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Georgia GOP responds to mass shooting with bill to loosen gun laws

There've been plenty of observations about the GOP making it easier to access a gun than a ballot. Georgia Republicans are taking the adage quite seriously
Image: Deadly shootings at three spas in Georgia
A makeshift memorial of flowers and a poster outside Gold Spa in Atlanta, on March 17, 2021.Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

Ordinarily, in response to deadly mass shootings, there's a public debate about whether to limit access to guns in the hopes of preventing the next massacre. In the wake of a recent mass shooting in Atlanta, however, Republican state legislators are moving in the opposite direction. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported:

Two weeks after eight people where gunned down in three Atlanta-area spas, the Georgia Senate on Monday approved legislation to loosen the state's gun laws. "This is a Second Amendment protection bill that further recognizes Georgia's commitment to protect its citizens and their Second Amendment rights," said state Sen. Bo Hatchett, a Cornelia Republican.

There have been plenty of observations lately about GOP officials who want to make gun access easier, while making ballot access harder, but Georgia Republicans appear to be taking the adage quite seriously.

It was just last week when GOP policymakers in the state approved a new voter-suppression law, sparking national blowback. This week, on the heels of the Atlanta shootings that left eight people dead, those same lawmakers are looking for ways to make Georgia's gun laws even less restrictive.

Specifically, the GOP-led state House passed a bill to make it easier for those visiting Georgia to legally bring guns into the state. The Republican-led state Senate amended the bill to make it easier for Georgians getting gun carry licenses online, while also limiting the power of Georgia's governor to close weapons manufacturers or shooting ranges during a public emergency.

The revised bill will need to be approved by the state House before it's sent to Gov. Brian Kemp (R) to be signed into law.

State Sen. Elena Parent (D) reminded her colleagues during the debate, "We don't have to live like this. We don't have to see three establishments shot up and eight people dead in our state. We don't have to live in fear of the next mass shooting."

Evidently, her Republican colleagues were unmoved by the argument.