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‘Guns in Bars’ Bill Kicks Off in Georgia

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Guns in Georgia BarsFear and confusion reigned in Georgia as the state’s controversial gun law came into effect and bar owners admitted they didn’t know what to do.

“Doing shots” in Georgia bars may have a whole new meaning when HB60 goes into effect Tuesday. The Safe Carry Protection Act, also known as the “guns everywhere bill,” broadly expands the places where Georgians can carry firearms to include municipal buildings, public libraries, schools, churches, unsecured areas of airports, and bars.

While churches and schools have to opt in to the law for the expanded carry provisions to apply to them, bar owners must opt out of the legislation by posting a “no-guns” sign or removing heat-packing patrons themselves.

“The onus is now on the bar owner,” said Alisa Cleek, a partner with Elarbee Thompson law firm in Atlanta who co-chairs the firm’s restaurant advisory group. “If you don’t want weapons on your premises you have to take steps to make sure customers know that. You don’t get to sit back this time.”

Cleek said she’s seen significant confusion about how the law will apply to bars, but Georgia Attorney General Sam Olen’s office has declined to give specific guidance on bar owners’ rights and responsibilities under the new law because of potential litigation in the future.

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