State Sen. Mitch Seabaugh (R-Sharpsburg), majority whip and chairman of the Senate Comprehensive Firearms Law Study Committee, today convened the third meeting of the study committee at the Capitol to hear the public’s opinion on licensing.
“There’s no continuity in the licensing process. With 159 counties having 159 different ways of issuing licenses, there’s no way an application and enforcements don’t fall through the cracks,” said Seabaugh. “The law needs to be fair to law-abiding, gun-carrying citizens and ensure infractions and prohibitions are monitored and reported correctly, effectively and efficiently.”
Many agree that adjustments to licensing provisions need to be addressed. During the meeting, comments were heard from numerous interested parties including probate judges, constituents, firearms organizations and law enforcement officers. The overall discussion focused on whether to centralize licensing for efficiencies and consistencies in approvals, monitoring and reporting of infractions, fees and costs.
Probate judges expressed concerns over prohibiting licenses based on Federal or State regulations, the cost of processing, proper reporting of prohibitions and reporting those who carry a license that break the law, and the time it takes to receive information from Federal authorities to approve licenses. Additional issues brought to the committee were training provisions, the first offender plea, options for carrying weapons other than firearms perceived to be less lethal (pepper spray, knives), and the age for carrying a concealed weapon.
Sen. Seabaugh noted that the following meeting will be held on November 13 and will focus on the remaining issues of the carry law, including schools and universities, giving school districts and university systems a large forum for discussion.
The Comprehensive Firearms Law Study Committee was created in the 2008 session to examine Georgia’s firearms laws and the way these laws are applied in our state.
The Study Committee includes Senators Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock), Don Balfour (R-Snellville), George Hooks (D-Americus) and Preston Smith (R-Rome).