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GOP voters in Paulding County willing to compromise on gun laws

Pro-gun rights, but mass killings drive need to re-examine laws, they say

DALLAS, Ga. — Gun enthusiasts appear to be more willing to tighten gun laws than the politicians writing the laws. Republican voters said Thursday they’d like to see more compromise in gun laws.

Here in Paulding County, pro-gun lawmakers were sent to the state capitol. But their constituents' viewpoints are less rigid.

"Our founding fathers had it right as far as the gun laws are concerned," Jovan Brown, who owns a barbershop in downtown Hiram said.

He’s a gun-rights backer, mostly without restrictions.  

"Now age limits, I understand that," Brown said. Currently, Georgians must be 18 to possess firearms.

Another Republican and resident of Paulding County felt stronger about the issue. 

"I’m a gun owner, but I’m not for assault rifles," James Hale, a 26-year US Navy veteran, said. "What are you going to use them for?" 

He's among the residents in the county who helped send Jason Anavitarte to the state senate.  

Anivitarte sponsored the "constitutional carry" bill enacted this year, eliminating the requirement for a state permit to carry a gun.

Missy Marbut of Villa Rica said, "we should be allowed to carry," but added she thinks eliminating the permit requirement is "crazy."

"I don’t see a problem with having the need to have a gun permit," added Wendy Proctor, who said she also backs the second amendment but sees room for compromise on gun laws -- in light of mass shootings.

"I think there should be something regarding mental health. And I think there should be age restrictions," Proctor said.

Hale added that he thinks it should be "much harder" to get a gun than a driver's license, with "at least" a safety test requirement.

Marbut added she thinks the two parties "should work together" to make common-sense changes to gun laws.

State officials won’t take up any new gun measures in Georgia until January – after voters weigh in again in November.

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