GA lawmaker wants gun carry law lowered to 18 for military vets

8:15 PM, Feb 4, 2013   |    comments
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  • Georgia State Senator Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville)
  • Handgun
  • U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan
  • Georgia State Senator Donzella James (D-Atlanta)

ATLANTA -- Right now, minors in Georgia can possess a handgun as long as it's under certain organized circumstances, such as target practice and hunting.

You don't have to have a permit of any kind to have a handgun if you're an adult, but if you want to take it outside your home or car to certain places in public, you need a carry license and be at least 21 to get one.

That even applies to men and women in the military who're under 21, even though they get extensive weapons training and even if they've served in combat.

A Republican Georgia lawmaker believes the 21 and over carry permit law is keeping many current or former soldiers from getting private sector jobs, such as in the security field.

He's introduced Senate Bill 74 to lower the license age to 18 for those current and former military personnel.

"When he comes back here to America, we tell him you're not responsible enough to carry a weapon for your own protection or in execution of your job," State Senator Barry Loundermilk (R-Cassville) told 11 Alive News on Monday.

Democratic State Senator Donzella James (D-Atlanta) is pushing for tougher, not more lenient gun laws in Georgia.

She's wary of lowering the gun license age, even though she appreciates the training and sacrifice of veterans.

"I have a problem with just opening these laws up; we need to look closely and, of course, respect our military young people, though," she told 11 Alive.

Last year a similar bill to lower the weapons carry license age passed the Georgia Senate overwhelmingly and was doing well in the House when the 2012 legislative session ran out.

Sen. Loudermilk thinks it stands an even better chance of passing this year.

He also points to results of a straw poll on last summer's Republican Primary ballot that asked, "Should active duty military personnel who are under the age of 21 be allowed to obtain a Georgia weapons license?"

GOP voters replied 69% "Yes" and 31% "No".

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