Georgia lacks common sense gun laws
By the Brady Campaign
Washington, D.C. – Georgia has weak gun laws that help feed the illegal gun market, allow the sale of guns without background checks and put children at risk, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. In the organization’s 2008 state scorecards released today for all 50 states, Georgia earned just seven points out of a total of 100.
“Firearms policy in Georgia is a major factor in public safety, but too many of our legislators do not get the connection. How people get guns and who gets them is the difference between a rising rate of violence and safer communities. Until our state leaders understand that connection, they will continue to make bad decisions that endanger our citizens, our law enforcement personnel and our neighborhoods,” said Alice Johnson, Executive Director of Georgians for Gun Safety.
Georgia’s score actually dropped by two points as the legislature passed, and the Governor signed, legislation to allow loaded guns on workplace property. The new law forces private property owners, business owners and major employers to allow their employees to have loaded guns on company property, even if the company does not want guns on their property. “Allowing a disgruntled employee to have a loaded gun accessible in their car is a recipe for disaster,” said Valerie Hartman-Levy, spokesperson for the Georgia Million Mom March Chapters. “State legislators should be ashamed.”
“Georgia doesn’t do enough to keep dangerous people from getting dangerous weapons,” said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign.
The state’s complete scorecard results can be accessed at Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
. The categories covered by the Georgia 2008 scorecard are as follows:
States can earn up to 35 points by taking all measures needed to “Curb Firearm Trafficking.” States can fully regulate the gun dealers within their borders, limit bulk purchases of handguns, provide police certain technology to identify crime guns, and require lost or stolen guns to be reported to the police. Georgia earned just five points in this category.
States can earn up to 25 points by “Strengthening Brady Background Checks.” This involves requiring background checks on all gun sales and requiring a permit in order to purchase firearms. Short of universal background checks, states can also close the gun show loophole, at least requiring background checks for all gun show sales. Georgia scored zero points in this category.
States can earn up to 20 points by “Protecting Child Safety” when it comes to guns. States can require that only childproof handguns be sold within their borders, require child safety locks to be sold with each handgun, hold adults accountable for keeping guns away from kids and teens, and require handgun purchasers to be at least 21 years of age. Georgia scored zero points in this category.
States can earn up to 10 points by “Banning Military-style Assault Weapons,” as well as banning high-capacity ammunition magazines. Georgia scored zero points in this category.
States can earn up to 10 points by making it harder to carry “Guns In Public Places” (except for trained law enforcement and security) and by allowing localities to “Preserve Local Control” over municipal gun laws. This includes keeping guns out of workplaces and college campuses, not forcing law enforcement to issue concealed handgun permits on demand, not permitting “shoot first” expansions in self-defense laws, and not preventing municipalities from passing their own gun laws. Georgia scored just two points in this category.
Brady Campaign officials acknowledge the research of Legal Community Against Violence on state gun laws. Their publication, “Regulating Guns in America,” and website served as a basis for our analysis. For more information about Legal Community Against Violence, see Legal Community Against Violence
As the nation's largest, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading the fight to prevent gun violence, the Brady Campaign, with its dedicated network of Million Mom March Chapters, works to enact and enforce sensible gun laws, regulations and public policies. The Brady Campaign is devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities.
For continuing insight and comment on the gun issue, read Paul Helmke's blog at Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
. Visit the Brady Campaign website at Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence