Georgia GOP offers prayers after shootings; Dems want legislation

    Protesters hold a rally against gun violence in New York's Times Square on Aug. 4, 2019, in response to mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Photo by Go Nakamura | Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — In the wake of two devastating mass shootings over the weekend, Georgia Democrats are imploring the U.S. Senate to take action on sweeping gun control legislation.

    After the tragic shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohiom which killed at least 29 people and injured many more, Democratic lawmakers this week assailed the GOP-led Senate for refusing to take up a bill to strengthen background checks that passed the House but has gone nowhere in the upper chamber. The House legislation would require federal criminal background checks on all gun sales, including private transactions.

    “I know this pain. I know what it feels like to learn of losing a loved one,” wrote U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, a freshman Democrat representing the 6th District whose 17-year-old son was shot and killed in 2012. “But when I pray to my God — I am praying for action. Our country cannot afford anything less.”

    The House background check bill passed largely along partisan lines. Georgia’s nine Republican representatives in the U.S. House opposed it; the five Democrats supported it.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) issued a statement Monday urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to bring lawmakers back from recess to immediately pass the House legislation. The Senate isn’t scheduled to reconvene until Sept. 9.

    But there appears to be no chance McConnell will grant their request. He called the weekend’s shootings “senseless” and “sickening” on Twitter, but did not mention any possible legislation.

    President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter Monday that “strong background checks” could perhaps be tied to immigration reform, but that combination is a nonstarter with his Democratic opponents. Speaking later on Monday, Trump didn’t offer specifics about what kind of legislation he’d be willing to support.

    Here’s how Georgia lawmakers have responded to the recent shootings on social media, and how much money they’ve received from gun rights and gun control groups during their congressional careers, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The group tracks contributions from political action committees and individuals giving $200 or more.

    U.S. Senate

    Sen. Johnny Isakson (R)

    $57,900 from gun rights groups

    Sen. David Perdue (R)

    $34,600 from gun rights groups

    U.S. House

    Rep. Buddy Carter (R-1st)

    $23,100 from gun rights groups

    Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-2nd)

    $500 from gun control groups

    $61,315 from gun rights groups

    No comment.

    Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-3rd)

    $16,000 from gun rights groups

    Rep. Hank Johnson (D-4th)

    $1,000 from gun control groups

    Rep. John Lewis (D-5th)

    $3,650 from gun control groups

    Rep. Lucy McBath (D-6th)

    $16,591 from gun control groups

    Rep. Rob Woodall (R-7th)

    $7,400 from gun rights groups

    “I am shocked by the violence that took place in El Paso and Dayton over the weekend,” Woodall said in a statement. As a community, we say with one voice, and with finality, that hate and violence have no home here. While local law enforcement agencies continue to gather information, all of the resources of federal law enforcement are at their disposal. The affected communities will be supported with whatever they need — whether legal resources or mental health/counseling resources or more.”

    Rep. Austin Scott (R-8th)

    $24,886 from gun rights groups

    Rep. Doug Collins (R-9th)

    $18,000 from gun rights groups

    Rep. Jody Hice (R-10th)

    $28,217 from gun rights groups

    Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-11th)

    $16,900 from gun rights groups

    Rep. Rick Allen (R-12th)

    $20,775 from gun rights groups

    No comment.

    Rep. David Scott (D-13th)

    No comment.

    Rep. Tom Graves (R-14th)

    $49,350 from gun rights groups

    No comment.

    Robin Bravender
    Robin Bravender is the D.C. Bureau Chief for States Newsroom, a network of nonprofit news publications, including the Georgia Recorder. Previously, Robin was a reporter for Politico, E&E News and Thomson Reuters.

    1 COMMENT

    1. Heavy on your garden variety thoughts and prayers and condemnation of evil, light on actual legislative proposals with a few notable exceptions. Only Hank Johnson spells it out plainly.

      the most telling line of all is “Mitch McConnell refuses to allow that legislation to be voted on in the Senate.”

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