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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Gun bill signed by Gov. Deal

Camie Young

Camie Young

Second Amendment rights took center stage Wednesday in Georgia, as Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law a bill that expands the places where licensed gun owners can carry weapons.

But his primary opponent David Pennington said that day that the legislation doesn’t go far enougn

“For decades now I have staunchly defended our Second Amendment rights as both a legislator and as governor,” Deal said in a press release. “This legislation will protect the constitutional rights of Georgians who have gone through a background check to legally obtain a Georgia Weapons Carry License. Roughly 500,000 Georgia citizens have a permit of this kind, which is approximately 5 percent of our population. License holders have passed background checks and are in good standing with the law. This law gives added protections to those who have played by the rules – and who can protect themselves and others from those who don’t play by the rules.

He added: “Our nation’s founders put the right to bear arms on par with freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Georgians cherish their Second Amendment rights, and this law embodies those values.”

Pennington, one of two Republicans challenging Deal in the May 20 primary, said he would push for even further protections.

“The Second Amendment is not just a gun issue. It’s a freedom issue,” Pennington, the mayor of Dalton said. “In this country, we have gone from first to 11th in worldwide freedom rankings in the past 13 years. It is our birth right as Americans to live in the freest nation on earth. We personally may give up that right, but we cannot surrender our children’s and grandchildren’s birth rights.

“I don’t believe that giving up our freedoms makes us any safer. The crime rates in this country have proven that. As a leader, I will not rest until we are the freest nation on earth again,” Pennington added. “While Nathan touts this one bill, he purposely forgets to mention the failure of campus carry and other bills that protect our Second Amendment rights. As governor, I will advance legislation that protects and enhances our Second Amendment rights.”

John Barge, the third candidate in the GOP primary, released an open letter this week explaining why he is running for governor.

Barge answers the question as “I am tired of …” a litany of complaints, from cut funding to education and issues with state insurance to ethical questions and concerns.

“I am running for governor because I am tired of not having a choice on the type of leader who leads our state,” the state school superintendent concludes. “Now, you have a choice.”

To see the entire letter, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via email at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.

For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/politics.