Weekend shootings in Ohio and Texas prompt call for tighter gun laws

    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

    State Democrats renewed calls for tighter gun laws in Georgia in the wake of the back-to-back mass shootings that left 31 people dead and dozens injured this weekend in Texas and Ohio.

    “Because of how our gun laws are in this nation and in this state, either one of those tragedies could have taken place right here in the state of Georgia,” said Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick, a Democrat from Lithonia.

    “This upcoming legislative session, let’s show the nation that we care about the safety of our over 10 million residents here in the state of Georgia and pass meaningful gun control now,” she said. “Not after something happens. But right now.”

    Kendrick was among a handful of House Democrats who held a press conference Thursday at the state Capitol in hopes of reviving a spate of gun control bills filed over the years that were dead on arrival in a state legislature that has opted instead to expand gun laws in recent years.

    Some of the proposals include a bill that would prohibit long guns at public assemblies. Democrats have also pushed for broader background checks and a ban on the assault-style weapons that are often used in mass shootings.

    “Assault weapons that we use in the military are designed to do one thing: kill people. It’s not designed to go hunting,” said Rep. Derrick Jackson, a Democrat from Tyrone who is a retired naval officer.

    One Democratic bill, though, includes a proposal that has sparked national interest after President Donald Trump publicly stated his support for it this week. Rep. Matt Wilson, a first-term lawmaker from Brookhaven, sponsored a “red flag” bill this year in Georgia.

    Wilson’s bill, which went nowhere, would authorize courts to confiscate a weapon if a judge found someone to be a danger to themselves or others. Under his proposal, family members or those living in the same home with person could report suspicions about a troubled individual.

    Jill Nolin
    Jill Nolin has spent nearly 15 years reporting on state and local government in four states, focusing on policy and political stories and tracking public spending. She has spent the last five years chasing stories in the halls of Georgia’s Gold Dome, earning recognition for her work showing the impact of rising opioid addiction on the state’s rural communities. She is a graduate of Troy University.

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