The debate: More gun laws vs. freedom

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Georgia moms are pushing for more laws on gun safety while gun shop owners pull back and say there are better solutions. Many ask, where is the line?

Kayton Smith, a local gun shop owner of Pooler Guns Inc., feels more laws are unnecessary. He says, "If you could magically snap your fingers and cause every firearm to disappear off the face of the earth today, would you stop violence? No. You're still going to have violence."

Smith sells assault weapons to law-abiding customers every day and says more laws would only hurt those who follow them.

"The people who are doing these things are not law-abiding," Smith said, "so, therefore, passing more regulations and laws is not going to stop it."

Smith claims DUI laws stop short of banning alcohol and cell phone driving laws don't ban phones, so why ban guns? He thinks legislators should try a different approach.

"Instead of trying to ban the guns, look at the individual. That's where the problem is," Smith said.

A couple dozen women who part of local group, Mom's Demand Action, spent their day lobbying for gun safety at the capital. They say they are not against guns and are certainly for second amendment rights. In fact, several women in their group own guns. It's their kids begging for protection.

"These students are really shaming us adults who have failed to act and have failed to protect them in schools and failed to protect them in other situations as well," says Anne Westbrook, the State Legislative Lead of the Georgia Chapter for Mom's Demand Action.

Westbrook says she looks at other states that have stricter gun laws and lower death rates.

"The fact of the matter is the evidence bears it out. We do this, we're going to see fewer people die. We can't stop everybody. We cannot rid the world of bad actors. We know that, but we can do these things to keep people from dying."

Here is a list of gun-related laws currently on the table for the Georgia Legislature:

  • Three different proposals would allow people to carry firearms without a permit into parks and recreational areas.
  • On the gun control side, a pair of bills aims to require proof of some kind of firearms safety training in order to receive a weapons carry license. Currently, no training is needed in Georgia.
  • One measure would ban people convicted on domestic violence charges from owning guns and require them to give up the ones they have.
  • State Democrats are continuing their push to ban assault weapons and some kinds of ammunition.
  • There’s also a proposed state-level bump stock ban, although President Trump instructed the Department of Justice to act to ban them Tuesday.
  • A proposal that has support on both sides is changing a state law that requires the Georgia Bureau Investigation to purge records of people permanently prohibited from owning guns due to mental illness. Those rolls are now cleared after five years.

More gun laws or not - that will be left up to Congress - but these moms say they will stop at nothing to make sure their kids come home safe and sound every night.

"I would have loved to have spent the evening with my children tonight, but I think this is so important that I got on a bus and traveled 500 miles in one day to go try to keep my child safe," Westbrook said.

To learn more about Mom's Demand Action or join their mission, text ACT to 64433.

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