The Georgia Senate finally pulled out HB 60 (the new HB 875) for a vote. Those guys are some tricky bastards. They put in an amendment for hunting suppressors, knowing the House will hate that because they are beholden to the Department of Natural Resources and the DNR hates it. Because, you know, poaching is apparently a massive and widespread problem in Georgia. Hmmm.
A second amendment that was added was church opt-in. This one was a “blink and miss it” one that was snuck it by perhaps the quickest “voice vote” in Georgia history. Cagle wanted it that way. This way, it’s nearly impossible to know who voted for it and he can take the heat for it. He doesn’t care, he has no challenger in this election.
The problem with church opt-in is that it’s a pile of crap. Very few churches will make the move to opt-in, preferring to avoid the topic altogether. The Senate knows this, so they think they can pat us on the head and send us on our merry way and then, proud of their “sweeping” gun bill and their “stand for the Second Amendment” in an election year, they will fail to re-address any gun rights for years. Um, no. You see, I already bought a bunch of crap from the legislature LAST session when SB101 died and I’m not in the market for any more.
It seems most likely that HB60 will end up in Conference Committee now, with three senators and three representatives left to make a deal for both chambers to pass through. This is a risk to be sure, as it could very well die in committee but I’m willing to take that risk, as if it does die, then there’s no gun bill this year. People may get voted out. And then we can come back at it next year. Not exactly what I’d like, but I’d prefer it to having a bad bill shoved down my throat with no likely opportunity to come back to it for a long time. And, if we have to re-address it next year, the hope is that we have a new governor (David Pennington, please!) who doesn’t do his damnedest to kill gun bills behind the scenes and some fresh folks in the legislature.
I’m hoping that in conference committee that the house gives on the hunting suppressor language and the senate gives up church opt-in. That would actually be a win-win for the people of Georgia. Most states already allow suppressors for hunting and most states also respect the private property rights of churches. Georgia needs to get with it.