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Governor Nathan Deal signs 'gun' bill, Macon residents have mixed feelings

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signs House Bill 60 allowing licensed gun carriers bring their weapons into more public places.
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Licensed gun owners will soon be allowed to carry their weapons into bars, government buildings, even some churches and schools.

This comes after Governor Nathan Deal signed House Bill 60 into law Wednesday afternoon.

In addition to expanding the areas where you can carry guns, the bill also authorizes school districts to appoint administrators and teachers to carry firearms. 

Some residents in the Macon area agree, while others think the bill goes too far. 

"Today I will put into law a gun bill that heralds self defense, personal liberties and public safety," Deal said at a news conference. 

At Eagle Gun Range in Macon, the idea of having licensed gun owners carry their concealed weapons in more public places...just makes sense. 

"Us who carry most of the time, you'll never see it on us outside. But we all carry," Hamp Dowling, the owner of the range said. 

He says licensed gun carriers aren't the ones people should worry about. 

"The bad guys that don't look at signs that say don't enter with a gun. You think he's going to stop at the door and go somewhere else? Nah," Dowling said. 

Bibb County Schools Interim Superintendent Dr. Steve Smith says there is no chance he's recommending licensed carriers with their weapons, outside of campus police, on to school property. 

"Our campus police are trained police officers. They're certified police officers and I think they're sufficient to carry guns. They know how to use them. They know when to use them," Smith said. 

While Smith isn't opposed to the second ammendment, he believes weapons and students don't mix. 

He believes knowing when to use a firearm is a big challenge, and he wouldn't feel comfortable giving that responsibility to a teacher or staff member and Dowling agrees. 

"That's one part of the law I wish they would strengthen and that they would require that you have training before you carry a firearm," Dowling said. 

One part of the bill that didn't make it past legislative session was for licensed carriers to have their weapons on college campuses. 

Bibb County sheriff David Davis says the new law will have some challenges for the sheriff's office.

He says policing government buildings will become more difficult. 

"Any other building, a recreational facility, a government administrative buildings. The only way that we can prohibit someone from carrying a weapon there is if there's a screening mechanism set there, so we can search everyone that comes in," Davis said. 

Another one Davis' concerns is now that more people will be allowed in more areas with their firearm, will they know when to use it?  He says owning a gun is a big responsibility and he wants to make sure owners are aware of that. 

Additionally, permit holders who accidentally bring a gun to an airport security checkpoint will now be allowed to pick up their weapons and leave with no criminal penalty. 

The bill goes into effect on July 1st. 



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