Georgia lawmakers move to loosen gun laws after shootings

Georgia state senators voted 34-18 on Monday for a bill that loosens the state’s gun laws less than two weeks after police say a man bought a gun and killed eight people at three different massage businesses. Although some Democrats introduced measures to require a waiting period before buying a gun in Georgia, Monday’s vote shows the continuing push in Republican-controlled states to extend gun rights rather than tighten them. “I’m proud to say this bill will protect the Second Amendment rights of Georgians," said state Sen. Bo Hatchett, a Republican from Cornelia. In Georgia, the conflict could figure heavily into 2022 state elections, when Democrats hope to make further gains in a state that had in recent years been dominated by Republicans, until Joe Biden won Georgia’s electoral votes in November and Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff won Senate runoffs in January. Because the Senate made changes to House Bill 218, it goes back to the House for more debate. If the House agrees with the Senate changes, the measure would go to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature or veto. It would take effect as soon at the governor signs it. Minority Democrats attacked the measure as wrongheaded, saying the United States already has too many guns and too much gun violence. Sen. Elena Parent, an Atlanta Republican, said Georgia and the United States should instead study what can be done to reduce violence. "We don’t have to see three establishments shot up and eight people […]

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