The Reid Report   |  April 23, 2014

What new Georgia law means for gun control

NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez and MSNBC contributor Goldie Taylor join Joy Reid to discuss the latest gun law signed in Georgia that allows guns in airports, churches and schools.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> but we start in georgia where hours ago the state 's governor signed the country's most extreme gun bill into law. it's pretty tough record to break and yet that's exactly what nathan diehl did. at a campaign event, that's important in this story, governor diehl explained how the new law would protect his fellow georgians from unnamed threats. he asked why the state capitol building is excluded in the bill but courthouses are not.

>> is it consistent to allow guns in the county courthouses and not allow them in the capitol?

>> well the county courthouses have the right to exclude them as well, if they have metal detectors there, which increasingly more county courthouses do have that.

>> so more county courthouses are opting out of the provisions of the bill. i wonder why they'd want to do that. the bill doesn't go into effect until july 1st but when it does, look sharp because you'll be able to find guns in bars, some government buildings , non-secure areas of airports, potentially some churches and of course schools. which is where the story really begins. not in georgia schools but in newtown, and the backlash against sensible gun reforms in the wake of the massacre of 26 children and their teachers. in georgia like many other states gun sales soared after sandy hook because you know, president obama was coming in the black helicopter to take your guns. there even appeared to be speakers at the georgia bill signing today to the oft misinterpreted comment in the obama made during the 2008 campaign.

>> yes t is a community where we cling to religion and guns.

>> on the one-year anniversary of the newtown tragedy the "new york times" found that the vast majority of new gun laws enacted expanded gun rights . states from alabama to kansas to illinois loosened open and concealed carry laws and now as if loose gun laws are a game of one-up georgia is going on record as the gun state to move them all. has it crested or is there more to come? gabe gutierrez is in georgia . give us a little bit more detail about this law.

>> reporter: hi there, joy. as you mentioned this gun bill signing ceremony wrapped up a short time ago. several hundred supporters here and the bill's supporters insist this bill is not extreme. they stress in their view that this is a bill for law-abiding georgians and it restores the second amendment and protects the second amendment. now, this law will allow licensed gun owners in the state to carry their weapons into many more places. for one, bars. before this new law, gun owners could not bring their firearms into a bar unless the bar owner specifically allowed it. this new law reverses that emphasis and you can now bring your gun into a bar unless the bar owner specifically forbids it. the other major part of this bill is chuchrches. before it was illegal to bring a firearm into a place of worship in georgia . church leaders can decide whether to allow congregations to bring guns into churches. as for schools, school boards can vote and appoint certain staffers with certain restrictions to carry weapons into search. another change airports. if you accidentally bring your weapon, assuming you have a permit, if you bring your weapon to airport security and you're notified, you can simply pick up your gun and leave and not face any criminal penalties. when it comes to government buildings , georgians with a permit can bring their weapons to unsecured government buildings . that means buildings that don't have security checkpoints. this has drawn a lot of attention not just here in georgia but across the country, and really internationally and as you mentioned now that the governor signed it, it takes effect july 1st . joy, back to you.

>> gabe, one more question. there's a stand your ground enhancement in the law. can you explain that a little bit?

>> reporter: right. the implications about stand your ground are actually still being debated among people on both sides of the issues. the critics of this bill insist this expands stand your ground when it comes to felons. they cite a senate research council analysis in georgia that basically says this much but those supporters of the bill argue that that analysis misinterpreted the bill that there's nothing new in this bill when it comes to extending stand your ground defense to felons that felons as they could before, they can ask for that immunity but ultimately it will be up to a judge in a hearing before trial to decide if that stand your ground defense applies to criminals, and if they had a gun illegally, then the judge would not allow that immunity to stand before trial. but both sides of the issues are passionate about this and it is yet to be seen how some of these provisions will work out in reality. joy, back to you.

>> thanks very much, nbc's gabe gutierrez, appreciate it.

