Georgia lawmakers focused on gun safety to start 2023

Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 11:21 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - With less than a week until the start of the 2023 legislative session, Georgia Sen. Elena Parent said she’s crafted a bill that would allow vendors to ban guns in public parks.

“Frankly there is danger involved in a state with guns as ubiquitous as we have them here in Georgia where you have a lot of people,” said Parent, after a town hall in Atlanta previewing the upcoming session.

RELATED: Gun safety rally held in Marietta to discuss safety in wake of recent violence.

In August, organizers of Music Midtown suddenly canceled the popular September music festival at least in part due to the city’s gun policies.

“And revise it [state constitution] so that large events in public spaces in public parks have the ability to set up screenings and bar weapons from those large events,” said Parent.

In August, artists confirmed they were told by festival organizers the cancellation was due to gun safety concerns.

“What was communicated directly to us through various sources was because of gun safety,” said Uni Hunte with Awfbeat, set to make their Music Midtown debut in September.

The state’s constitution carries law, which went into effect in January, non-felons no longer need to have a permit with them to carry a firearm in public.

“We have a governor who has changed the laws so much so that people with these [referencing a gun permit card] – this doesn’t even matter even more,” said Antonio Lewis, Atlanta city councilmember.

Lewis just guided a new ordinance through Atlanta City Council that calls for the City to hand out 2,000 free lockboxes to encourage gun owners to safely store their guns in their cars and at home.

“This is a way for us to put a dent in crime. Even if we save one life,” said Lewis, who said the initiative would be funded through federal dollars.

Lewis, a gun owner, said the lockboxes would help deter accidental shootings and reduce the theft of unsecured firearms, and the crimes that stem from them.

The parent said she believes there will be a slew of bill proposals addressing gun access and storage.

“I know that I as well as a number of my colleagues will be filing for some common-sense regulations around weapons,” said Parent.