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New Georgia bills proposed following spa shootings would create waiting period for gun purchases

The measures come after eight people were killed in three spa shootings last week.

ATLANTA — Three new gun control bills in the Georgia legislature are a direct result of the killings of eight people last week at three spas in metro Atlanta.

The measures would require a five-day waiting period for gun purchases. They will also be next-to-impossible to enact this year. 

About two dozen bills have been floating around the General Assembly this year that would either curb or expand gun rights.  Not a single one of them has gotten a vote in the House or Senate.  

However, the mass killing from March 16 spurred three new virtually identical bills to require a five-day waiting period for gun sales in Georgia.  Police say the alleged gunman, Robert Aaron Long, purchased the murder weapon that same day.

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"The intent is to allow that impulsivity or that rage or anger to subside" prior to the purchase, said state Rep. Sam Park (D-Lawrenceville), a sponsor of one of the bills.

"It's going to build in a cooling off people for people who are suicidal, murderous, this kind of thing," said state Sen. Michelle Au (D-Johns Creek), sponsor of another of the bills. "No one should need to get a gun that same day."

Yet the Georgia legislature has protected gun rights for generations.  The state’s governor, Brian Kemp, ran for office holding a shotgun in one of his commercials.  

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Pro-gun lawmakers 11Alive approached at the Capitol Tuesday said they would decline to discuss their opposition to such restrictions out of respect for the victims of the killings. 

Even the bills’ sponsors acknowledged that any newly-introduced legislation has virtually no chance to pass before adjournment next week.

"I think this is the time we need to start examining what kind of culture we want to be," Sen. Au said, "and what we want to prioritize in our legislation and focus on gun safety going forward."

But going forward may mean years – as long as Democrats remain the minority party in the Georgia legislature.

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