Obama’s gun control proposal stirs legislative action as well

[private]President Barack Obama’s controversial gun control plan is stirring up action at the legislative level also, likely ensuring that Georgia lawmakers will be debating the issue just two years after they passed an extensive revision of the state’s gun carry laws.

Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur) is having a bill drafted that would prohibit the sale of assault weapons in Georgia, similar to a federal ban that was in effect from 1994 to 2004. She said the bill would not apply to the sale or use of handguns and long rifles.

“It’s a good time to have this discussion and we’ll introduce a bill with lots of sponsors,” Oliver said Tuesday.

With Republicans holding firm control of both the state House and Senate, there are long odds against the passage of gun control bills introduced by Democrats like Oliver, Rep. Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta), or Sen. Michael Rhett (D-Marietta).

“I expect Republican opposition,” Oliver said.

Any gun bills passed by the General Assembly this year are more likely to expand than restrict the list of public places where weapons can be legally carried, such as college campuses.

Rep. Heath Clark (R-Warner Robins) has carried over HB 544, which would allow gun license holders to carry firearms on technical college, vocational school, and college campuses.

HB 544 currently is in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee chaired by Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell).

Campus carry is still prohibited under state law but it has been a prime goal of gun carry advocates ever since the enactment of the “Guns everywhere” law two years ago.

The latest discussions of the gun control issue were sparked by Obama’s announced plans to bolster the enforcement of federal gun laws through the issuance of executive orders, particularly the provisions requiring background checks on gun purchasers.

Obama’s proposal could be a major issue not just in the Georgia General Assembly but in the presidential campaign as well, with Republicans denouncing the effort and many Democrats supporting it.

“The Second Amendment is one of our most fundamental rights as Americans and no president – not even the liberal one in the White House – can take that away from us,” U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Sharpsburg) said.

“The president couldn’t pass gun control when Democrats controlled the House and Senate, and he knows it won’t pass congress now that Republicans control both chambers so he is going at it lone wolf,” Westmoreland contended.

“Unfortunately, by once again choosing to circumvent the people’s representatives in Congress, President Obama has only served to undermine the Constitution and further polarize this issue,” Sen. David Perdue said.

“We must face the hard facts: gun violence occurs at epidemic proportions in this country,” said Rep. John Lewis (D-Atlanta).

“Strengthening background check requirements and gun safety measures, adding more federal agents to the field, seeking to prevent suicide fatalities, and engaging manufacturers and retail agents are common-sense, concrete steps to reduce gun violence in our country,” Lewis said.

© 2016 by The Georgia Report


Tags: assault weapons , Barack Obama , campus carry , David Perdue , gun control , Heath Clark , John Lewis , Lynn Westmoreland , Mary Margaret Oliver