Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal delivers his State of the State address at the Capitol. (David Goldman/AP)

[Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal delivers his State of the State address at the Capitol. (David Goldman/AP)

Ellijay – Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation today that would vastly expand where Georgians can legally carry firearms, a proposal that has drawn heaps of praise and scorn from outside groups.

“People who follow the rules can protect themselves and their families from people who don’t follow the rules,” said Deal, adding: “The Second Amendment should never be an afterthought. It should reside at the forefronts of our minds.”

House Bill 60, which passed in the final hours of this year’s legislative session, allows Georgians to legally carry firearms in a wide range of new places, including schools, bars, churches and government buildings. A recent analysis also said it could let felons use the state’s “stand your ground” rules to claim self-defense if they feel threatened.

In an interview this week, Deal said voters shouldn’t forget what got left out of the bill. Among the controversial proposals that didn’t survive were the “campus carry” provision, which would have legalized the carrying of guns on campus, and changes that would have required houses of worship to allow guns unless leaders ban them. (Instead, religious leaders can “opt-in” to allow guns into their congregations).

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