HomeNewsAsian-American Georgia lawmakers call for gun reforms after recent mass shootings

Asian-American Georgia lawmakers call for gun reforms after recent mass shootings

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by Rebecca Grapevine | May 27, 2022 | Capitol Beat News Service

Georgia Sen. Michelle Au (D-Johns Creek) called for gun law reforms on Friday.

America is facing an “epidemic of gun violence,” state Sen. Michelle Au, D-Johns Creek, said Friday at a press conference called by the Democratic Party of Georgia in response to the recent mass shootings.

“It keeps happening and sometimes it feels like it never stops,” Au said.

In March of last year, eight Asian-American women were killed in an attack on spas in metro Atlanta. Au said the attack “rocked the nation’s Asian-American community to its core.”

Michael Webb’s wife, Xiaojie Tan, was one of the women killed.

Webb – who said he is a gun owner and not a liberal or even a Democrat – called for “common-sense gun control and gun safety” measures like waiting periods to take possession of a firearm after purchase.

“I feel reasonably confident – knowing the evidence – that the mother of my daughter would be alive had there just been a three or a five-day waiting period,” said Webb. “We have it in other states.”

Webb said he also supports universal background checks and making it more difficult to purchase assault weapons. Assault weapons are “made to kill people – they’re not made for sport,” he said.

Robert Peterson, the youngest son of another woman killed in the attack, Yong Ae Yue, criticized Georgia’s new permit-less carry law, which Gov. Brian Kemp signed last month. 

The new law “makes us all less safe,” Peterson said.  “It removes the crucial step of needing to pass a background check before being allowed to carry a concealed gun in public.”

Advocates of the permit-less measure contend otherwise.

“Criminals do not care about a carry permit,” state Sen. Jason Anavitarte, R-Dallas, the bill’s chief sponsor, said during a debate on the bill in the Senate during this year’s legislative session.

The new permit-less carry law “makes sure that law-abiding Georgians … can protect themselves without having to ask permission from state government,”  Kemp said when he signed the bill in April.

Au, a doctor who also holds a master’s degree in public health, argued that gun violence should be treated as a public health issue that requires layered, multifocal solutions.

“We have to come at it from a lot of different ways because there are a lot of different reasons that people are victims of gun violence, including things like mental health issues, suicide … .domestic violence,” she said.  “Mass shootings … tend to get the most attention.”

State Rep. Sam Park, D-Lawrenceville, echoed Au’s perspective, saying, “This should not be a partisan issue. This should not be a political issue. This is a public safety issue.”

The frequent mass shootings are the results of policy choices, Park said.

“With good public policies … we can ensure and protect our constitutional rights, but also protect lives,” he said.

Park is running for reelection to the Georgia House this fall.

Au expressed frustration at how Republican leaders in the Georgia General Assembly have prevented discussion of gun law reforms.

Park and Au introduced bills this year that would have required a five-day waiting period after purchasing certain weapons. Au also introduced a bill that would have required universal background checks.

“Not only have the bills not passed and been signed into law, they’ve been blocked to the point that they haven’t even been given the courtesy of being heard in committee,” Au said. “They won’t even let us discuss the bills.”

Despite the challenges, Au and Park said they and others would keep advocating for reforms, with plans to introduce bills requiring universal background checks, waiting periods, and safe gun storage during the next session.

Au said such measures are supported by a majority of Georgians.

“We are not going to give up because the environment around gun safety is changing,” she said.

Au now is running for the Georgia House of Representatives. She chose to give up her Senate seat after redistricting made it much more favorable to the GOP.

“With each successive tragedy … people are going to demand that our leaders start to at least have this conversation in public about passing, or at least discussing, common-sense gun safety legislation,” said Au, who has emerged as a leading Democratic voice on this issue in the past few years.

In response to the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday, Kemp noted that Georgia has sponsored school safety trainings and threat assessments. He also highlighted funding for school mental health programs in Georgia, including $6 million allotted for a student mental health initiative.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Any waiting period would be fine. Again, the criminals don’t care, they will have guns and law abiding citizens will follow the rules. Look at Chicago. They have a lot of gun control laws and the gun violence there is some of the worst in the country.

  2. While well intended Ms. Au fails to grasp the entirety of the problem and the root causes of it. The problem is far worse than the vast majority can imagine. The problem is not firearms or knives or hammers. The problem is the deterioration of the majority American culture which controlled such actions with social pressures. Until that cultural control is redeveloped among those who have lost it, the problems will continue. Knee jerk reactions to these types of events are not productive. Legal restrictions only impact the law abiding.

  3. Governments have failed to legislate the following out of existence – gambling, profanity, pornography, tobacco, alcohol, drugs, prostitution, domestic abuse, ad infinitum, ad nauseam. The same liberal morons who want more gun laws do not want existing laws strictly enforced and the convicted offenders sent to prison. They also fantasize that criminals will obey new guns laws and that imposing new gun laws on law-abiding, mentally stable gun owners will reduce mass murders that involve firearms.

    As Phillip Williams commented, none of these politicians are interesting in identifying the root cause(s) of these social issues and developing effective actions that prevent, not mitigate, them. Our current culture and governments destroyed the two-parent family, made many citizens wards of the state, drove religion out of schools and everyday activities, and created schools that mainly turn out unskilled “graduates” with worthless degrees who operate on indoctrinated feelings, fads, and emotions; not credible data, facts, and logic. They protest for their abortion rights while the farms, industries, and infrastructure that feed, clothe, shelter, and transport them are failing before their eyes. They cheer the Secretary of Transportation for strapping on fake breasts to feed the poor child he adopted, while truckers can’t afford diesel fuel for their trucks. They ignore the 212 victims shot in Chicago in 2022 by the end of May.

    The Supreme Court and other federal courts have repeatedly ruled that law enforcement officers have no to protect a citizen unless that citizen is in their custody. So the Democrats perpetually want to confiscate firearms, ban “weapons of war” and large magazines, and impose purchase waiting times, which only affect the very people who would not commit a crime with a firearm, but would use one for self-defense. Hey Democrats, why not enforce current firearm laws – prosecute all violations and impose the maximum state and federal sentences. Hold parents responsible for creating and arming these monsters and releasing them in our society. instead of spending our taxes on free benefits for illegal immigrants, spend it to train and equip reliable and effective security forces and systems for our schools. Are airports, federal and county office buildings, and Joe Biden’s dog more important than our children?

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