Georgia lawmaker joins Democratic effort to force vote on gun control

House democrats could force votes on gun control
Published: Jun. 14, 2023 at 5:43 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - On Tuesday, House Democrats tried a new and more aggressive measure to force votes on gun control measures like background checks and assault-style rifle bans.

In what’s known as a discharge petition, Democrats will now try to collect the signatures of all 212 of their fellow House lawmakers and six Republican members to reach a majority and force votes on gun control legislation without having them stop in a committee for a hearing first.

“There’s not any one piece of legislation that does it, there’s a whole series of policy,” said Georgia Representative Lucy McBath (D). “You’re 25 times more likely to die in the United States than anywhere else by guns and people have decided enough is enough and they’re fed up. And we need to be preserving human life.”

McBath lost her own son Jordan to gun violence in 2012 – an event that in part sparked her campaign for Congress. But after a string of recent devastating shootings in Georgia, including one in May at a medical office in Midtown Atlanta that left one dead and four hurt, McBath said it’s time to renew considerations on gun safety measures.

Discharge petition signatures are not anonymous and it remains to be known if enough House Republicans will willingly sign their name onto the effort.

Community advocates say background checks are a bare-minimum safety measure that many gun stores are already executing.

“We do this for a driver’s license, when you get a passport you have to wait; you have to put in a lot of information to get those things,” said Leanne Rubenstein co-director of Compassionate Atlanta. “We’re not taking anything away from anyone, but we’re saying that we should be responsible.”

Democrats have long sought increased gun control measures to little avail in Washington, D.C.

McBath is hoping that forcing the issue will break up the decades of gridlock.

“I’m really grateful to see the movement growing and the numbers of people,” she said. “Republicans, Democrats, Independents, it doesn’t matter anymore – people just recognize that there’s too much carnage in our communities.”