ATLANTA — Should you be held criminally liable if someone takes a firearm out of your home or car and uses it in a crime?
One Democratic lawmaker thinks so and is taking that bill, along with a package of new gun safety legislation, to the state House of Representatives.
Channel 2′s Richard Elliot was at the State Capitol where that package can expect tough opposition from Republicans.
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“(I) think guns are taken out of cars and taken out of homes every day and used in crimes,” Decatur Democrat Mary Margaret Oliver said.
Oliver is working on legislation that would allow police to charge a gun owner if their unsecured firearm is taken out of a house or car and then later used to commit a crime.
“What is the personal responsibility for you as a gun owner to make sure your gun is not used by a child or by a criminal,” Oliver asked.
That bill is part of a package of gun safety legislation including two bills by Johns Creek Democrat Michelle Au. One would create a three-day waiting period and the other universal background checks on all gun purchases, public and private, and transfers.
Even with the growing concern over gun violence, both Au and Oliver acknowledge passing them won’t be easy.
“I think the culture around guns is staring to change, slowly, and I think that the legislature is starting to change slowly,” Au said.
“What we really need is to focus on legislation that protects Georgians, not legislation that attempts to get our names in the newspaper,” Columbus Republican Randy Robertson said.
Robertson is a retired deputy sheriff.
He thinks there are already criminal charges on the books, such as reckless endangerment, that cover some of what Oliver’s bill would do.
He agrees that with Republican control over both the house and Senate, these bills probably won’t get much traction.
“I really appreciate that, and I understand the emotion behind it. but we already have laws on the books that do that,” Robertson said.
Oliver hopes there will be at least some debate on gun safety issues, though she concedes, that probably won’t happen.
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