Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law legislation that makes Georgia a constitutional carry state, permitting residents to carry handguns in public without a license or background check, Fox 5 Atlanta reported Tuesday.
The signing by Kemp, a Republican, comes after the GOP-controlled Senate passed the act at the beginning of the month.
"SB 319 makes sure that law-abiding Georgians – including our daughters and your family too – can protect themselves without having the permission of the state government," the governor said in front of a crowd of supporters at the bill signing.
The bill makes Georgia the 25th constitutional carry state in the U.S. behind Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming, according to Breitbart.
"There is no doubt that we are in challenging times," Kemp told reporters, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
"People don't have to carry if they don't want to," he added. "But this is a constitutional authority that people have, and they certainly shouldn't have a piece of paper from the government to be able to legally carry a weapon."
The governor also signed another piece of legislation at the same Douglasville signing ceremony that allows concealed weapons permit holders from other states to carry legally in Georgia.
"HB 218 ensures that individuals who are licensed to carry in another state are also authorized to do so here in Georgia," he said of the other bill.
Kemp is currently running for reelection as governor in a heated Republican primary against former Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., who received the endorsement of former President Donald Trump shortly after announcing.
According to an average of primary polling done by RealClearPolitics, Kemp leads Perdue by 9.4 percentage points. The primary is set to take place May 24.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.