Several House Democrats Seek Assault Weapons Ban in Georgia
(APN) ATLANTA — The Assault Weapons Ban Bill, HB 731, has been introduced in the State House, and is co-sponsored by State Reps. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur), Rep. Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta), Rep. Carolyn Hugley (D-Columbus), Rep. Pat Gardner (D-Atlanta), Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick (D-Lithonia), and Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler (D-Lithonia).
The bill prohibits the sale, distribution, transport possession, and use of assault weapons, large capacity magazines, and armor-piercing bullets in Georgia.
“As a Christian, I think gun violence is an issue Georgians want to discuss in a fair and rational way,” Rep. Oliver said at a press conference announcing the bill on Thursday, January 14, 2016.
The U.S. Federal Assault Weapon Ban of 1994 expired in 2004 and has not been renewed. Now some U.S. states are passing legislation to ban assault weapons on the state level.
HB 731 is based on a State of Connecticut statute upheld by a federal Court of Appeals.
In October 2015, a three judge panel of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals unanimously upheld laws in both Connecticut and the State of New York, which ban possession of assault weapons. The court ruled the laws did not infringe on rights of citizens in those states under the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the U.S..
Assault weapons are defined, in this bill, as fully automatic, semiautomatic, or burst fire guns that fire multiple high-velocity rounds quickly. With burst fire guns, one pulls the trigger only once; and the weapons will continue to shot multiple rounds even if the person loses control of the gun.
Certain rifles, pistols, and shotguns that have been modified to hold detachable large capacity magazines that fire more than ten rounds of ammunition; and some magazines can hold up to one hundred rounds of ammunition.
“Ordinary citizens do not need assault weapons to hunt quail… they are meant for killing and harming human beings,” Rev. Gary Charles, Sr. Pastor, Central Presbyterian Church, said at the press conference.
Also banned under this bill are armour-piercing bullets and incendiary .50 caliber bullets that can penetrate body armour or bulletproof glass, or that have the ability to ignite upon impact.
“These weapons are created for one purpose to kill, disfigure, and to terrorize. These assault weapons do not belong in our homes and our communities,” Rev. David Lewicki, Chair, Presbyterians for Better Georgia and Co-Pastor, North Decatur Presbyterian Church, said.
As previously reported by Atlanta Progressive News, at several demonstrations in the Atlanta area over the last several years, this reporter has witnessed men carrying AK 47 assault weapons. They say it is their Second Amendment right, or to protect the public, but everyone knows, even the police, that they are trying to intimidate people on the other side of an issue.
The law does not ban authorized Georgia law enforcement and military personnel from having these assault weapons.
“If you can’t hear anything else, hear this; having these extreme weapons in the hand of people who have no business having them makes me fear for our law enforcement, ” Rev. Robert Wright, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, said.
Under this bill, it would be a felony to transport, distribute, import, or possess assault weapons, large capacity magazines, armour-piercing, and incendiary bullets.
This bill will require people who possess assault weapons to render the weapon inoperable or turn it into the Georgia Bureau of Investigation by the end of October 2016.
Pro-gun folks are already yelling that Democrats are trying to take their guns away.
‘”As a pastor, I’m here to resist the fear mongering by the gun lobby that makes no distinction about guns,” Rev. Charles said.
Assault weapons have been used against law enforcement, in schools, offices, shopping centers, movie theaters, care facilities, and even in a military installation throughout the country.
A review of mass shootings between 2009 and 2013 by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that assault weapons or large capacity magazines resulted in 135 percent more people shot and 57 percent more killed, compared to other mass shootings.
The latest Pew poll result reveals that 48 percent of Republicans and 70 percent of Democrats support a ban on assault style weapons.
The bill is currently in the House Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security.