By: Ali Elyaman
In the state of Georgia there have been 10,146 acts of gun violence since 2014, over 650 of these involved minors.1 The Democratic Caucus in the Georgia House of Representatives is dedicated to stopping this epidemic by promoting common sense gun legislation. For this reason they’ve formed the Democratic Caucus Public Safety Committee. This Committee, chaired by Representative Spencer Frye, has created a slate of safe gun ownership legislation to address the issue. The committee is also made up of Representatives, Mary Robichaux, Mike Wilensky, Matthew Wilson, Kim Schofield, Mary Margaret Oliver, and Shelly Hutchinson.
In their first meeting the committee decided to develop nine different bills, each addresses a different shortcoming in Georgia’s current firearm laws. Representative Frye has written and is the primary sponsor on three of the bills himself. Two of them will create changes in how individuals interact with guns. One will amend the Georgia code to allow patrol officers to ask if there is a firearm in the car, and another which would require firearms training for those wishing to apply for a concealed carry license.
Additionally, in most instances family and law enforcement can often recognize when a person is in crisis, and because of this the committee has also decided to release a Red Flag law. Sponsored by Representative Frye this law would permit police or family members to petition a state agency to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to themselves or others. Most states have passed similar legislation in the wake of tragedy, but the committee is dedicated to making sure that one doesn’t occur in Georgia. These bills however are just a part of the comprehensive gun safety legislation the committee hopes to pass this session.
Of the slate of bills one of the most high profile is a repeal of “ Campus Carry.” Currently, campus carry allows those 21 and older with a firearm license to carry a concealed firearm on authorized areas of college campuses. This bill carried by Minority Leader Trammell and committee member Robichaux would give individual institutions the ability to opt out of allowing concealed weapons on their campus.
Committee members have released several other bills that would have a significant impact on correcting our states current gun laws. There is a bill that would institute permanent state ban on all bump stock sales in the state of Georgia, along with implementing a buyback plan for those already in circulation. Another expansive bill included is one that would require firearm owners to obtain and maintain liability insurance prior to ownership in order to cover any damages resulting from the misuse of a firearm. Finally, the slate also includes bills requiring all firearms to be be placed in “safe storage”, requiring those who have been involuntary commitment to a mental institution to apply to be able to purchase guns again , and that places harsher punishments on those who repeatedly face weapons charges. All of these bills are imperative to making sure the citizens of our state are safe, and demonstrate the caucuses commitment to that goal.