ATLANTA - Ahead of a town hall meeting Saturday morning, US Rep. David Scott (D-13th Dist., Georgia) spoke to 11Alive about his plans to introduce measures to make significant changes in laws regarding assault weapons when he returns to Washington next week.
Scott said he will introduce a measure to ban assault weapons in the wake of the shooting deaths of 17 people at a Florida high school more than a week ago.
"Put a ban on these assault weapons. There's no need for them in a civilized society," Scott said. "I am one of the Democratic lead sponsors on the bill that we will be taking up next week to ban assault weapons. I am a strong believer in the 2nd Amendment, but my God -- these kinds of weapons have no place right now. They're damaging."
Scott said the type of assault rifle used in the Stoneman Douglas high school shootings in Florida are not ones that are designed for the average individual.
"These are rapid shooting firearms that are designed for nothing but to go into a crowd of people and mow them down," Scott said.
The congressman took issue with President Donald Trump's suggestion that the answer to protecting schools was to arm teachers and school personnel.
"The wrong thing to do is to talk about putting guns int he hands of teachers. Their job is to teach. They shouldn't have this burden," Scott said. "My suggestion, which I will bring on the floor next week, will be to put our National Guard to work. That's what they're there for. Whenever we have an emergency, we bring in our National Guard. That will give an immediate presence. They're trained for firearms. They're visible with the firearms."
Scott pointed out that each state has National Guard units available and at their disposal.
"Each state has National Guard units. It is the governors of these states that can immediately deploy and get the presence in the schools so that we have that, as we begin to work to build up a more permanent group of trained individuals who are secure, that can go in and take care of our schools," said Scott.
What would this look like -- soldiers patrolling our schools in camouflage with military rifles?
"It's going to look as if we are serious," Scott replied. "The first order of business is to show that our schools are safe. And I guarantee you, it certainly beats talking about putting guns in the hands of teachers to be carrying around where they're not equipped to do it, don't want to do it, don't need to do it. I'm simply saying we need a pool -- right now -- of people who can go in, who are trained with firearms, to be able to show and send a message to everybody out there, including these potential school shooters."
Scott sees National Guard involvement as a temporary way to secure the nation's schools while Congress, state legislatures and local school boards figure out better security measures, long-term.