ATLANTA — Georgia lawmakers in Washington were quick to shoot down President Barack Obama’s sweeping gun-law proposals and executive orders Jan. 16.
Conservative Republican Reps. Tom Price of Roswell, Rob Woodall of Lawrenceville and Tom Graves of Gainesville all issued statements denouncing new gun laws.
“I will continue to defend Second Amendment rights and oppose legislation that seeks to infringe on or intimidate people from exercising those rights,” Graves said.
The reactions came swiftly as Obama, in the aftermath of the Connecticut school shooting massacre and on the eve of his inauguration, vowed to ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, expand background checks and toughen gun-trafficking laws.
Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson said he does not believe that bans on assault weapons or cartridges are the answer to ending mass acts of violence, nor will such measures pass Congress.
“As history shows us, the 10-year ban on assault weapons that was in effect from 1994 to 2004 failed to prevent the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.,” Isakson said. “The common threads running through these shootings are mental health issues.
“I believe that more effective and sensible solutions are those that focus on background checks and mental healthcare,” he said, “rather than restrictions on our Second Amendment right to bear arms.”
Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss said, “While I am certain that the president’s proposal is well-intentioned, it is Congress’ responsibility to make sure that Americans’ constitutional rights are protected.”
The National Rifle Association also invoked Obama’s family in a 35-second advertisement released Jan. 15, calling the president an “elitist hypocrite” for sending his own children to a school that employs armed security guards to protect its students on campus but saying he was “skeptical” about installing armed guards in all schools.
On Jan. 16, Obama invited four children who wrote letters to him to the White House announcement. The letters were written in December after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
“While there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, no piece of legislation that will prevent every tragedy, every act of evil,” Obama said in his announcement, “if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there’s even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try.”