AJC: Is the Wild West returning?
Georgia joins a slew of other states allowing people to carry guns and protect themselves if they feel they are threatened... from ajc.com: "Georgians would be free to shoot muggers, carjackers and other attackers without fear of being prosecuted or sued under a National Rifle Association-backed bill that won final legislative approval Friday.
Called the 'stand your ground' bill by supporters and the 'shoot first' measure by opponents, Senate Bill 396 is patterned on a law enacted last year in Florida and is similar to measures sweeping through legislatures in at least 15 other states.
The Georgia House approved the bill 115-42 on Friday, after the Senate approved it last month. It now goes to Gov. Sonny Perdue, who is expected to sign it into law.
The bill extends Georgians' right to use deadly force to defend themselves, now restricted to a person's home and car, to public places such as parks, sidewalks and parking lots. The bill requires that the person justify that they were at risk of serious bodily injury or death. It also indicates that citizens have no duty to retreat if attacked, a matter upon which the law is currently silent.
Champions of the bill argue that Georgians should have a right to defend themselves in public as well as at home, and dismissed charges that the measure will lead to gunbattles in the streets.
Critics insist the bill encourages violence, rather than peaceful resolution of conflicts. They also argue that most of the bill's provisions are in current law or case law and that the measure is election-year grandstanding."