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Georgia governor signs bill expanding gun rights in state

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoes bill limiting government agencies' ability to ban guns from buildings.
By Frances Burns   |   April 23, 2014 at 3:39 PM   |   Comments

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ATLANTA, April 23 (UPI) -- Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill Wednesday that allows Georgians to take their guns to church, bars and government buildings.

The Georgia bill became law a day after Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, like Deal a Republican, vetoed two gun bills. One, which Brewer vetoed for the third time, would have expanded the right of concealed-carry permit holders to bring weapons into public buildings and the other would have penalized local governments and officials for adopting gun restrictions more stringent than the state's.

Deal said the legislation he signed would make Georgia safer.

“People who follow the rules can protect themselves and their families from people who don’t follow the rules,” he said, adding that the Second Amendment "should reside at the forefronts of our minds.”

While the bill allows guns in schools, the legislature rejected a "campus carry" provision allowing guns on college campuses. It also allows churches to ban guns from their facilities if they wish.

But the measure greatly expands where Georgians can be armed. Analysts suggested it would allow allow convicted felons to use the "stand your ground" defense.

The Arizona bill allowed government agencies to ban guns from their buildings only if they have security guards and metal detectors at every entrance. Brewer said it would be costly for local governments.

"I am a strong proponent of the Second Amendment, and I have signed into law numerous pieces of legislation to advance and protect gun rights," Brewer wrote in her veto letter. "However, I cannot support this measure in its proposed form."

In Arizona, local governments are already barred from restricting gun rights. The bill Brewer vetoed would have allowed fines of up to $5,000 for local officials and would have allowed lawsuits for damages of as much as $100,000.

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