DeKalb representative sponsors anti-gun bill

Supporters of a proposed assault weapon ban gathered in at the Capitol Jan. 14. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

Six months after Georgia’s so-called “guns everywhere” law went into effect, a group of legislators, led by Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver of DeKalb County, want to ban assault weapons.

If passed in its current form, House Bill 731 would ban the “sale, distribution, transport, possession and use of defined assault weapons, large capacity magazines and armor-piercing bullets,” according to a summary of the proposed legislation.

The bill would not prohibit law enforcement and military personnel from possessing or transporting the weapons.

Oliver’s bill would require anyone with an assault weapon on July 1, 2016, to turn it in to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for destruction, or render it inoperable.

“I’m very aware this is a controversial subject but it is my purpose and my intent to have an open and intellectually honest discussion with the state of Georgia about gun violence,” said Oliver, the bill’s sponsor, during a Jan. 14 news conference in the state Capitol.

“Gun violence kills 30,000 people a year.”

Oliver recalled the August 2013 incident in which Michael Brandon Hill, armed with approximately 500 rounds, a couple of magazines and an AK-47 type rifle entered McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur.

Bishop Robert Wright
Bishop Robert Wright

A school bookkeeper was able to convince Hill to surrender to police.

“No children were hurt in DeKalb County with the use of an assault weapon,” Oliver said. “We in Georgia were lucky, but many, many other citizens across this nation simply have not been lucky.”

Patrick Parsons, executive director of Georgia Gun Owners, the state’s largest gun rights organization with more than 12,000 members, said, “Any legislator who supports gun control or this bill will be held accountable during the legislative session and will be held accountable at the polls on Election Day.

“Legislators out there, if you support this, you will be exposed,” Parsons told reporters after Oliver’s news conference. “Gun owners will know about it. Voters will hold you accountable at the polls.”

Parsons said his organization opposes the confiscation of guns.

“If you look at her bill there are literally hundreds of guns that they want us to come and turn in,” he said. “No compromise. Not going to happen.
“There’s no compromise on our rights,” Parsons said. “The Second Amendment is the Second Amendment. You do not need a permit. You don’t need a weapons license.”

Bishop Robert Wright of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta said, “We need to have a conversation—a real conversation—and we need to pass some legislation about assault weapons.

“When I think about these very extreme and extraordinary weapons in the hands of people who have no business having these types of weapons in their hands, it makes me fear for our men and women in law enforcement,” Wright said.

He urged the audience to help “law enforcement officials to continue to have the upper hand as they go about their work doing the business of protecting and serving us,” Wright said.

“This kind of assault weapon, these extraordinary magazines and these armor-piercing bullets are just beyond” necessary, Wright said. “No one needs this. For what reason do you need this? The hunter doesn’t need this. The sportsman doesn’t need this.

atrick Parsons of Georgia Gun Owners spoke out against the proposal
atrick Parsons of Georgia Gun Owners spoke out against the proposal

“I understand the damage that this kind of weapon can do,” said Wright, a Navy veteran. “I see absolutely no need for these to be available to the average citizen.”

Rev. David Lewicki, co-pastor of North Decatur Presbyterian Church and chairman of Presbyterians for a Better Georgia, said, “Weapons are not the source of our power. Weapons lead to death. They are a source of our sickness and our disease.”

Weapons are “created for one purpose: to kill, to maim, to disfigure and to terrorize,” Lewicki said. “For the sake of peace, these do not belong in our homes and in our communities.”

Rev. Gary Charles, senior pastor of Central Presbyterian Church, said “more guns do not equal more safety.”

Gun owners should be required to undergo training and background checks “before having the privilege of owning a deadly weapon like a car or a gun,” Charles said.

“It does not infringe on my rights that I have had to register my car…and I have had to pass a driving proficiency class before I could operate that deadly weapon—a car,” he said.

“As a pastor, I am here to resist the fearmongering of the gun lobby in America that makes no distinction about guns and which guns should be readily available for sale,” Charles said. “Everyday citizens do not need to own military assault weapons in order to hunt quail.”

“The Second Amendment is not about quail hunting,” Parsons said. “The Second Amendment is about defending our families and defending ourselves against a tyrannical government.

