“Lead, don’t hide”: GA Democrats call for special legislative session on gun control

Georgia Capitol
Georgia Capitol(Gray)
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 6:34 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Georgia Democrats on Wednesday called on the governor to convene a special legislative session to address gun control measures they say were ignored during the most recent General Assembly.

House and Senate lawmakers gathered on the south steps of the state capitol, flanked by students, doctors, advocates, and survivors of gun violence. Their wish list for measures includes universal background checks, safe storage, and red flag laws. Democrats said they introduced 16 related pieces of legislation this past session, but none received a vote on either chamber’s floor.

“Democrats have been leading on gun safety legislation for years,” said Rep. James Beverly, (D) – Macon. “Republicans continue to hide behind excuses. It’s time for us to put politics aside and let’s protect the lives of all Georgians.”

The call for more gun control came exactly one week after a deadly shooting at a Midtown doctor’s office that left one woman dead and four others hurt.

Lawmakers on Wednesday noted Georgia is ranked 8th in the nation for gun-related violent crimes and, as is the case in a handful of other states, guns were the leading cause of death for Georgia kids and teens.

“We are terrified that we could be next or our child or another loved one could be next,” said Sen. Elena Parent, (D) – Atlanta.

“We do not need every Republican elected in this General Assembly to come to the table, but we need enough to penetrate the barrier of the majority,” she added. “With Republican legislators in Texas, considering raising the age to buy AR-15 from 18 to 21, a modest but important step, with the Republican governor of Tennessee calling for a Red Flag Law, and even with the U.S. Congress coming together to make modest progress after Uvalde, I have hope.”

Polls show strong support for more gun control across all Americans, and on Wednesday, even some Republican voters came out to support the call for stricter laws in Georgia.

“We are tired of Republicans having their head in the sand. We’re not going to stand for it any longer,” said Ashley Hill, who held a sign that read ‘Republican Moms for Change.’

“This isn’t something that is only a one-party issue,” said Lauren Wattenmaker, another Republican voter. “We’re getting louder. There are many of us in the Republican Party who feel this way.”

“I think that people, gun owners especially, are concerned that people are trying to take away their guns,” said Laura Pemberton, yet another Republican voter. “They’re not.”

Governor Brian Kemp’s office had no comment on Wednesday when Atlanta News First asked about the possibility of a special legislative session convening.