The Savannah City Council is trying a new tactic to keep guns out of criminals' hands but finding their own hands are tied. They don't like the fact that, in Georgia, people buying firearms at gun shows don't have to go through a background check. They think that creates a loophole for criminals, and they don't want any part of it. But year after year, gun shows are hosted on city property -- the Savannah Civic Center.
City council was hoping to kick those gun shows out of the civic center. In fact, they wanted to ban gun sales on all city-owned property. But when the city attorney looked into it, he found out that ban would be illegal in Georgia.
City council members don't think they can get the Republican-controlled legislature to change that law.
"If you're buying or selling at a gun show, there are fewer restrictions than if you buy or sell at a gun shop," Post 2 City Councilman Tom Bordeaux said, "which is crazy to my way of thinking because a gun shop is here in this town, pays taxes, employs locals and if we're going to look out for somebody it seems we would look out for the taxpaying locals rather than someone who can come in and leave their guns on our street and leave town."
Mayor Pro Tem Van Johnson said he's accepted the fact that civic center gun shows will continue.
"The final analysis is you know we're sworn to uphold the law, and the law in Georgia is the city of Savannah cannot regulate gun shows," he said.
City council members were careful to say they support voters' Second Amendment rights. They just want to make sure the city isn't helping guns to land in the wrong hands.