On Tuesday, a misunderstanding between two armed men in a convenience store in Georgia led to one man drawing his gun and being arrested on the first day of the “guns everywhere” law.
Georgia's newly enacted Safe Carry Protection Act allows residents to carry firearms into hitherto prohibited locations — such as government buildings, classrooms, bars and nightclubs — as an exercise of their Second Amendment right to bear arms. It also prohibits other citizens and police from asking to see the permits of people carrying guns.
According to the Valdosta Daily Times local newspaper, an armed customer demanded to see the firearms permit and ID of a second armed man making a purchase in a convenience store. The first man drew his gun when the other customer refused to show him his permit. After the second armed man completed his purchase, he called the police on the first man, who was then arrested.
The contentious new law has further separated opposing camps in the national gun debate. Georgia Republican Representative Paul Broun supported the passage of the law, telling Newsmax TV that it would help protect citizens. "We know that when law-abiding citizens who know how to utilize a firearm have one on their person, it helps prevent crime," Broun said.
However, some officials worry that the law will spark confrontations that might not end as civilly in the future. “This is an example of my concern with the new gun law — that people will take the law into their own hands, which we will not tolerate,” Valdosta police chief Brian Childress told the Valdosta Daily Times.
Target meanwhile announced on Wednesday that it will prohibit all customers from carrying firearms in the store. “It boils down to a simple belief: bringing firearms to Target creates an environment that is at odds with the family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create," John Mulligan, Target's interim CEO, said in a statement.