GA domestic violence bill draws fire from gun lobby

Bill aims to keep firearms away from convicted domestic abusers

ATLANTA -- A bill designed to keep guns out of the hands of people prone to domestic violence is drawing fire at the Capitol. Gun rights backers say the measure goes too far and is unconstitutional.

This is a bill sponsored by Republicans and Democrats.

Rep. Brian Strickland’s (R-McDonough) bill aims to keep guns away from people targeted in domestic violence cases.  "To me, this codifies common sense," Strickland told 11Alive's Doug Richards Wednesday. He describes himself as a lifelong Second Amendment supporter.

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The bill, HB 541, would require family violence offenders to surrender all firearms in the offender’s possession.  The bill covers people with a conviction and people who are subject to a family violence protective order.

But opponents are skeptical of the bill.

"I’m not even sure what the purpose of it is," said John Monroe of Georgia Carry, a gun rights organization. "There’s already a federal law that covers that topic." Monroe says the bill is an overreach and undercuts the rights of gun owners.

"It requires people to surrender their firearms if they’ve been convicted," he said. "It doesn’t allow them to sell them or anything like that. It actually requires them to surrender them. I think it’s unconstitutional. It’s a due process violation and also taking without just compensation."

But backers of the bill point to countless cases of deadly domestic gun violence – and say the bill is overdue.

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"If you're a responsible, law-abiding citizen, we should not interfere with your right to have firearms," Strickland said.  "If you're going to take those guns and threaten our citizens with them, and especially your family, you should lose that privilege." 

The bill is unlikely to pass the legislature by adjournment at the end of March, but will remain on the table for the 2018 session.

11Alive wants to know: Would you support a bill that would require family violence offenders - convicted or targeted by a court-issued family protective order - to surrender all guns? Vote in the poll on our Facebook page.

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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