>>> goldie taylor is a columnist and msnbc contributor and importantly a resident of the great state of georgia . so goldie , your state now is the proud owner of what a lot of people are considering the most extreme gun bill in america. how are people reacting to this major expansion of gun rights on the ground?

>> it remains to be seen how the broader population will respond after this is enacted as of july 1st . adz indicates on the side and against the issue are passionate this expands gun carry rights in georgia beyond what people believe is reasonable. i think to say that this really changes the fiduciary duty , the duty of care from government to individuals is hyperlocalizing the issue, allows school boards to make decisions they couldn't make before, puts the onus on bar owners and church leaders. who is going to check the carry permits if i walk into church with my gun saddled to my side. who questions me? certainly a law enforcement officer can't question me unless i've given due cause. that's spelled out in the law. i think that we are on the front edge of something here that's pretty scary to me. five years ago we watched this as florida passed stand your ground taken quickly escalated in the past in so many states. i'd hate to see a day when this kind of legislation was used as a template in states across this country to manage gun carry rights.

>> there's no reason to think it wouldn't. the nra is looking at the this low. they never look at a fibbishing but a starting point. you mentioned churches. that struck a lot of people the most this idea of carrying in churches. the pastor of the ebenezer baptist church , dr. king or dr. king famously preached in and was memorialized, the reverend was on earlier with ronan farrow and he responded to that piece of the provision in the georgia gun law . i want you to take a listen and respond.

>> we have felt this in a particular way at ebenezer baptist church , people know that dr. king of course was a victim of gun violence but so was his mother in 1974 , while she was playing and singing "the recolord's prayer" in our sanctuary. tragically a young man who needed mental health care had access to a gun but not mental health care came into our church and killed her and one of our deacons.

>> the idea that churches were included in a bill like this, when you hear that reaction from the pastor of ebenezer baptist church , goldie , what do you think?

>> i had an opportunity to have a word with dr. warnick after his segment today. both of us have real concerns about what could unfold in congregations around the state . in all 159 counties. when i go to a new church do i ask if that's a gun free zone , do i print that on the bulletin if people walk into a sanctuary for the first time that this is a gun free zone or guns are allowed, and so how is that policed and what does that do in terms of putting a chill on congregations really around the state and so i have to agree with pastor werner. the other thing is the fact is, they said that the way to ward off mass killings in public places is to have more good guys with guns. that didn't help the children at sandy hook . that didn't do anything for the people in aurora, colorado. that didn't help the people in overland park , kansas, just recently. it certainly didn't do anything for the elementary school here in georgia where a young man tragically walked in and wanted to shoot up children and administrators there. but what does help is interceding before things like that unfold, making sure that while we protect the second amendment, we make sure that we have reasonable gun reform laws on the books that background check loopholes are closed, that we limit high capacity magazines that we dry up the well of illegal guns that are really pervading some of our inner cities around this country and so if we cannot take a thoughtful look back to some of this, i have a really sneaking suspicion this may move across the country to other states.

>> and quickly, we're short on time, i want to point out georgia is one of the top ten if number ten on the list of the states with the highest levels of gun violence according to the center for american progress . this is seen as partly political for nathan diehl n a tight re-election race with jason carter , the son of former president jimmy carter . briefly, how do you think this impacts the politics of that particular race?

>> this governor has a primary, jason carter has a primary. we did not suspect that either would be highly xcompetitive. but we do and this issue plays into that. governor diehl is running to the right of all of his opponents in the race to solidify his base of support and that includes the nra. that includes the gun owners of america here in georgia , but ironically enough, jason carter , the leading democratic candidate for governor in this state also signed on to this legislation and really wanted to make it a highly localized issue, and so you've got to wonder, if jason carter makes a call like that, when can democrats in the south or any other red state across this country begin to count on more progressive leaning candidates to vote in favor of curtailing the pervasiveness of guns in this country and still become viable candidates in a state like georgia .

>> goldie taylor, thank you so much. we appreciate your insights this morning or this afternoon really.

>> thank you.