“We don’t believe there should be any government restrictions on our Second Amendment rights,” he said.

What some call “assault weapons” are “self defense rifles,” Parsons said. “They are not intended for hunting. They are intended to defend our families and defend our state and defend our country.”

Passage of Oliver’s bill would be a “tyrannical attack on our Second Amendment rights and a less safe Georgia,” Parsons said.

Shortly after the news conference, House Speaker David Ralston told reporters, “As long as I am speaker of this House, I will not use any of our valuable time taking away the constitutional rights of our citizens.”

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11 thoughts on “DeKalb representative sponsors anti-gun bill

  • January 21, 2016 at 10:32 am
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    Pass this Bill and get those slaughter weapons off the streets.

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    • January 21, 2016 at 9:28 pm
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      “Slaughter weapons” really people? You can literally kill someone with a spoon, a fork, or even a branch from a tree. The weapons are not the problem. It is the people that get their hands on these weapons that are the issue. I have several guns in my possession and not once has one got up, loaded itself, aimed at me, and pulled its own trigger. You see how that works. A gun is a tool just the same as a wrench, a drill, or a kitchen knife. Guns are meant for hunting and defense against someone attempting to harm you or your family. Do not take certain guns away, rather make sure the one pulling the trigger is safe, sane, and has the ever elusive gift of common sense. It is that easy people.

      Reply
  • January 21, 2016 at 7:25 pm
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    Show me where it states in the 2nd amendment where it says right to bear arms except this,this and ect!!

    The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
    So therefore I won’t comply at all!! Dumb democrats this is what the 2nd amendment was made for this very purpose! Come and take em!

    Reply
  • January 21, 2016 at 7:45 pm
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    Please defeat this bill and stop this infringement on my 2nd Amendment rights.

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  • January 21, 2016 at 8:16 pm
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    In response to the first comment, I really can’t stand when anti-gunners say that certain guns are “on the streets”, they are not “on the streets” they are in law abiding citizens homes giving those people adequate firepower to defend themselves from a wide variety of threats. The vast majority of gun crimes are not committed with so called “assault weapons” or to put it more accurately, semi-auto rifles with a cartridge capacity over 10 rounds, the majority of gun crimes are committed with very cheap saturday night special handguns. Why do you people always insist that the actions of a few nutjobs should dictate what the rights of the majority should be? You people say that these guns have no sporting purpose and aren’t used for hunting, first of all, the Second Amendment is not about hunting and deliberately does not say our weapons have to be for sporting purposes. Second, these people are wrong when they say that people don’t use them for hunting or sport.. they’re used for hunting and sport all the time.

    Reply
  • January 22, 2016 at 7:43 am
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    The second amendment right in the constitution was not written into our bill of rights to make sure people could hunt. Americans were given the right to bear arms to ensure they can form a militia to protect themselves from their government.

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  • January 22, 2016 at 9:23 am
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    Scrap that bill. It’s the against Second Amendment.

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  • January 22, 2016 at 10:46 am
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    Some here need a civics lesson and need to read the US Constitution. The 2nd Amendment is clearly about maintaining a well armed militia. That is the role the National Guard fulfils for us. The “militia” is not at all about protecting us from our own government. The ballot box does that more than anything. The militia is about protecting the nation. No one has any need for an automatic/assault weapon of any kind unless they are in the military and using it in the course of their duties. We have gone gun crazy out of ignorance and fear and it is costing us countless innocent lives….none of which are related to the maintenance of a militia.

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    • January 22, 2016 at 1:13 pm
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      You’re main one Bruce garner! You think I’m gonna sit around and wait for the government to protect me and my family! ? You are clueless just like the rest of this country that has your retarded views….

      Reply
    • January 23, 2016 at 8:01 pm
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      U need to reread the constitution. You are INCORRECT in your simpleton comprehension.

      Reply
  • January 22, 2016 at 1:29 pm
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    Kevin, I don’t know why you feel the need to use insulting terms such as “retarded” but never the less, I have more confidence in our system than you do. There are certain media outlets that have stoked fear and paranoia about our country just to manipulate people into believing the worst instead of looking for the best in our people. Having said that, please do not bring your guns or your attitude around me….it’s not a good mix.

    Reply

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