As the Georgia legislature returns to Atlanta for the start of the 2021 legislative session, lawmakers will again have the opportunity to pass common-sense gun safety bills. Gun violence prevention is more important than ever in the new year as the pandemic continues to exacerbate gun violence and after a year of increased gun sales, continued police violence, increased risk of suicide and domestic violence, and an increase in city gun violence.
After last week, when violent extremists – some of whom were reportedly armed – stormed and damaged the United States Capitol Building in an act of violent insurrection, the need to reject radical policies which would likely embolden extremists and vigilantes has never been more evident. Armed protestors also gathered outside the state Capitol in Georgia in solidarity with the attempted coup in Washington, D.C., forcing Georgia’s secretary of state and his staff to evacuate.
This year, lawmakers should protect Georgians by rejecting dangerous legislation that would weaken our gun laws and by supporting gun safety bills that would reduce gun deaths and save lives, starting with repealing Georgia’s racist “Stand Your Ground” law.
What to know about so-called “Stand Your Ground” in Georgia:
- Georgia is one of 27 states with a Stand Your Ground law, which encourages armed vigilantism and allows a person to kill another person in public even if the shooter could have safely walked away from danger. Stand Your Ground laws are associated with increases in homicide rates resulting in more than 150 additional gun deaths each month. Stand Your Ground laws are also associated with an increase in firearm injuries, resulting in emergency room visits and hospitalizations.
- So-called “Stand Your Ground” laws are inherently dangerous for everyone, but have a particularly harmful impact on people of color. When white shooters kill Black victims and claim a “Stand Your Ground” defense, the resulting homicides are deemed justifiable far more frequently than when the victim is white and the shooter Black.
- To date, more than 2,100 Georgians have signed Everytown’s petition calling on lawmakers to repeal Stand Your Ground legislation. More information about Stand Your Ground laws is available here.
What to know about gun violence in Georgia:
- In Georgia, on average, 1,543 people are shot and killed with a gun every year.
- An average of 628 people in Georgia die by gun homicide every year; Georgia has the 11th highest rate of gun homicide in the United States. Black people in Georgia are six times as likely to die by gun homicide as white people.
- Firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens in Georgia. In an average year, 133 children and teens die by gun in Georgia, and 64% of these deaths are homicides. Black children and teens are three times as likely as their white peers to die by guns.
Statistics about gun violence in Georgia are available here, and Everytown’s Gun Law Navigator – which shows how Georgia gun laws compare to those of other states – is available here.
If you have questions, or to request an interview with a volunteer from Georgia Moms Demand Action, please don’t hesitate to reach out.