. 16-11-127 isn’t the only code section that will be changing, and while I can’t remember the exact language my understanding was that the laws would not supersede each other.

    There was some concern that the order in which they were signed would matter, but that does not appear to be the case.

  44. As a NRA member since 1964, Life Member since 1967, currently a Patron Life Member of the NRA and Life Member of GCO, I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt who is doing a stalwart job of restoring 2A rights to Georgia and that is GCO.

    Less than 3 years ago, GCO, after being laughed out of a high ranking NRA official’s office during a meeting set up by a member of the board of directors of the NRA, simply for having the audacity to imply that GCO and the NRA could work together and pass laws that would benefit Georgians, GCO began a long and arduous task of getting the public gathering laws removed from the books.

    That was close to happening in 2008 when HB89 was trashed by the NRA and saved only by GCO and a House member of the conference committee. The NRA fought that bill until it became evident that it would pass and then quickly turned and began to support the bill. Basically using the same scenario as now by producing documents and urging their members to write the governor. I guess GCO is not old enough for anyone to determine on their own that there could be a pattern of behavior of the NRA that is beginning to form.

    Let’s see, fight it ’til you see you are gonna loose, then turn and say, Hey! we were supporting this all along. I’m sure that had Sebastian reported on the facts of HB89 passing, the results of his “findings” would be similar to today.

    Yes, the NRA is huge and as such, surely employ more spin doctors than GCO has members. And, it seems to pay off for them.

    If you examine your documents proving that the NRA backed SB308 “all the way”, why did they wait until March 19 to write to Senator Seabaugh expressing their support for the bill instead of writing on or about January 13 when the bill was originally introduced?

    As a member of GCO who attended every hearing on SB308, (8 were held) I can tell you that at every hearing that allowed public comment, GCO had at least one member speak for the bill. NRA, not so much. I didn’t even see a NRA pin in the room although I know there were NRA members there, myself being one. So, does the NRA just support from behind the scenes or do they take an active role in public hearings where the will of the people have an opportunity to be heard?

    You may bad mouth GCO all you wish. We are a strong group of gun clinging individuals that will not be tromped on or stopped until we get our right to bear arms completely restored. I just wish the NRA felt the same way.

  45. Regardless of what is struck out in SB308, SB 308 repeals the vague public gathering laws and replaces it with a list of places of limits, not present on this list are AIRPORTS.

    SB 291 adds a subsection that specifically mentions non secure areas of airports as being legal, but with SB 308 making no mention of airports, then, to my understanding, it to makes airport carry technically legal.

  46. I am not as learned as most of you fine gentlemen are, but I see this in a common sense way. The NRA is on and should remain at a national level, to keep the feds at bay with our 2nd amend. rights. Any state that has a grassroots org. that is actively supporting it’s members should be “assisted” by a national group when asked to do so, not take over. The locals always know what is better for them then any national org. could ever understand. It’s kinda like the fed. gov. telling a state what to do, get my point ? I at one time was a member of the NRA and may rejoin their ranks in the future. I really need to see them actually stand up to the feds and actually support and defend our 2nd amend. rights, before I rejoin them again. I am currently a GCO member and will remain so for the time being, as I truly believe they are doing a good job. I have seen first hand what they have done to help me keep up the fight for my 2nd amend. rights. From what I have seen with the NRA, as of late, they seem to act like our politicians in DC. Of course this is only my observations, your mileage may vary. My funds are limited, I spend my money where it will do the most good, at this time, it is here in Georgia with GCO. Bickering back and forth will certainly get us no where fast, the NRA, needs to be 100% “behind” GCO and all it does for it’s members, I may very well send them a check then to reinstate my membership. This is not a game, it should not be politics as usual, we need to be helping one another, at all times. Why didn’t the NRA stand shoulder to shoulder with the GCO lawyers when they took the city of atlanta to task about hb89 and airport carry last year ? If airport carry was so important to them, this would have been a golden opportunity for them to assist the state of Georgia and it’s NRA members to over turn a liberal judge’s ruling of a law passed by it’s citizens. How much of a return did the Georgia members of the NRA get for their $35.00 then ? As a GCO member, I received a hard fought battle, that’s not over yet, for my $15.00. Again, get my point ? The NRA should be working hand in hand with any state run org. fighting for our 2nd amend. rights, not trying to out flank them.
    Any way, just a random thought and observation from a layman on the outside looking in.

  47. Sebastian: I have to tell you that you are wrong about 308 striking the airport section if 291. 308 only strikes current 16-11-127. If both are signed they will compliment each other in 16-11-127. You can’t introduce a bill that strikes or changes a law that isn’t there. 291 will add the airport and 308 can’t remove it since it wasn’t there for 308 to strike in the first place.

    I am not a member of GCO nor will I ever be a member of GCO. Like Mr. Weems I have an ax to grind with GCO. I also have a bigger one to grind with the NRA. I will say I did witness some of the stuff the NRA was doing and now appears to claim they didn’t. I also heard want some of the elected officials in opposition to 308 said on the floor about the NRA opposing this bill. Now why would the oposition say that on the floor in the debate if the NRA supported it?

  48. @celliott

    Exactly. The airport was of the opinion that they were off limits under the “public gathering” clause. No more PG, airport no longer off limits.

  49. I have a request in with someone who has a law degree and works on legislative issues about this topic. If I’m wrong, I will post as much. I may be wrong. I don’t dismiss that possibility.

  50. Well, the law depends on what the courts (or in this case, the ATL Airport authority) will make of it. I’ve had to wait (twice) over 6 weeks for a piece of paper that the statute law requires be issued within 30 days, thanks to the NJ courts. The tighter the law, the less wiggle room the authorities have – especially given the bad-faith acting of the authority previously

  51. @ Sebastian
    That’s not in dispute? What about the fact that the NRA reapeatedly called the Senators liers (seen on video in the Senate confirming the NRA threats)? Is it OK to tell your members that the Senators were lying when they were telling the truth and the NRA knows they are telling the truth?

    Also, if only SB308 becomes law, at the very least you can keep a firearm in your car when at the airport (something that is currently illegal). If SB308 and SB291 are combined (depending on the Governors signing order) then it will either be airport parking lot or in the (non-secure areas) airport itself. So is that difference so major that you try to kill a bill that does so much more than SB291 ever tried to do? The NRA thinks so. Or thought so.

    @ J. Lee Weems
    As reported by a former life member, Mr. Randy Kozuch said that the lobbiest was working under their direction. Specifically, “Our lobbyist NEVER do anything without direction from HQ.”

  52. Re: “long guns”

    Read the definition in SB308, then consider 16.5″ barrel rifles, and “rifled shotguns” (both are not unusual). Is is not a “soundbite” issue, so it’s not being discussed because the assorted problems are complex (ex.: >18″ barrel rifles are protected for open carry, but 16-18″ ones are not despite popularity, and just forget about NFA SBRs. This screws up my “trunk gun” plans.)

  53. @ctdonath Re: “long guns”

    If SB308 passes, what section of GA code will make a rifle with a barrel shorter than 18″ illegal to open carry? If it isn’t illegal, then it must be legal…

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