Decatur Democrat Tries Again With Assault Weapons Ban

Ric Feld / Associated Press

Assault weapons would be prohibited in Georgia by a bill proposed in the State House of Representatives.

Under the legislation, it would be a misdemeanor to own, sell or distribute certain guns that are classified as assault weapons, large capacity magazines and some types of bullets. A similar bill did not make any headway in the 2016 legislative session.

Democratic state Representative Mary Margaret Oliver, from Decatur, pre-filed the bill earlier this month.

At a hearing at the capital on Tuesday, she told a crowd of about 100 supporters that she wants to start a conversation.

“I choose not to be silent,” she said. “I am not going to be quiet on the issue of guns.”

A trauma surgeon and Morehouse School of Medicine professor; a reverend who served in the Navy; and the coordinator of the organization, Interfaith Children’s Movement, spoke in support of the bill.

Oliver said she’s open to discussing other options, for instance, making it legal to possess those kinds of weapons, if the owner gets some kind of certification.

“A lot of people throw up their arms and say, ‘You can’t do anything in Georgia.’ Well, you’ve got to do something,” said Bobbi Paul, with the group Grandmothers for Peace.

In the legislative session, which starts in January, Republican lawmakers are expected to pursue bills to expand gun rights in the state.

“Prohibiting any type of firearm would only remove them from the hands of law-abiding citizens,” said House Speaker David Ralston, a Republican from Blue Ridge. “You can rest assured that criminals and terrorists will hang on to theirs.

“While I respect Rep. Oliver’s convictions, her proposal remains a non-starter.  In Georgia, we will continue preserve the protection that the Second Amendment provides.”

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