(Reed Means/Shutterstock)

ATLANTA – Georgians would be allowed to carry concealed firearms without a permit under legislation that gained final passage in the state Senate Friday.

The Republican-controlled chamber passed Senate Bill 319 34-22 along party lines two days after the Georgia House of Representatives approved it 100-67.

As the bill has gone through the General Assembly in recent weeks, legislative Democrats have argued that allowing permit-less carry would lead to more violent crime by putting more guns on the streets.

Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta, noted that some police chiefs across the state have come out in opposition to the bill.

“Everyone has guns,” Parent said. “It makes our streets dangerous.”

But Sen. Randy Robertson, R-Cataula, said violent crime has risen in Georgia because of a lack of aggressive law enforcement by some police agencies.

“Let’s stop blaming an inanimate object,” Robertson said.

“The Constitution of the United States says we have the right to bear arms and the right to protect ourselves and our families,” added Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, the bill’s chief sponsor.

The bill now moves to the desk of Gov. Brian Kemp, who endorsed the measure in his annual State of the State address to lawmakers in January.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

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