Georgia Democratic lawmakers push for gun law reform at state Capitol

Georgia Democrats are set to announce a push for passing gun control legislation in response to the recent deadly mass shooting across the country.

Friday morning, Democratic lawmakers are holding a press conference on the steps of the state Capitol urging the General Assembly to pass gun control legislation.

State Rep. Sandra Scott, who represents Rex, Georgia, and other members of the House Democratic Caucus will be part of the call for action.


Some of the changes they want to see in place include background checks for purchasing weapons and a ban on semiautomatic weapons.

Georgia does not currently have any laws prohibiting the sale or possession of AR-15-style weapons.

In April, Gov. Brian Kemp signed Senate Bill 319, better known as the Constitutional Carry Act, into law. The law allows permitless carry in Georgia, making the Peach State the 25th state with such a law.

"SB 319 makes sure that law-abiding Georgians, including our daughters, and your family too, can protect themselves without having to have permission from your state government," Kemp said outside Gable Sporting Goods in Douglasville, where he said he had previously purchased a handgun for one of his daughters. "The Constitution of the United States gives us that right, not the government."

AR-15 semi-automatic guns are on display for sale at Action Target on June 17, 2016 in Springville, Utah. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

Under Georgia law, people who have been convicted of a felony, are facing felony charges or have been treated for certain mental health issues within the past five years can’t carry a gun. The new law didn't change that, but it removes the background check for a permit to carry a loaded or concealed handgun in public. Democrats note that more than 5,000 people applied for permits last year and were blocked, and say police and the public will now face the danger of some of those people carrying guns.

The state would still issue concealed-carry permits to allow Georgians to take advantage of agreements allowing interstate gun carry. Kemp also signed a bill in April enhancing reciprocity in Georgia for gun owners from other states.

The Democrats push for new stricter gun legislation comes a day after President Joe Biden spoke at the White House imploring Congress to take action on the issue, which he said had turned schools, supermarkets and other everyday places into "killing fields."

Biden repeated calls to restore a ban on the sale of assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines — and said if Congress won’t embrace all of his proposals, it must at least find compromises like keeping firearms from those with mental health issues or raising the age to buy assault-style weapons from 18 to 21.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.