Nikki Randall - another reason I'm glad I live no where near Macon... http://www.macon.com/mld/macon/news/local/16575787.htm Pair of gun bills shoot through committee By Travis Fain TELEGRAPH STAFF WRITER ATLANTA - Two bills meant to beef up protections for Georgia's gun owners passed committee Monday and will move on for debate in the state House of Representatives. House Bill 6 makes it illegal for law enforcement to seize a law-abiding person's gun during an emergency situation, such as a flood. It also removes the governor's power to suspend the transportation or sale of firearms in such a crisis. And House Bill 89 would make it legal to hide a gun anywhere in a vehicle, clarifying a law that currently requires the gun to be fully visible or in a glove box or console. Under this new law, a driver could keep their gun under their seat, for example, said state Rep. Tim Bearden, who is sponsoring the change. The bills both passed the House Committee on the Judiciary on Monday after debate on both sides. Middle Georgia had representation on the committee, with Rep. Jim Cole, R-Forsyth, voting for both changes, and Rep. Nikki Randall, D-Macon, voting against. "My vote will always be to keep the Second Amendment strong or to strengthen it," Cole said. Randall said that, with all of pro-gun bills coming through the Judiciary Committee the past few years, "it's like we're in the wild, wild west." "I'm just sick of darn gun bills," she said. "(There's) more important things to think about than whether people ought to be able to ride around with guns in the car." House Bill 6 closely resembles a federal law passed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which saw massive gun seizures by federal authorities, bill sponsor and state Rep. Bobby Franklin said Monday. But the federal law dealt only with federal agents, and the new bill will deal with state and local ones, he said. The bill sets up civil penalties for officers who confiscate someone's weapon, provided that person isn't a felon or committing a crime. Those penalties, which some legislators tried to remove Monday with an amendment, led the GBI to oppose the bill, said John Bankhead, the bureau's director of public affairs. There also was an attempt to amend the bill to allow state officials to temporarily confiscate guns while evacuees are taken to safety in, for example, a public bus. That attempt also failed. In the end, the bill passed, unamended, 10-7. As for Bearden's bill regarding guns in vehicles, it received more support from the committee, passing 12-5. Bearden, a former police officer, said law enforcement officials needed the law clarified. As it stands, there is too much confusion over what is allowed in vehicles, he said. Under House Bill 89, anyone who is eligible for a concealed weapons license would be able to keep a gun hidden in their car. Both bills can still be amended, killed or passed as they are. They must be placed on the House calendar for that body to debate them, then move to the Senate, where the committee process basically starts over again. The governor must sign the bills for them to become law.