After two years of relative quiet on the state’s gun policy front, a sweeping pro-gun bill is moving forward in the Georgia Senate. The proposed changes include making it harder to criminally charge people who brandish their guns, expanding access for licensed gun-toters to houses of worship and some courthouses and letting gun owners with minor drug convictions keep their carry licenses.
The bill could also force cities like Atlanta to sell the firearms their police officers confiscate. Atlanta’s police chiefs have refused for years to resell the guns the agency confiscates despite a state law passed in 2012 that requires local governments to put them up for auction. “Unfortunately, there’s situations in our state where the law is not currently being abided by. This is an attempt to try to address that,” said state Sen. Tyler Harper, who’s sponsoring the new bill. Atlanta isn’t the only city that’s refused to resell confiscated guns, though it’s drawn attention for maintaining a vault containing thousands of them. Harper’s proposal would open up local governments across the state to legal action if they don’t auction off those guns once a year. Firearms confiscated by law enforcement can be sold only to federally licensed dealers, which means buyers would ultimately be subjected to background checks. [full article]