ATLANTA (WSAV) — Georgia lawmakers say tougher penalties on gun owners and universal background checks will reduce gun related violence.

“In Georgia, gun violence is the leading cause of death in teens,” said State Rep. Anne Allen Westbrook (D-Savannah) “That was not the case a decade ago. It’s getting worse and we need frank conversations on this.”

She said, “We believe constitutional rights can co-exist with safer gun laws.”

One bill that heads to Governor Kemp’s desk is House Bill 147 – The Schools Safe Act – that will require schools to have “active intruder alert” shooter drills in case of an actual emergency.

“A number of Democrats have put a whole slate of gun safety like safe storage, personal liability to keep their own firearms secure and those who may commit crimes with them,” Rep. Westbrook explained. 

Senate Bill 44 – The Street Gang Terrorism And Prevention Act – will impose the toughest penalties for street gang offenses, while House Bill 462 would treat 17-year-olds in juvenile court for first time offenders.

“Prosecution on gangs to ensure that there are teeth to the law. The governor has started the GBI gang task force and put energy to watch for gangs in Georgia,” State Rep. Jodi Lott (R-Augusta) said. 

Other proposals include better training for police officers on how to handle force, body cameras and hiring the right candidates for the job.