‘Constitutional Carry’ Bill Goes into Effect


In 2018, Brian Kemp stood out from the packed republican primary with his advocacy for permitless carry and his obvious support displayed in his gun wielding campaign ads.

On April 12, Gov. Kemp made good on his promise signing Senate Bill 319, what supporters are calling “constitutional carry” allowing Georgians to carry concealed handguns without a state registered weapons carrier license. 

Georgia capital building Photo by: Mehmet Suat

The bill reverses the previous statute that to conceal carry, the gun owner must have a state registered license. 

Kemp cited increasing state wide crime rates as the catalyst for the bill.

“There is no doubt we are in challenging times” said Kemp, “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.”

Specific regulations still restrict gun ownership, including being convicted of a felony and treatment for certain mental health issues. The new bill instead removes the background check process of obtaining a permit to carry. Background checks are still required before purchasing a handgun from a store or dealer.

Guns are still prohibited in places like the airport, government buildings and places of worship.

Kemp had said previously that he supported permitless carry but has been silent on the issue in the last three of the State of the State speeches. Pressure from former U.S. Sen. David Perdue has pushed Kemp to be more proactive in responding to gun rights advocates.

Georgia democrats have expressed their concern in removing one of the few deterrents blocking people who aren’t supposed to carry a gun. 

Rep. Roger Bruce accused Georgia republicans of caring more about furthering their political careers than the safety of their constituents, “It is a sad day when the republican leadership across Georgia cares more about their political position than public safety.”

The bill immediately went into effect after Gov. Kemp signed it on April 12.