Edited to add: You can leave comments on this article at the AJC web-site, just scroll to the bottom of the article...another opportunity to voice "our" views! http://www.ajc.com/blogs/content/shared ... _disc.html House will discuss concealed weapons bill By Jeremy Redmon | Monday, February 12, 2007, 07:36 AM The Atlanta Journal-Constitution A proposed law that would allow motorists to conceal firearms in their cars has cleared a key legislative committee and is on its way to Georgiaâ€™s House of Representatives for a vote as soon as Monday. Critics say House Bill 89 would endanger police making traffic stops. Proponents say the measure would protect their Second Amendment right to bear arms. State law now requires motorists who do not have handgun permits to keep their firearms â€œfully exposed to viewâ€ or in the glove box, console or similar compartment. State Rep. Tim Beardenâ€™s (R-Villa Rica) bill would allow people to hide guns under seats or wedge them between seats cushion and consoles. After a brief debate Saturday, the Rules Committee recommended the House pass the bill. Several lawmakers peppered Bearden with probing questions during a hearing before the committee vote. â€œOver the weekend our law enforcement officials approached me about this bill and they expressed their concern for the safety for their officers if we do pass such a measure,â€ said House Minority Whip Carolyn Hugley (D-Columbus). â€œAnd they asked that we carefully consider doing this in light of the more dangerous position we would put officers in as they approach vehicles.â€ Bearden attempted to deflect Hugleyâ€™s criticism. â€œOnce again we have to make sure we understand this is for law-abiding citizens that will not pose a danger to our lawn enforcement officers,â€ Bearden said of his bill. â€œThis is protecting the citizens who [have] the right to protect themselves in their homes. And the car is an extension of their homes.â€ Another lawmaker asked Bearden if more safeguards could be added to his bill for children. â€œAre there any protections for the children at all?â€ asked Rep. Judy Manning (R-Marietta). â€œCould you make the proposition a little stronger as far as safety locks or anything like that?â€ Bearden contended his bill would make it for safer for youngsters traveling in cars with firearms. â€œThe person already has the right to have the gun in plain view on the front seat or on the dash,â€ Bearden said. â€œBut we are allowing the citizen to put it in a more secure place in the vehicle to make sure that child does not get a hold of the firearm. I think that is a safety aspect in itself.â€ Beardenâ€™s measure is one of several gun-related bills now pending in the Legislature. A second bill now in the House Rules Committee would ban police officers, National Guardsmen and others from confiscating guns during a state of emergency such as a hurricane. And a third proposal pending in the House Non Civil Judiciary Committee and in the Senate would prohibit certain public and private employers from barring workers from keeping firearms in locked vehicles at employee parking lots or garages.