A bill to codify the right to carry a concealed firearm without first having to get a government-issued permit was approved Monday by Georgia senators. 

State Senate Bill 319, the "Georgia Constitutional Carry Act," sailed through the body in a 34-22 roll call this week, sending it to the state House for further consideration. 

"Today, we secured a huge win for the 2nd Amendment in Georgia," said state Sen. Jason Anavitarte, sponsor of SB 319. "Thank you to my colleagues for fighting alongside me. Looking forward to working with the House to send this bill to the Governor!"

Anavitarte's measure lines out several elements of state law regarding illegally carrying a concealed weapon, replacing them with the recognition that, so long as they are a "lawful weapons carrier," a Georgia Weapons Carry License, or WCL, is not a requirement. The bill keeps the state's popular WCL system in place, which is valuable for reciprocity purposes with more than 30 states that recognize them. 

The Peachtree State is one of only six – along with Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Texas – that have more than a million active concealed carry permits in circulation. Of those half-dozen states, just one, Texas, has permitless carry while Pennsylvania's anti-gun governor vetoed a similar proposal last year. However, Alabama, Florida, and Indiana are all currently weighing so-called constitutional carry legislation of their own. 

Georgia's Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, speaking in January at the Governor's Forum at SHOT Show, said, "I would just say we’re gonna make a big push to get constitutional carry done this year in Georgia. I believe we’ll do it."

Banner image: A vintage S&W 645 getting some sun on the range. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

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