OPINION: Some new Georgia members of Congress likely to lean far right on gun control

Second Amendment

If it’s up to some likely new members of Congress in Georgia after Jan. 1, any new effort to change gun laws is pretty much one that has already been decided: no change, no matter the circumstances.

The May 24 massacre of 19 schoolchildren and two teachers inside a classroom in Uvalde, Texas, and the murders of 10 at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket, both allegedly by 18-year-olds, are once again bringing calls for legislation to use so-called “red flag laws” to keep guns away from possible future assailants who have mental health issues, and raise the minimum age to 21 to obtain assault-styled weapons like AR-15 rifles.

In the 10th Congressional District, which will cover about 70% of Newton County’s geographic area after Jan. 1, a debate livestreamed on GPB Monday featured Republicans Mike Collins and Vernon Jones.

The two qualified for a June 21 runoff after they were the two top vote-getters out of eight candidates in the May 24 Primary Election. The winner of the runoff will face a Democratic opponent in November but the district was designed for a Republican to be elected to represent it.

Collins said he was totally opposed to “red flag laws” and was “100% adamant that the Second Amendment is written right.”

“There is no changing it,” he said.

He admitted there was a problem but it was because there is a “cultural problem” in which “we’ve removed God from every facet of our life” — from schools to TV.

The nation secured airports after the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001, and now needs to “secure our schools,” Collins said. Calls for decreasing funding for police agencies also emboldened such shooters, he said.

Jones said the solution is “America needs more God, not gun control,” and said he traveled to the National Rifle Association convention to show his support for no new laws.

He also said the U.S. has sent $40 billion in aid to Ukraine in its fight against Russia and now needs to provide the same level of financial support to the nation’s schools to fortify them against future attacks.

In another debate Monday between candidates in the runoff for the GOP nomination for Georgia’s new 6th Congressional District, Dr. Rich McCormick said he has seen “the horrors of gun violence” firsthand in his work as an emergency room physician and that he is aware of the nation’s mental health crisis, according to a report from Capitol Beat News Service.  

“But I will say that taking guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens has never been the solution,” McCormick said. “You can talk about security of schools, you can talk about mental health, but if you’re talking about taking weapons from law abiding citizens, no.”  

His opponent, Jake Evans, also painted himself as a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights.

When asked whether he would support one of the compromise gun control measures currently being considered in Washington, Evans said, “I would have to know what the compromise is, but if it any way unconstitutionally infringes on our Second Amendment rights, I would not stand for it,” Capitol Beat reported.  

The winner, ironically, likely will replace U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta, who is a staunch gun control advocate and lost her son to gun violence — prompting her run for Congress. The Georgia General Assembly redrew McBath’s district to make it a Republican-dominated area earlier this year and McBath is seeking reelection to Congress in the 7th Congressional District.

But at the congressional level this year, something may be brewing as the country reels from the mass killings.

According to Politico, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, stressed that he was not interested in “restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens under the Second Amendment,” but said it would be “embarrassing” if Uvalde didn’t spark Congress to reach some sort of bipartisan legislative response.

Tom Spigolon is news editor of The Covington News. He may be reached at tspigolon@covnews.com.

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