ATLANTA, GA. – The Georgia chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statements as the Georgia State Legislature gavels in for the upcoming legislative session. Georgia ranks 46th in the nation for its weak gun laws, lacking all foundational gun safety laws.
Last session, Rep. Michelle Au’s bill secure storage bill, HB 161, which would have required people to securely store their guns if children could gain access to them and was the first piece of common sense gun reform legislation heard in committee by the Republican-led Georgia General Assembly in 10 years, nearly 2 years to the day after the Spa Shooting in Acworth, targeting the AAPI community.
“Despite Governor Kemp and Republicans in the legislature being hellbent on succumbing to the gun lobby’s guns everywhere agenda, we are here this session to make it known that Georgians deserve to feel safe in their everyday lives,” said Elaine DeSimone, a volunteer with the Georgia chapter of Moms Demand Action. “This year lawmakers should learn from past mistakes and put forward policies that make Georgia families safer instead of putting profits over our own people. We cannot wait for the next tragedy to strike before taking action, we need to stop the shooting before it starts.”
“Instead of using their legislative power to prevent future tragedies, Georgia lawmakers have focused on shutting down several bills to introduce common-sense gun violence prevention measures,” said Insherah Qazi, a sophomore at Agnes Scott College and volunteer with the Georgia chapter of Students Demand Action. It was not long ago that right down the street a tragic act of gun violence wreaked havoc on metro Atlanta, where an act as simple as entering a midtown medical building was met with fatal gunfire. We should be able to feel safe in our schools or going to a doctor’s appointment. We won’t accept that this is how we must live.”
For the upcoming legislation, the Georgia chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks are calling for:
- Passing a secure storage law to better protect Georgian children and adults by helping to prevent unintentional shootings, gun suicides, and thefts. Georgia should require guns to be stored securely anytime they are not in the owner’s possession–including in vehicles. In recent years, guns have been stolen from cars at an increasingly alarming rate, and are now the largest source of stolen firearms nationwide. Warner Robins, Georgia ranks as fifth in the highest rates of gun thefts from cars across the entire country.
Promoting safe and responsible gun ownership, like secure storage, helps prevent unauthorized access to firearms by children. It is imperative to recognize the gun violence epidemic as a public health crisis that is the number one killer of children and teens in Georgia and the United States.
Gun violence costs Georgia $23.9 billion each year, of which $597.8 million is paid by taxpayers. Georgia suffers from some of the weakest gun laws in the country and in an average year, 1,868 people die by guns in Georgia, and 4,321 more are wounded. With a rate of 17.4 deaths per 100,000 people, Georgia has the 17th-highest rate of gun deaths in the US.