Georgia House Votes To Allow Guns In Bars And Churches

Currently, Georgia law prohibits carrying a gun in a bar or “place of worship. A bill that passed the state house late last week, however, would change this, permitting firearms in both locations.

Guns in bars is a particularly volatile combination. Although high profile, premeditated mass killings such as the Sandy Hook massacre draw an unusual amount of attention in public perceptions of gun violence, the reality is that most murders are committed under very different circumstances. According to Washington State Sociology Professor Jennifer Schwartz, “[n]early half of all homicides, committed by men or women, were preceded by some sort of argument or fight, such as a conflict over money or property, anger over one partner cheating on another, severe punishment of a child or abuse of a partner, retaliation for an earlier dispute, or a drunken fight over an insult or other affront.” So keeping guns away from environments where many people are engaged in heavy drinking can ensure that bar brawls and alcohol-induced arguments do not escalate into a homicide. Schwartz estimates that “40% of male offenders were drinking alcohol at the time” that they committed a homicide offense, and that about one in three female offenders were also engaged in drinking.

Although the Supreme Court recognized an individual right to carry firearms in District of Columbia v. Heller, that opinion allows guns to be prohibited in “sensitive places.”