SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Georgia’s General Assembly has ended its legislative session for the year, but the work to pass gun legislation continues. This came after the recent spa shootings in Atlanta.
It’s an uphill battle that Democratic lawmakers say they are ready to climb.
“But just like a lot of things in Georgia have been an uphill battle doesn’t mean it doesn’t get done,” State Senator Michelle Au said.
Lawmakers a part of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community are pushing to change the state’s gun laws after last month’s shooting spree in Atlanta that killed eight people. Six of the victims killed were Asian American.
“What we talked about was in the wake of this tragedy to not just reflect on our grief and to support the community, but actually to turn that energy and sadness into actual legislative action,” Au said.
Senator Au and State Representative Sam Park recently introduced bills, but they were submitted too late to be voted on. House Bill 788, Senate Bill 309, and House Bill 784 would have established a five-day waiting period for all firearm purchases in the state.
“It takes less time to get a gun in the state of Georgia and go on a mass shooting spree than it does to register to vote and cast your vote,” Park said.
But Stephen Leli, a sales associate at Thunderbolt Guns, LLC doesn’t agree. He said these bills won’t make a difference.
“I think it’s ridiculous because right now every single time you buy a firearm you need to do the paperwork and if you don’t have a weapon’s carrier permit in Georgia you need to do the background check. It could be instant pass and it also can be a five-day delay,” Leli said.
Park said a waiting period would let someone cool off before causing harm.
“If you think it’s the person not the gun, that’s the problem. Pass a waiting period so a person does not act out of impulse,” Park said.
“There’s always going to be targets. I personally say right now, don’t give in. Defend yourself,” Leli said.
Another gun bill, House Bill 218, would have allowed anyone from any state that has a concealed weapons permit to carry in Georgia. The bill did pass in the Senate but didn’t move forward.