Georgia’s gun control debate follows national playbook

(The Center Square) — The two sides in the ongoing gun debate in Georgia are largely following a playbook that sees pro- and anti-gun policymakers pushing similar legislation across the country.

Democrats nationwide have renewed their push for stricter gun laws in the wake of shootings in Atlanta and Kansas City.

“Gun violence is a grim, uniquely American epidemic,” Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Communications Director Abhi Rahman said in a statement. “…We cannot allow these senseless massacres to continue – state legislatures are where important gun legislation is being debated and policy is being decided.

“Unfortunately, state Republicans across the country have shown how ill-equipped and unwilling they are to take common-sense, life-saving action,” Rahman added. “…We can build a safer tomorrow through our state legislatures.”

In Georgia, as is the case in many states, the pro-gun side and the anti-gun movements both have their playbooks they follow, Kirk Evans, president of U.S. LawShield, told The Center Square.

“The pro-gun states over the last 10 years have done a number of things,” Evans said. “They pushed forward with open carry and permit-less carry. A while back was ‘stand your ground;’ a few years ago, the big deal was sanctuary cities [and] sanctuary states and then lowering or making cheaper the requirements to get a permit.

“The anti-gun side has its own playbook, and in a number of states, it’s been very, very similar,” Evans added. “It’s been magazine capacities, liability insurance requirements, [and] some what they call an assault weapons ban.”

Lawmakers in anti-gun states had also pushed red flag laws, mandatory reporting of stolen guns and safe storage requirements. Another tactic, Evans said, is “creating new causes of action against the gun industry.”

“So not just if somebody hurts you with the gun, you can sue them, but making it easier to actually go after the gun industry,” Evans said. “And that’s been passed in five or six different states.”

In Georgia, a Democratic lawmaker proposed the Safe Storage Tax Credit Act to incentivize purchasing firearm safes. Earlier this month, Georgia state Senators passed a separate measure, Senate Bill 344, which exempts the sales of guns and accessories, including ammunition and safes, from sales and use taxes for five days annually, starting on the second Friday of October.

“Where does Georgia fit in?” Evans said. “Georgia has pretty much all of those [pro-gun measures] already; there’s not that much more that they can do other than maybe reducing the restricted areas where you might be able to carry a firearm.”