Political Notes — Orlando shootings bring renewed calls for gun control

[private]The mass killings of at least 50 people at an Orlando nightclub have once again prompted calls for tighter restrictions on firearms — but with little likelihood of any controls being enacted.

President Obama said the Sunday morning shooting spree was another reminder of how easy it is for a person to obtain firearms in the U.S.

Omar Mateen, the shooter at the gay nightclub Pulse, legally purchased a pistol and an AR-15 assault rifle just days before the incident. Mateen, an American-born citizen, also had security and firearm licenses.

“We have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be,” Obama said Sunday. “And to actively do nothing is a decision as well.”

“How long must we wander through this dark killing field filled with the broken bodies of hundreds — even precious little children — before we finally take strong action against the accessibility of assault weapons in this country?” U.S. Rep. John Lewis asked.

State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur) introduced legislation last year to ban assault weapons in Georgia, but her bill did not move out of a House committee. Oliver, who was just reelected to a new term in the General Assembly, said she will introduce a similar bill next session.

Oliver said she is bringing the bill up again to start “a discussion – at a minimum, at least a discussion,” about the possibility of banning assault weapons.

The passage of any gun control legislation by the Republican-controlled Legislature is a long shot, however. GOP lawmakers are much more likely to pass another version of the campus carry bill that would allow persons with gun permits to bring firearms on college campuses.

Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed the campus carry bill a little more than a month before the Orlando shootings, a move that angered many of his conservative supporters.

Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell), one of the leading gun carry advocates in the Georgia House, said in a Facebook posting Monday: “The best friend you have in an active shooter situation is an armed law abiding citizen. Be safe, be prepared, be lucky.”

Ferguson picks up the Pace (endorsement)

Drew Ferguson has now obtained the endorsements of all five candidates who did not make it out of the May 24 Republican primary for Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District seat.

Businessman Jim Pace endorsed Ferguson over his runoff opponent, state Sen. Mike Crane (R-Newnan). Ferguson and Crane both drew nearly 27 percent of the vote in the primary.

“Drew Ferguson is the real conservative I want to see representing Georgia’s Third District in Washington,” Pace said. “He is a jobs conservative who has a track record of keeping taxes and regulations low and jobs creation enthusiasm high.”

Two candidates already for Willard’s House seat

State Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs) hasn’t formally been reelected to the House yet, but two candidates have already announced they will run for his seat when Willard retires after the 2018 legislative session.

Gabriel Sterling, a Republican political consultant and a Sandy Springs City Council member since 2011, is in the next race along with Alex Kaufman, an attorney.

Executive appointments

Gov. Nathan Deal made the following appointments to state boards and commissions —

Georgia Board of Chiropractic Examiners: Robert Alpert of Jackson, the CEO of Southmetro Chiropractic Center.

Georgia Tourism Foundation: Pedro Cherry of Atlanta, Georgia Power’s senior vice president of the Metro Atlanta region; Steve Hallowell of Cumming, the vice president of marketing for Herschend Family Entertainment; and Marisa Simpson of Lilburn, a former UGA football player and the director of community relations and economic development for AGL Resources.

State Board of Examiners for the Certification of Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators and Laboratory Analysts: Kenny Green of Thomson, the vice president of G. Ben Turnipseed Engineers, and Kim Hembree of Carrollton, a regulatory compliance specialist for the watershed protection branch of the Environmental Protection Division.

© 2016 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: 3rd Congressional District , Barack Obama , Drew Ferguson , gun control , Mary Margaret Oliver , Nathan Deal , Wendell Willard