Legislation allowing firearms anywhere in cars passes Georgia House

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February 16, 2007

The Georgia House has approved a measure that would allow Georgia gun owners to carry firearms anywhere in their cars.

If passed by the Senate, it would erase the current law, which requires that guns be placed in a glove compartment or console.

Representative Tim Bearden, the bill's sponsor and a former policeman, said the law would give back a small piece of the second amendment.

Critics argue it would put police officers at risk in situations such as traffic stops, but local police say they are aware of the new bill and there's not a lot of cause for concern.

"When we see that a new gun law or anything dealing with potentially affecting officer safety, we do follow it to see if it's going to affect our course of doing business, but right now this bill won't jeopardize officer safety," said Sgt. Richard Roundtree of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

That's what some gun-rights supporters have argued all along.

Gun shop owner Steve Fishman thinks most gun laws are written to protect people from harm.

"Nationwide, we have over 27,000 gun laws dealing with firearms in the U.S.," he said. "These overlap, they undo the other laws, they add to the laws, but generally speaking, firearm laws try to stop assault and murder."

Fishman says even though this law hasn't made it in the Senate yet, he is one those hoping it will pass.

"As far as pro gun supporters, this law gives the gun owner a little bit more strength than the Gun Owner's Bill of Rights," he said. "It's not a bad law."

The bill now goes to the Senate. Rep. Bearden says it has a good chance of passing.

The measure is one of several gun-related bills pending in the Legislature.

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