Guns and polling places: What Georgia voters need to know

Guns and polling places: What Georgia voters need to know

During months of protests across the country, images of activists openly carrying firearms at politically charged events have become common. Recently and close to home, armed white supremacists and counterprotesters clashed in Stone Mountain Village on Aug. 15. During protests following the death of Rayshard Brooks, armed demonstrators organized around the site in Atlanta where Brooks was shot, leading to tensions with police and the surrounding community that lasted weeks. During the first presidential debate, President Donald Trump encouraged supporters to “watch very carefully” at the polls , continuing his insistence that the election could suffer from fraud despite the fact that there is next to no evidence of widespread fraud in federal elections. With the president’s entreaties and recent armed face-offs as reference points, experts say voters should be prepared to see activists carrying weapons near polling places during voting hours — the operative word being “near.” Georgia is an open carry state, which means licensed individuals can carry guns in most public places. Often, they do it as a matter of personal security. However, firearms are banned within 150 feet of polling places, according to state law. Guns are also banned from locations that commonly serve as polling places, such as schools and houses of worship. Private businesses have the authority to ban guns on their premises, too. Explore Opinion: Kenosha, Portland, and the obscure Georgia law that bans parading around with guns Even with a general ban on guns at polling places, Georgia voters may see […]

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