New boating education rules in effect

by Sarah Fay Campbell

New state regulations took effect Tuesday that could impact your day on the lake … and where guns can be carried in Georgia.

The regulations are part of the Kile Glover Boat Education Law, which was passed in 2013. Most parts of the law took effect last year, but one took effect on Tuesday.

Under the new regulation, anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1998, must take an approved boating education course before they can legally operate any motorized vessel on Georgia waters.

This includes personal watercraft such as jet-skis and WaveRunners.

The law, which was passed in response to the death of Glover, 11, in an accident involving a jet-ski on Lake Lanier in 2012, also increased the age for mandatory life jackets.

Children under age 13 must wear an approved personal floatation device while on a moving vessel. Previously, the life jacket requirement was for children under 10. Everyone must wear a life jacket on a personal watercraft.

Another major law that took effect July 1 is the Safe Carry Protection Act, also known as the “Guns Everywhere Law.”

The law allows Georgia Weapons License holders to carry guns in more places, including government buildings that don’t have security checkpoints. Churches can choose to allow guns to be carried, and guns can also be carried in bars, unless the bar owner specifies that weapons are not allowed.

Another provision of the law prevents police officers from detaining someone carrying a gun just to see if the person has a license to carry.

State law requires a Georgia Weapons License to carry a handgun in public. License holders can carry the weapon openly or concealed.

Newnan Police Chief Douglas “Buster” Meadows said he thinks most Georgians are aware of the new law.

In regards to the prohibition on asking someone to show their license, “we have no way of knowing if they are legal or not,” Meadows said. “I think our hands have been tied some, but we will work through it. We respect the right to bear arms,” he said. “We’ll do our job the best we can.”

“If they are toting their gun in an exposed manner, we can only assume they are legal,” he said.

Though open and concealed carry are legal, Meadows said he would rather people conceal their firearms. “It would create less concern for other people, and all that may not be familiar” with state laws.

Shortly after the law went into effect, Target stores “respectfully requested” customers not bring guns into their stores, saying that the announcement wasn't related to Georgia’s law, which didn’t affect carry in commercial establishments. That has been legal for years, though property owners have always had the right to forbid guns on their property.

Instead, it was related to open-carry rifle demonstrations by Open Carry Texas, and a subsequent campaign by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.



More Local

Suspicious man in van not a threat

This week, a number of SummerGrove residents began noticing a suspicious man who was allegedly watching children in their neighborhood from ... Read More


Munchkin Masquerade

Downtown trick-or-treat event Friday

Downtown Newnan is a great place for shopping, dining out and – Friday morning – trick-or-treating. Main Street Newnan’s M ... Read More


Westmoreland challenges conservative voters

In the closing days before the November elections, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., shared a sobering observation with his constituents. &ldqu ... Read More


Madras alumni gathering before school demolished

The little school at Madras looms large in the hearts and minds of those who attended and taught there. But soon, the school will be only a ... Read More


‘Dead’ banker sentenced to 30 years

Aubrey Lee Price, the south Georgia banker who faked his death after defrauding investors of millions, was sentenced to 30 years in prison o ... Read More

Newnan Council

City seeks grant for intersection study

Newnan City Council authorized the submittal of a grant application to study the intersection just north of downtown. This intersection is n ... Read More