Georgia Senate Approves Pair of Gun Bills: Concealed Carry at 18, Return Stolen Guns

The Georgia Senate has approved two pro-gun bills, one that would require authorities to return stolen guns to their lawful owners and one that would lower the concealed carry license age requirement from 21 to 18.

Senate Bill 350 would require law enforcement agencies throughout the state to return all seized firearms, not being held as evidence, to their lawful owners no later than 30 days after the court renders its final judgment.

Now, if the firearms cannot be traced back to the original owners, S.B. 350 would require that authorities sell those firearms at a public auction.  Current Georgia law allows for the immediate destruction of seized arms.

S.B. 350 passed by an overwhelming majority, 49-4.

The other pro-gun legislation, Senate Bill 493, also passed the Georgia senate with ease.

This bill would lower the CCW permit age requirement from 21 to 18 provided the applicant satisfies certain requirements, including certified training.

The certified training requirements are as follows:

•    Four hours of classroom instruction on gun-related laws, proper gun-handling methods and fundamentals of gun operation.
•    Four hours of instruction on a firearms range.
•    A written examination on classroom material and a practical examination on a firearms range.

S.B. 493 passed with bipartisan support with a vote of 41-13.

The impetus behind S.B. 493, according to its sponsor Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville), was to ensure young veterans had opportunities to fill jobs that require CCW permits.

“We have a lot of veterans returning from Iraq, Afghanistan and active duty National Guard. Military personnel that are highly trained,” said Loudermilk.

Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta), who cast one of the dissenting votes, had a different viewpoint.

“There is a reason we don’t allow young people to carry concealed weapons,” Fort told CBS Atlanta

Fort added that he would have supported the measure if it only granted CCW permits to military veterans 18-21.  He contended that the bill may be a threat to public safety, especially at college campuses.

“It may make campuses more dangerous, classrooms more dangerous. I’m not convinced giving an 18-year-old a 9mm to carry to class is the way to go,” said Fort.

What are your thoughts?  Should concealed carry be a right reserved for military veterans?  Or should all 18-year-olds be able to obtain a CCW?

Both bills will now head to the state House for review and consideration.  We’ll continue to keep you updated.

Photo Courtesy of CBS Atlanta

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