New law allows guns in restaurants and locked cars

Guns are now allowing in restaurants, bars and some parking lots.

Senate Bill 308 is aimed at clarifying an existing law regarding where Georgians with permits can and cannot carry a gun.

Guns used to be outlawed at public gatherings.

State Sen. Mitch Seabaugh authored the new bill and says it makes sure law-abiding citizens don't inadvertently become criminals.

"It's a significant step in the right direction because we have removed a lot of the gotcha situations," said Seabaugh. "We are not just saying that anyone can carry a firearm anywhere, you have to have a license."

Among the places people with permits may now carry a firearm are restaurants and bars.

Customers are allowed to assume that guns are OK in all private establishments unless they are told otherwise by the owner.

Harvest moon owner Bo Henry says even though guns and alcohol may not be the best mixture, he understands that people have second amendment rights.

"We don't want people coming in and being drunk with guns but I think everybody has a right to protect themselves and the constitution says that people have the right to bear arms," said Henry.

The law does have some limits. You can't have guns at public K-12 schools, government buildings like courthouses jails and prisons and churches.

But all the restrictions go out the window when you're talking about your car. The new bill does allow permit holders to carry guns in their cars anywhere including schools, churches even airports as long as long as you have permit.

But the governor did make sure guns do not enter airports.

He vetoed another bill that would have allowed people to carry firearms in public parts of airports in Georgia. In Albany that is a change.

"Registered weapons would be able to be carried inside of a terminal building, just as long as you didn't go through the security screening checkpoint," said Southwest Georgia Regional Airport Director Yvette Aehle. "Now a person can have a weapon in their vehicle locked in their glove compartment, trunk or where ever and can be in an airport parking lot, but not inside the building."