DomeLight by Jim Zachary

DomeLight by Jim Zachary 

State lawmakers across the country are grappling with how they will handle calls for gun control legislation in their respective states. 

Georgia is no different. 

As our state representatives and senators talk with constituents about these challenges, they should be completely transparent and forthcoming about their ties to the NRA and pro gun lobbyists. 

These conversations must be about what makes sense for Georgia, what keeps people safe and not about how much money lawmakers receive to fund their campaigns to stay in office. 

Whether a representative rejects gun control measures or embraces them should be based on principles not dollars, and merely disclosing that information on required campaign finance disclosures is not good enough. 

Every lawmaker that gets out in front of this issue, calls a press conference, sits down for an interview with a reporter, holds a town hall or meets with constituents should openly, candidly and transparently say just how much they receive from the gun lobby.

Our elections, our laws and our lawmakers should not be bought. 

Sure, Georgia is a “Second Amendment State.” 

But Georgia is not alone. 

Many states may lay claim to that moniker. 

But what does that mean? 

No mainstream lawmakers, Republican or Democrat, have called for a repeal of the Second Amendment. 

For the past several years, the Georgia General Assembly has loosened gun laws while rejecting measures to pass any controls, such as what are being called “Red Flag” laws that would allow a judge to order guns be kept out of the hands of people deemed unstable or dangerous. 

Back in 2014, the General Assembly expanded where guns could legally be carried in the state. 

That 2014 relaxation of gun laws meant that, with certain restrictions, guns could be carried in public schools, bars, churches and government buildings. 

Then, in 2016, the law was expanded again to include campus carry at Georgia colleges and universities. 

It remains to be seen what the federal government will or will not do, but there is definitely a climate for lawmakers everywhere to do something in the aftermath of tragic mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

Regardless of what Congress does, even traditionally conservative lawmakers in conservative states are having the conversations. 

Those conversations should be honest, forthright discussions and not canned talking points or cloaked government-speak meant to conceal who and what really influences lawmakers the most. 

Maybe what we really need is comprehensive campaign finance reform so lawmakers answer, first and foremost, to the people they represent. 

 

CNHI Deputy National Editor Jim Zachary is CNHI’s regional editor for its Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida and Texas newspaper and editor of the Valdosta Daily Times. He is Vice President of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation.

React to this story:

0
1
0
0
2

Recommended for you